Just get in the frame
“I only have a few weeks left and I’m trying to put together a little legacy for the kids while I still can.”
Yesterday morning I got an email from a friend of mine from grad school. She’d been struggling with cancer for the past two years. I thought it was going well.
I didn’t know she was now measuring the time in weeks.
And she reached out to me because five years back, before I knew what The Lovely Now project would turn into, I did a series of interviews of my mom friends as an experiment. And so I happen to have a video of her talking about what it’s like to mother her son when he was very very young.
It’s possible at the time that she was worried about how she might look on camera. She might have even wished we didn’t use video.
And now it’s a miracle.
I know I’m not the first person to say this. And I won’t be the last. But…
It doesn’t fucking matter what you look like.
The only thing that matters is the evidence that you were here and that you loved them as best you could with your one too too too short life.
I do believe art saves lives. Making can give you a reason to keep going. To keep trying. To feel the joy of making a thing.
But fucking cancer, man.
Art can’t save you from that.
But it can save You. The essence of you. And the very mundane face that you have brown hair and green eyes. That matters. It proves you were here.
Art can save a bit of my friend’s heart so that her son and daughter will be able to see her face and hear her voice. And if nothing else comes of this crazy thing I’m trying to make, I know I have done that.
So seriously. Grab whatever camera you have closest to you and take a bunch of pictures with you in them. Use a selfie stick or a self timer or hand it to your kid or someone walking down the street.
Just get in the frame.
And then print it. Use a service like Chat Books or mpix.com or Costco or Walmart and make a hard copy.
Grab your phone, press play, and start talking.
Let them hear it in your own voice.
Just do anything to prove that you are here now and that you will love them love them love them forever.
Because even fucking cancer can’t destroy that.