Manifest Destiny

by Ellen in ,


Warning: this blog is about to turn from a blog about writing down my nighttime dreams to a blog about me living out my real life dreams.

Since I have written my resignation letter, written my letter to the families at church, told MY family, told my friends, and told the kids at church, I'd really like to tell the 1.4 people that read this:

So, guess what?

i'mmovingtocalfornia.

Ahem. What I meant to say was,

I. AM. MOVING. TO. CALIFORNIA.

No, really!

I am going to San Francisco (hereafter always abbreved to SF, because it's a long name to type) to get my BFA in Photo. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I'm kind of into taking pictures of things.


After 1945, the school became a nucleus for Abstract Expressionism. New York artists Clyfford Still, Ad Reinhardt, and Mark Rothko taught here, along with David Park, Elmer Bischoff, Nathan Oliveira, and others. Although painting and sculpture were the dominant mediums for many years, photography had also been among the course offerings. In 1946, Ansel Adams and Minor White established the first fine art photography department in the US, with Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and Dorothea Lange among its instructors. The first film course at CSFA was taught by Sydney Peterson in 1947. Jordan Belson, who had enrolled as a painting student in 1944, showed his first abstract film, Transmutations, in 1947 at the second “Art in Cinema” program, co-sponsored by CSFA and the San Francisco Museum of Art. In 1949, an international conference, The Western Roundtable on Modern Art, was organized by CSFA Director Douglas McAgy, and included Marcel Duchamp, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Gregory Bateson, among others. The object of the roundtable was to expose “hidden assumptions” and to frame new questions about art.

Thankyouverymuch. The names mentioned in that paragraph are the people that made photography an art. Before them, photography was criticized as being completely mechanical with no creative process. Other artists looked down their nose at it because they thought everyone could do it since it was so much more accessible than other forms of art. This is going to turn into an essay, so I better watch out. But those artists mentioned as photographers are what made me fall in love with making photos. Another subject for another time.

Here's a photo or two (that I didn't take) of the school. It's beautiful:


I've never been to SF. Yep, the most I've ever experienced it is from watching Full House and Monk. That's right, I'm going to be a Tanner.

I'm really really really really excited to be going to this school. Everyone there that I've talked to has been so nice and excited for me, too. They're not even going to make me draw! I can't draw. I'm going to art school and I can only draw stick people.

However, I've never lived outside of Memphis. I have the best job in the world, I have friends that are like family. I have a family that are my friends. I have a nephew about to be born. What am I thinking?

This is what I'm thinking: it's my only shot. I have this window of time that I can get out of Memphis, and it's going to close very soon. Elise and Luna are going to Yale, Ben won't know who I am until he's two, and my friends and family will come visit.

Also: I am called to this. Doing this has been in my heart for the past 2 years, and so many things have happened that have opened my eyes to the fact that this is what I'm being called to. I don't need to be married, I don't need to be settled, I don't need to know EXACTLY what my life purpose is. God knows this better than I do, and God is opening door after door, telling me that I can go to these places, as long as I'm still answering when he calls me name.

So that's what I'm doing as best I can-- I've been given this gift, this passion, this love for taking photos, which is not just taking photos for me. It's how I connect to the beauty and mystery of creation. From a rain-drenched flower, to the view from the top of a mountain, to the shape of my sister's pregnant belly, these are the things I feel called to capture and preserve for a larger purpose. I feel like I've been given this gift, and although I'm having to put in a LOT of work to into making it happen. I feel like Jesus is saying GOOOOO Ellunnnn!!!

This is the first thing I've ever WANTED to work so hard for. I love my job, and I work weird hours and I want to do my best and believe me, I would lay down my life for the people I serve. But this is a different kind of work. I am going to have to fight to keep my head above the water, and I'm going to have to fight to be original without losing any of who I am. But I'm ready to put in the effort and discover the surprises along the way. Somehow, I've ended up with thicker skin than I give myself credit for. I'm looking forward to proving myself.

The next post about moving will be all the things I will miss about Calvary. I haven't mustered the strength to even number them in my head, because there are so many things to miss. I think it might be therapeutic to list them, because then it will help me move forward, knowing that I haven't left it behind, but I've stuffed it all in my pockets and I'm taking it with me, and my pants will be very lumpy.

In the words of Randy Newman's Monk theme song from SF: It's a jungle out there.

Holy crap!