We, the Artist. / by Nicole

I was privileged to experience twelve years of parochial school, four of them all-girl. (Yep. I'd even recommend it if it's something you've considered.) From as early on as I can recall, we were taught not to use personal pronouns in our writing - no "I" or "me". We learned to build a narrative as an omniscient, but not personally involved, author. It wasn't supposed to be about us, after all ... put others before yourself, etc. To complement this, there is a German saying I heard frequently at home: "Der Esel nennt sich immer zuerst" - loosely translated: The Donkey always names himself (or in this case, herself) first. As an only child, I was The Donkey in this scenario.

Whether it's team sports, business, or just about any other activity, we are encouraged to think in the context of the collective, and not the personal. I actually love this. Not only was I raised to think this way, but it makes good karmic sense. The whole is always greater than the sum of the parts, no man is an island ... Scientifically, it's been shown that cultures with the greatest longevity are those where multigenerational families live in close proximity, and everyone plays a role (Dan Beuttner's Blue Zones is a fascinating read).

 

 "His Steps"

When speaking about beachradish images®, I often say "we" - in part, I've never become comfortable with "I", but really, this is a bit of a family affair. Elvis, our pup, is my photo partner. Just about every image on our website and Facebook page is taken with him at my side, or lying close by. He makes people smile, and lends a calm and happiness to the photo experience. (He also gets treats,  which in turn makes him very happy). My husband, Jim, has not only been the vociferous, occasionally pushy, cheerleader, "liking" everything I post, but he does  stuff - building art show panels, storage space, putting up artwork, building frames ... and he listens, considers, and - with measured, pregnant pause - offers advice. Or doesn't. There wouldn't be a beachradish images® without my boys' six extra legs. 

So if I ever reference "we" or "our" or "us" ... it is this collective to which I refer and for which I am exceedingly grateful. Because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and I am not a Donkey.