On a hot August day, a quick check of my email while standing out in the market garden of our small family farm in the Finger Lakes, kicked off a series of events that led to a dream come true. One of my photographs, a snapshot of a vintage enamelware pan filled with homemade simmer pot ingredients, and an updated blog post on simmer pots would be included in the November/December 2023 issue of Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine!
This wasn’t just a professional milestone; it provided a profound revelation about the value of my work. The article and cover photo did more than just showcase a simple comfort; it opened my eyes to how I view my creative pursuits.
The Unexpected Surprise
Let me take you back to that unexpected email in August. Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine reached out about using one of my blog posts as an article in an upcoming edition, and honestly, I was in disbelief. This was the kind of opportunity I’d always dreamed of, but it came at a time when my days were consumed by the peak of the sweet corn harvest on our family farm. Amidst the hustle of the harvest season, the thought of being featured in a magazine I love was both exhilarating and honestly, a little overwhelming.
Determined to make the most of this opportunity, I rushed through picking tomatoes, summer squash and loaded up our roadside farm stand. Then I ran around the farm a bit looking for a couple different kinds of pine branches and berry sprigs. All the while wondering if I could pull this off… putting together a simmer pot, and capturing photos worthy of a magazine.
After returning home and raiding my spice cabinet for more simmer pot ingredients, the afternoon lighting was fading, but I was determined to get decent pictures. I wanted the photos to not only be fresh and current but also to capture the spirit of cozy fall scents. So I hauled out the studio lights, it was a hot and sticky late afternoon in August. Under hot lights I attempted to create a cozy fall scene.
The irony of the combination of hot sticky weather, and the scents of cinnamon, warm spices and pine was comical, but the spur of the moment project brought a nice break from the farm work. This is truly my happy place. Tunes cranked, camera in hand, and a vision in mind I’d like to capture.
Uploading the photos and hitting send was incredibly nerve wracking. I liked them, but would they like them? I had no idea.
A Dream on the Front Page
A couple of days later I got confirmation from the editor the photos were good, and they were moving forward with a version of my simmer pot blog post and the photos. I was thrilled my photos were usable. Even after 10 years of blogging here, I often feel I am “just dabbling online” or “just a blogger” and not really sure my work has value aside from being a time consuming hobby.
Imposter Syndrome is real.
I kept quiet about the upcoming article; I didn’t want to jinx things. The year had been incredibly rough, filled with ups and downs, and this opportunity felt like a rare stroke of good luck. The thought of spoiling it by speaking too soon seemed risky. So I sat tight and waited for my copy to arrive in the mail.
The day the big white envelope arrived, I found myself standing by the mailbox, on the side of the road, barely able to contain my excitement. Eagerly, I tore open the envelope, my hands trembling slightly. The first glimpse inside revealed the familiar pan from my photos. As I slowly pulled out the magazine, my heart skipped a beat — there, on the cover, was my photo. It was a moment of shock and overwhelming pride.
My work seemed validated. It’s one thing to string words together, capture images, and share them online; it’s quite another when someone else deems them worthy of print. The realization that my work had transcended the digital realm to occupy a place in a publication was profound. This wasn’t just about my words and pictures; it was about them being selected, the time and effort someone put into refining, and presenting in a format that people value enough to pay for. To know that editors dedicated their time and resources to bring my work into the physical world, and that readers would hold it in their hands, was both extremely humbling and affirming.
I’m so grateful for this amazing opportunity and honored to share not just the stories of our region, but also the joys of simple rural life in the Finger Lakes region.
As always, Thank you for being part of this journey, and here’s to a season filled with delightful scents and heartwarming memories!