One Second Each Day :: 2017

In December, I ordered up a batch of award ribbons to hand out to my friends at the New Year that read, "I Survived the Dumpster Fire Called 2017." It's true. I survived it, and so did my friends & family and I am assuming, if you are reading this, so did you. Congratulations; you deserve an award, too. That ribbon goes on to conclude that, "all I got was this lousy ribbon." Which is also true. But in my case, I also got this video. 

Listen, 2017 was a Dumpster Fire for a lot of us. Much of it felt bleak and confusing and uncertain. At times, on the edge of apocalyptic. For me personally, I spent the first three quarters of 2017 dabbling in periods of nihilism and hopelessness. This was true for a lot of the creative individuals I know; a feeling that the work we do is pointless in the face of the Real Challenges & the State of the World. Long stretches of stumbling around in the dark trying to find a place and means of being useful. As it turns out, obsessively reading every think piece on the issues of the day mixed with overworking and yelling at your loved ones is not particularly useful. Epically long walks on the beach with one's dog binge-listening to comedy podcasts about murder are also not useful, but they can be helpful.

And dumpster fires are only fun for so long. Time marches on. No matter what is going on, children continue to grow, dogs still need walks, birthdays are still celebrated, food is still made, music is still played, cafés still have to open and the sun still paints the sky with its crimson palette when it sets. Nihilism loses its luster and as the flames die down, a little nugget of hope and purpose emerges.

There's an old haiku by the 17th Century Japanese poet and Samurai Mizuta Masahide that I've carried around for years: "Barn's burnt down // now I can see the moon." As the smoke clears, there are treasures to be found in that dumpster, soot-covered jewels laying in the ashes and embers that are fuel for action and ready to burn fiercely, now that we can see the moon.

So, let's go, 2018. Let's go see the whole sky.

Watch the previous years: 2014 | 2015 | 2016

366 Seconds :: 2016

As we tie a bow on the Year That Was 2016, I won't wax too poetic on three years into this little experiment of stringing together my Life in Seconds. 2014? Illuminating, Life Affirming. 2015? Celebratory and Thrilling. Two Thousand and Sixteen was, as I think it was for many people, A YEAR. A Year we won't soon forget, as much as many of us might like to. In Chinese Astrology, it was the Year of the Fire Monkey, which can be described as "Ambitious and adventurous, but irritable." Sound about right? Personally, I'm ready for Year of the Lamb or Year of the Sleeping Cat or Year of the Wrapped in Blankets Taking a Nap, but I don't think the Rooster has that in store. And so it goes.

For me, 2016 was the year we nearly lost my mom to a very close call with Sepsis. I don't recommend it. And of course, there was the election. And gum surgery. But it was also the year of Food. Lots of amazing food. And music. Lots of great music. That's what happens when you work with restauranteurs and your beloved is a drummer. It also means too many moments in loud places, which is a sound editing nightmare, but who even has the ear drums left to notice?

My big takeaway in my 3rd year of doing this is that it is less the story of my year and more the story of my community's year. The most satisfying part of making this video each year is not necessarily the reminder of "Oh yes! That day we drove to Newburyport and had dinner at The Market and it was as hot as balls!" -- as much as I am grateful for the reminder and the living document. But to see the recognition in the eyes of friends and family and even strangers of "Oh yes! This is US! This is ALL of us! I remember!" That is the very best part. 

Watch the previous years! 2014 | 2015

2015 in 365 Seconds

2015 was a very good year. It was also a very tiring one. And like most other years and most other people, it had its own share of annoying stuff and delicious stuff and fist pumping and ugly crying, losses, celebrations, victories, road trips, airplane trips, belly laughing, injuries, unexpected delights and regular old boring stuff. Y'know, life.

2015 was also the second consecutive year I carried a camera everywhere I went in order to irritate my friends, colleagues and loved ones with my incessant collection of moments both meaningful and blackmail-able. In 2014, this exercise proved to be both illuminating and life affirming. This year, it helped me pay attention to the smallest moments and most important things during a year that would otherwise have been a complete blur. There were so many highs, milestones, and victory laps; so many stressful moments and head-spinning sleepless nights; so much going on at such breakneck speed, that I am glad to have a record of it all. 

Once again, I am humbled by the people I get to spend my days with, who fill up my lens with their trust and laughter and nonsense and honesty and music and adolescence and brilliance and joy. To have this community of artists, musicians, writers and smartypants, weirdos and oddballs, foodmakers and gardenmakers and substancemakers, comedians and goofballs. To have all this love. Well, that's everything really.

See the 2014 video here.

One Second Each Day

I have always liked diaries. I like to keep them and I like to read them, especially visual ones. At a young age I fell hard for the journals of Peter Beard; later, Dan Eldon and Sabrina Ward Harrison. When I was 26, I sketched, wrote and photographed my way across the US and then again through Central America when I turned 30. I documented my first year in Korea with...

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Oregon to Patagonia

When I was young, there was a decades old collection of National Geographic magazines which grew along one wall of the tool room in our basement. I loved to sit in that tiny tool room and pour over photographs of places very far away from my little New England town. 

One story that has stayed with me more than any other over the years was that of a young man who walked across America in the 70's with his dog. He met a girl along the way and took her with him. At the tender age of seven, I couldn't imagine walking to the next town, so this man stamped himself in my memory as superhuman. When I crossed the US for the first time solo in my twenties, without a dog and in the comfort of my Toyota, I often thought of that young man from National Geographic.

So it was a lovely surprise to stumble upon his son, Jed, when an article he wrote for landed in my inbox last spring. Jed is currently making his way from Oregon to Patagonia on his bicycle and sharing the journey on instagram. If you haven't discovered him already, I highly recommend following his photostream. This is traveling done in my favorite way; really getting to the heart of a place through its people and their hospitality.

Photo from Jedidiah Jenkins on Instagram @jedidiahjenkins