Expiration Date

One of the biggest differences between people who are creative and actual “creatives” is just that: making things. Bully for you if you’re a good writer—are you writing every day? You take good pictures? Awesome, where they at?

The other day, I referenced Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus because of his dope cover of a song by The Weeknd. But I was already on a TA kick because the week before, I watched a Grantland podcast featuring Stickles and Craig Finn, frontman for one of my all-time favorite bands, The Hold Steady. It’s an interesting interview, and Stickles is ridiculous, but he said something great: he had told Finn about his hugely ambitious rock opera project of The Most Lamentable Tragedy wayyy before it was ready. Before it was really started. And he put a deadline on it.

His thinking was, if he told people about it, it would have to become a reality. If he didn’t make this massive album, he’d be a punk. A guy I knew once told me, “Never tell anyone you’re quitting cigarettes, because when you start smoking again, they’ll know you’re a loser.” This is kinda true, but then again: I did tell people, I currently don’t smoke and I’d bet he does. I mean, I hope he doesn’t, but let’s be real about the guy.

Private resolves aren’t usually enough for me. I can rationalize and talk myself out of things like nobody’s business if no one knows. I’ve got a whole list of unrealized writing projects written in my journal from the early days of Peace Corps that were supposed to be done in Dec 2014. It’s September 2015 and I haven’t checked off a single one. I’m working on it, now better than ever, but still. Damn.

So, I’m gonna publicly announce something and hold myself to it. Sure, no one reads this blog yet—but they will. Oh yes, I have built it, and they will come. I think. Probably. Should probably get around to posting a link on my Facebook…

Anyway, here are some photos I took on vacation in Ghana:

Cut from the team #photography #proofs

A post shared by Paul Stremple (@paulstremple) on

Some are good, some are really good, and quite a few are bad. I’ve weeded out most of those and now I’m getting really picky. From 350+ I’m whittling 48 pictures down to 36 (or less) with the intention of making a photo chapbook with them. Something basic. I’m gonna print some copies—at least 100—number ’em, sign ’em, and try to sell ’em to my friends. To whomever. And I’m gonna have this done before March 15th, 2016. That seems a long way off, but I honestly have no idea what kind of printing I can get done out here in TZ, so at least by then I’ll be back in the States. But that’s the goal.

I honestly don’t care if they sell. I don’t care if self-publishing is lame—’cause bite me, Whitman did it. I don’t care that I’m not Walt Whitman, either. What I do care about is my very real fear that if I don’t put something I created out there in the world—or least try, even if I fail—if I don’t, I might keel over and die. Literally. Just, you know, expire. Let’s call it an expiration date.

If you’re reading this—hold me to it.


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