Erm…when am I??!!
This is a familiar exclamation that I chuckle to myself these days. When I see a friend for the first time in years, or their kid has grown like a weed into a whole new person over a mere week, or I think back on the death of a friend only four short years ago…when am I!? Day of the week, month, even year…sometimes it’s hard to grapple with the slippery passage of time.
It’s not that I’ve been hit on the head (though if I had a concussion, would I remember?!); my disorientation stems from the whiplash of a figurative rollercoaster ride, namely the goings-on of these past few years.
It has been a blur of change emerging from the pandemic, which had axed hard-earned opportunities with one fell swoop and clearcut my calendar. Conferences, assignments, and dreams originally penned into the schedule were moved further out on the timeline – though this time in pencil. I, along with everyone else, thought: This strange blip will be over soon and then we can continue onward as usual. But it wasn’t, and it didn’t. The uncertainty dragged out and talks of rescheduling by a month turned into a year, eventually fading from the outlook altogether as we all had to move on.
What each of us went through during this strange time has been vastly different, though it’s safe to say that all of us faced unexpected new challenges and responsibilities – riddles wrapped in puzzles, as I like to think of them.
What I knew was that without the safety net of a traditional workplace or home, there was little opportunity to wait and see. And so I pivoted, again and again – tripping over two left feet as I learned to dance with a swirling partner named Uncertainty. While I may not (read: absolutely do not) embody the grace of a tango master, I’ve found some confidence in a two-step rhythm – one that leans from the technical foot to the creative one, balancing them in both life and livelihood.
I can only speak to my own personal experience with any sort of knowing and, even then, it is something I’ll likely be unpacking the rest of my life. So, here are a few details for posterity’s sake. On March 15th, 2020, the axe came down – sidelined after emerging from an artist retreat on the edge of lockdown, I leapt into my first dance steps setting up a livestream studio for Adrienne Shum to teach yoga – fumbling with the audio and networking as I cobbled together a production workflow from the ground up. Website creation gigs flowed in for small farmers around Manitoba, who found themselves needing online hubs to connect with customers in lieu of the markets they relied upon. This rolled into a grant proposal turned opportunity with the Government of Manitoba’s Safe At Home program, to produce 30 daily videos as part of a freely available online intro to meditation course called Waking up with Mindfulness.
At this point (circa March 2021) my inbox started to light up once again – opportunities to take on the role of Director of Photography in a local film project, write a twice-monthly for an online project, tackle technical difficulties for a local non-profit…and on and on. My time was open, so I said yes and yes.
There were many lulls and hard times too, but I’d rather let them fade into the past at this point.
All this is to say: life has both unsteadily and steadily moved on. So too with this website (www.davidquiring.com), which just had its 15th anniversary. The creative work that parallels life winds its way in and out of this hub – and will continue to as long as I can keep putting one left foot in front of the other.
To those who routinely check in on this homepage: thanks. I know it appears that it has not been updated much lately, but trust that the slower-than-usual main feed belies the efforts stemming from it.
Since rebooting the Intersections newsletter in March 2021, the energy I previously put into the visual stories on this website has been channelled there. It’s a similar but different form; one which allows for a personal touch that embraces a bit more lightness and experimentation. I’m loving how it is naturally evolving and opening up conversations with an audience that doesn’t hesitate to hit the reply button.
In tandem, I’ve been removing creative chaff from the website that doesn’t fit the present as much as it did once-upon-a-time – but a larger dream is percolating of a complete front and backend website rewrite.
The next step is to simplify this homepage so that I’m not splitting my energy between the different places. In the coming months, I will be remaking this website from the bottom up – abandoning the bloat of a WordPress backend and starting fresh with a leaner framework called Hugo. It’s a bit of an undertaking, but my goal is to have it completed by the end of 2023.
Space doesn’t only come from the axe of a pandemic; it can be routinely cultivated – both offline and online – and then filled anew.
See you on the other side – and, for the time being, in the newsletter!