The only thing I have to fear is fear itself

It’s amazing what a few days away can do for a person. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

So now what do I do with it? I got a terrific idea for a photo book yesterday — an obvious product of turning on my brain once again — and I was revved up. Now just one day later, fear creeps in. Maybe it’s not a good idea. I’m not a photographer — how could I ever propose a photo book? How would I go about doing this with two kids in tow? What if my subject matter got very offended at the kitschy slant and sued me? (Oh, yes, that’s a very normal reaction, isn’t it?)

The title of one of Anne Lamott’s terrific books — Bird by Bird — comes from a childhood story of hers. Her brother had to write a report for school on many different varieties of birds. Unfortunately, he had also waited until the very last minute to complete it. As the enormity of the project and the fact that he had already procrastinated so much took an anxious hold on him, their father quietly guided him, “You’ve just gotta take it bird by bird, son.” Hence the title — Bird by Bird. I find myself using that phrase as a mantra from time to time, and I think it’s necessary these days to wheel that one out again.

If I take slow, steady steps, I’ll get there. And as I pursue te goal, I may find that I am actually searching to accomplish different ones. And if I had panicked my way through the initial journey, I would never see the hidden twists and turns that can lead me on my way.

Step one is taking pictures — and seeing what inspires me. And maybe taking my kids along for the ride to see what inspires them too.

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