Lessons in The Goat: Part 2 – Combating Chaos in Artistic Collaboration

Part 2: Combating Chaos

With every mile in our campervan The Goat, we are finding some semblance of routine and reliable order, a quality-of-life foundation. Imagine our dismay when our first night mysteriously left us with zero power in the van (despite fully charged batteries).

Our full moon photoshoot in Arches Nat. Park

Oh, it’s just fine now, but imagine the lesson here in being powerless. Oh, the irony of this metaphor. No way to cook, or use wi-fi, or refrigerate. Glamping dropped down to actual true camping right quick. I slapped some crunchy peanut butter on a hot dog bun and fell into a restless sleep.

The campervan emergency support guy worked out of Indiana. We were in Wyoming. He was surprisingly arrogant and rude, which was about as helpful as a naughty three-year-old. Bobby let it roll off his shoulders. I was ready to drive to Indiana for a face to face. Bob also had the intuition that driving for a while might reboot the computer system.

It worked! So our journey has continued, including our collaboration on a daily meditation book where Dayhike Photography  works with Isa.

Our written content is based on our traveling conversations.

Eventually, we settled into some awesome discourse on loss and grief, and the insanity of feeling entitled to never suffer. Such a mindset will only increase one’s suffering with resentments. I, for one, vigilantly expect to suffer, which has its own problems, but it seems common for most people to be shocked by their suffering and to even attach that suffering to one’s spiritual faith. This is excellent fodder for our collaborative daily mediation book.

It seemed fitting to discuss the topic of loss as we explored Arches National Park, in the parched desert, just outside of Moab, Utah. The beauty of the red sand rocks formed over millions of years into giant monoliths, soaring arches, and personified shapes left us in a severe awareness of our ancient earth.

Let’s talk about first-steps process.

When Bob spends a day taking photos in the wild, or a night capturing the full moon and moody sky, he typically returns to the van with about 150 to 500 photos. Then he loads them onto his computer and allows  me to help him cull it down to about 10 to 20 images. In the culling, where I number the photos 1, 2 or 3, it becomes clearer that photos numbered 1 may be nice for personal use, 2’s are potentially improved via editing, and the rare and wonderful 3’s bring forth gasps and lingering stares. I cull with confident discernment and sometimes with merciless reign. I liken it to power shopping, acquiring the perfect ensemble for immediate use. Every now and then, Bob will ignore one of my photo scores, but rarely. Sometimes he believes in me so much, that he deletes 1 and 2 without even looking. Now that’s trust, and thus, we gain control of an unmanageable pile of photos.

This is just a beginning step to applying his photography to our meditation book where the beauty of the American landscape meets our shared philosophical wisdom.

Creating like true artists, and yet, we still gotta stop to eat.

We practice our van life, eating weird meals, tucking myriad belongings into routine cubbies.  With strong winds and tight switchbacks, it is crucial to strap down the grill, the invective stove, pots and pans, zip-locked coffee, fold-up chairs, et cetera. The Goat is temperamental. Plus there’s strategy to using occasional RV park latrines, some arguably rife with disease. Indeed, we are stretched in all the best ways! Thanks for joining us this week.

Next week: Building an outline for the book as we traverse Colorado and hit a rodeo!



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