the last day of august

At the last minute, I decided to do a(nother) poem a day project in August.

I've lost track of how many of these I've done now. It started with NaNoPoMo (April) but then I decided to do my own poem-a-day months, just for fun.

(This August I've been particularly drawn to haiku again, especially as the month ends.)

I started off the month following along in the prompts for both the August Break and the summer miracle. But in the middle of the month, creating three or four separate daily photos/words felt too hard, so I dropped the other prompts. That's creative self care. When the going gets rough, I pare down. I don't stop completely. (Stopping entirely would be self-defeating.) I pare down to the basics.

Just a poem. Just a self-portrait. (Usually together. Not always.)

That's why having a daily commitment is necessary for me. Without my daily project commitment (this year it's #unfoldinglex15), I would be tempted to stop creating entirely, when things get rough. I've done that before. It's an easy way for me to hit rock bottom. That's not something I want to do again. So, every day, I create. It needs to be easy, that project, so that when I run out of spoons, I can still create.

By easy, I don't mean emotionally easy. I mean physically easy. I don't need to get up off the couch to take a photo of myself, every day. I don't need to get off the couch to share my photo on instagram.

(I can, and do, photograph myself outside the house, but I don't have to. That's the point of "physically easy" for me. Sometimes I am just tired and I need my creative work to be physically easy.)

I am always with myself, so I always have a chance to take a self-portrait, where ever I am. There's no limit to what camera I can use. What lighting. This year I didn't even give myself any parameters (like last year's #lexsurrealsoul14 project, which was so fun!). I just show up as my beloved self, for my camera, every day.

I am not under the illusion that taking a self-portrait is emotionally easy. It has gotten easier and easier for me, since I've had years of daily practice now, but sometimes I still look at my photo and think, "what the hell am I doing, sharing this with other people?" And then I share the photo anyway.

And no, technically a 365 project doesn't *need* to be shared, but I feel like if I didn't share mine, I would probably not follow through, because I need that component to keep myself committed. Not that I need likes or comments, I need the visual space of it residing somewhere outside myself. I need the daily commitment of doing something outside my sphere every day.

I'm not sure that next year's project with be self-portraits. It might be, it might not be. What I know is that right now, the self-portraits are my go-to every day project. I can always get one done a day. Even when I'm feeling sad, or sick or jet lagged.

And so I head into September, done with the poem-a-day (for now). Keeping the self-portrait a day project going. Keeping the idea to continue getting back to blogging every day.

(And at some point, making a plan to start on the second draft of my book.)