The Understudy

Ellen Rogers Photography

 

The Understudy

Waiting for sleep to take hold
My mind circles like vultures
Canvassing for a carcass
I scribe myself in line and lifelines
Glossy black and blue
Over flat white: hesitant and anemic
I swing like a bladed pendulum
Between false certainty
And self-doubt while wondering
If I’m my own greatest creation
My own worst critic
Or my own careless curator
Stumbling in awkward curtsy
Trading secrets for currency

 

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath *

 

For more about photographer Ellen Rogers please click on the link to visit the wonderfully surreal world of Mr. Cake to see his post, Bewitched.

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Copyright © 2018 Mia Pharaoh. All rights reserved.

 

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67 thoughts on “The Understudy

  1. You describe the process as “line and lifeline” and when it doesn’t flow, as “anemic.” Brilliant stuff, Mia. But I believe your propensity to label yourself an understudy is cautious modesty. I believe you know exactly where the blade needs to cut.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When it comes to your creative art I’d say it’s a case of, ‘I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon’. Your self-doubt is better than having a big ego. ‘Stumbling in awkward curtsy’ – what a great metaphor for ‘not quite sure but being polite’. Keep doing what you’re doing PM. It works and I reckon you can see the whole of the moon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. JGC, that is a wonderful line, ‘I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon’. I wish I had written that, although knowing me I might have added with a chuckle, the whole ‘dark side’ of the moon. For me, and perhaps it’s only me, there is a fine line between being confident and ego, or ‘big ego’. I can’t help but think that a certain amount of self-doubt makes the creative process better, more thorough and thoughtful, something you can’t rush to complete. Dust gives everything a lovely patina, plus it protects everything too. Ha! Thank you for a gracious comment, Juste George, buckle-up for the next post! Please have a TT.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” That’s quite interesting, Mia. I’m always filled with trepidation and doubt when I share my music. Maybe it’s inhibiting me? Anyway, I found the poem beautiful, and when researching Ellen Rogers, the notion that she calls herself an analogue photographer refreshing. Film and darkrooms!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here’s to film and darkrooms! I like the smell of the darkroom chemicals, plus there’s nothing like a photo developed on good paper. Sylvia Plath is very interesting, I admire her work. Don’t you think if you didn’t have trepidation with your art, and for you it would be your music, there would exist an indifference or disconnect? In some odd way I find self-doubt serves a genuine purpose, we have to take off the rose colored glasses. Thank you for your kind words. Have a terrific evening, Rob, and a good Tuesday!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the poem Mia. It expresses perfectly how our confidence can be shaken, especially if we think of ourselves as an ‘understudy’ one who is constantly compared to another. And comparison is the thief of joy. Ellen Rogers’ work is incredible; you gave us a wonderful selection to peruse. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Meg! I agree, our confidence can be so easily shaken, here’s the best part, some of us still do it regardless of self-doubt, what ever ‘it’ may be. I think for any type of artist it takes a certain amount of courage to put yourself on display, expose yourself, and open yourself up for critiques and criticism. Ha, why am I thinking glutton for punishment right about now? Ellen Rogers’ work is terrific, she has quite a vision. Enjoy the rest of your week, may it be filled with inspiration and creativity! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, the creative urge/compulsion can overcome the self doubt. There is a powerful need to express oneself through the arts, whatever medium it may be. And thank goodness for that! I hope you have a wonderful week as well. It’s snowing here this morning and I’m thinking of going right back to bed!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This reads as an enticing extract from a letter, written perhaps in Victorian times when letters were and meant everything. I say that as a genuine compliment. The torment as to exactly which has the whip hand, reticence or faith, shines through. I say ‘shines’ because that conflict may possibly be one of the reasons you pen such magnetic words. You certainly have the gift, young Mia.

    My book finally arrived. My thanks for pointing me toward the artist. Truly appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike, thank you so much for a lovely comment and compliment. A Victorian letter how wonderful, I like that very much. It’s such a shame, the dying or dead art of written correspondence (perhaps the loss of the true confessional).

      I’m so pleased that you’re enjoying her artwork, and I hope you’re delighted with your new book. Wishing you a good Tuesday.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dearest Soul, thank you for your kindness. I’m very pleased that you find my effort original. 🙂 I hope your week has gotten off to a good start as well. Fingers crossed your weather has improved, especially as we’re approaching spring. Much love to you, Mia xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “My mind circles like vultures
    Canvassing for a carcass” – what a wonderful line this one is. I completely identify with this poem Mia and the photos are amazing! Ellen Rogers is a great artist. Hope you are well Mia, Hugs ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hector, thank you. Ha, that’s me trying to drop off to sleep, my mind is circling, racing, zigzagging and spinning from one thought to the next. Isn’t Ellen Rogers terrific? Thank you, I’m doing well, I hope you’re feeling better. Please take good care, and enjoy your trip. 💖 xo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Brian, will you please check your SPAM folder, I believe my comments are going into SPAM. Please release my comment, it seems it has been happening all morning. I’ve gotten wise to it. Yay! 🙂 Below is my reply on your post.

      Perhaps that’s smart to have the dwellings outside of the temples. I look at some of those temples, and they are beautiful, although the safety seems questionable, especially when you see large pieces of rubble on the ground that was once part of the temple. Take care too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re absolutely right Mia. (Took me a bit to figure out where WP had moved the Spam.) I’ve unspammed it.
        And right again: Some of the temples or sculptures are barely hanging together. I hope the stones fell a long time ago. 🙂
        Thanks for the tip. I don’t know why WP does that sometimes. Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. It has taken almost a century of restauration. First by the “Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient. Now I understand the Japanese and India are very active. Cambodia is a very poor country and can’t afford the conservation. Though the site is spotless. Amazing with so many tourists.
            Have a great week-end Mia.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know How, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong but we take leap after leap in the dark.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for a wonderful comment. I agree with you, uncertainty surrounds our lives. I can’t help but think that creative people that are passionate about their art/creations bump that up a couple of notches, even letting the self-doubt and trepidation serves as a catalyst for their creativity, walking a tightrope, or, indeed taking a leap of faith in the dark. Thank you again, wishing you a lovely Sunday. ~ Mia

      Liked by 1 person

  8. sorry to hound you, but… look, I read this short poem again for the end had stuck in my mind. just want to tell you, it is really good. perfect vignette. reminds me of thoughts I’ve had but not taken the effort to fully paint. circling vultures, currency, really good. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m delighted that you took the time to read my effort again, thank you. That’s a wonderful compliment, “for the end had stuck in my mind.” Memorable words, what more could I ask for? Thank you for your kindness, it has made my evening. Please have a good Wednesday. ~ Mia

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Awesome photos , great verse laid down.

    “My mind circles like vultures
    Canvassing for a carcass”- i’m a sucker for alliteration so let me be the carcass.

    “Trading secrets for currency”- i’m going home to watch spy movies and dress up in a suit now.

    this piece makes me want to say sepia, fishbowl lens, and revive your work and art until you hate it…then its perfect.

    well penned Mia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Zaroff, you’re the hero of the day for making me laugh out loud! Thank you! I adore your comment. Just so you know, I do love a carcass in a nice suit, especially as I’m channeling Jackson Pollack swinging between the love and hate of gesso. Voilà! Likewise, a comment well penned, Zaroff.

      Liked by 1 person

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