So this is the new year...

I don't believe in hocus pocus. I'm not one for wives tales. I care not in what feel good trend is making its way through the youth of America (or anywhere for that matter). I long for a connection with the levels beneath surface where passion, courage, healthy fear and the unknown reside. In life, possibly in death, we have moments of clarity. We have these specific events in our lives when we know something. When we feel our minds, hearts and guts align. It's a wonderful eclipse and just like the moon, sun and Earth, it doesn't happen as often as you would want it to in our lifespan, so when it does happen, you pay attention. Today involved caffeine, tacos, sangria and an epiphany. Possibly the greatest series of events to ever transpire in one day.

I have gone to California twice with my family for vacation in as many years and both times my friends Mark and Christie Kellem have braved the Los Angeles traffic and commuted to Anaheim to hang out. Through a family event, Christie found herself back in Texas and I had a chance to return the favor and offer a meniscal restoration of balance to the universe. I trudged through the single, and some time two lane, highway of Texas hill country backroads to visit her in hometown of Bandera, Texas.

Christie, like myself, has a website and she blogs. Her content is some of my favorite with interviews with musicians, guys who work for bands, mark up artists and many others. Over the course of 2016 I had contributed to her blog with shows I photographed and we did a couple fun Dashboard Confessional and Bayside print giveaways. Even though what we have done with our respective sites have been somewhat fulfilling thus far, we long to grow and expand and today I was struck with a bolt of inspiration. It is a theme that is not new to me but in light of the past year, it has gotten away from my grasp. The old punk band Bad Brains probably said it best (for me) "yeah, we got that PMA". For those that may be unfamiliar with the acronym, it stands for Positive Mental Attitude. I fall into these pits of cynicism and it leads to these places of negativity and it's utterly miserable and depriving. It's too easy to get caught up in that mindset and develop bad habits. Perhaps that's why today was as impactful to me as it was.

Christie mentioned today that she is excited about taking her blog and adding in a new tier of positivity. I do not mean to sound cliche and surely am not playing down the importance of simplicity in this, but this was refreshing, profound and exactly what I needed to hear. As a matter of fact, this sort of attitude is no stranger to the Kellems. Years back Mark once said to me that is better to be a part of someone else's success than it is to be selfish with your talents and resources as I was going through a little speed  bump in the photography community. I'm paraphrasing because he was much more effective in his delivery but that was essentially the concept. This positivity is not easy, actually, it's quite taxing. I find it convenient and easier to be a naysayer. Nevertheless, the advice was spot on, as was Christie's words about the direction she is heading in 2017.

As first mentioned at the start, I do not subscribe to cheap motivation nor do I get my inspiration from empty words. Hearing this today was different, it felt genuine and invigorating. It was preciously what I needed to ingest because it has filled me with a fire that has lone since reduced to maybe embers or perhaps lukewarm, ashy coals at best. Christie and I walked around, talked, drank coffee and I made some photographs. Bandera, Texas is uniquely strange and captivating, as I'm sure more small towns are with populations just four digits long. Today was the first time that I got to use my camera in this new year. Typically that would be nonsense and rival the kind of tomfoolery I avoid but not today. Today was a perfect storm of a dear friend being near, having a great conversation and seeing her be a beckon of light in so many people's lives. I wish to be an extension of that. So on my drive back home, I wanted to capture these thoughts, type this out, edit these photographs and compile them into a thought, a movement, an energy. 

Lastly, it should also be noted that the way she talks about her husband when he's not around is the kind of love that would make this world a better place and if everyone could emulate it, or just try a little bit to be like them.

Here are a few more photographs from today. Again, Bandera is a strange land that I do not understand but the people are nice and they make a decent Americano. Thanks again Christie, you're simply one of the best and all your friends and family are better for just knowing you.