Nothing Beyond Need

☆ February 16, 2016

I love this self portrait from artist Hazel Dooney. I love how everything in the photo matters – everything is there for a reason, for utility, to contribute. Juxtaposed against the ridiculous societal race to have more – big cars and bigger houses (subject to pinterest-shaming if the decor is not coordinated and curated) – this image is a respite. A reality check. It flies in the face of all that greed and perceived need and feels so much richer for it. Because none of that “stuff” matters when you have work to do. And by work, I mean manifesting your passion, whatever that is.

At the same time, juxtaposed against the poverty of billions, this image demonstrates such luxury to me. A safe place to be and to sleep. A mattress and clean sheets, excellent shelving and a trash can. A space to work. How extraordinarily valuable: the opportunity to manifest your passion, whatever that is.

I’ve been feeling a little stuck, blog-wise. I’ve been second-guessing myself into nothingness. So, I’m going to post every weekday for the next month – that means unpolished snippets, random thoughts. More discipline, less self-editing. See you tomorrow!


25 Responses to “Nothing Beyond Need”

  1. Deborah Dutko
    February 16th, 2016 @ 8:16 am

    A good reminder to me of how rich my life is, even
    though I’m not rich by $$& standards!

  2. Tony
    February 16th, 2016 @ 8:27 am

    Shreve, I look forward to seeing what you have to say.
    The first few steps are the big ones.

  3. Deborah
    February 16th, 2016 @ 8:29 am

    Whatever works…no judgement, just appreciation.

  4. Vee
    February 16th, 2016 @ 8:35 am

    Looking forward to it! A daily dose of Shreve and farmily. :)

  5. Marg
    February 16th, 2016 @ 9:08 am

    I like this one and your take on it but it also makes me anxious. I see the aspect of working yourself into a state of exhaustion repeatedly, endless cycle. Hope I didn’t bring you down.I look forward to tomorrow’s post.

  6. Sheri Nugent
    February 16th, 2016 @ 9:09 am

    Great! I’m reading your stuff every day.

  7. Susie Brandt
    February 16th, 2016 @ 9:27 am

    Yay!!!!! Worth a read — no matter what the content. Go girl!

  8. Amy in AMA
    February 16th, 2016 @ 10:36 am

    Watching “House Hunters” last night and thinking the same thing. $500,000 and nothing suited: the walk-in closet was TOO small and WHERE was the bedroom fireplace?

    We all need more work to do, I suppose.

  9. bonnie
    February 16th, 2016 @ 11:10 am

    from the look of the wrinkles, i’d say those are clean COTTON sheets. the best!

  10. Karen
    February 16th, 2016 @ 11:15 am

    I live very modestly myself and would be overwhelmed with too much fancy ‘stuff’. I look forward to your posts- they’ll be a treat to read!

  11. CeeBee
    February 16th, 2016 @ 11:41 am

    Terrific self-portrait! Now that I’m wheelchairbound and virtually housebound, I too have pared down all the “stuff” in my life to the essentials — a good bed, nutritious meals, my cats, and my pc on which I spend most of my day writing stories (for myself and to share with my library and online writers’ groups) and email with friends and my cat blog.

  12. Rachael
    February 16th, 2016 @ 11:45 am

    I need to take a page from your book here – I have been over-thinking myself into a corner for months and months now. I just to write and not care. Maybe I’ll join you on this excursion to just blog!

  13. Bev in Oregon
    February 16th, 2016 @ 11:46 am

    Yes, yes, and yes.

    Re: blog content. I grew up in a big city. Spent the first ten years of my adult life in a (different) big city. So, now that I live in rural-ish area, I’m fascinated and thrilled by things like seeing cows in a field while I’m on my way to work. Even after being here for years. Point being, just tell us what you do in a normal day. What do you see? If your internal critic says it is mundane, tell them to shut up because they are lots of us who will love reading it.

  14. BuddyM
    February 16th, 2016 @ 12:10 pm

    A welcome reality check. Thank you.

  15. RG
    February 16th, 2016 @ 1:28 pm

    Hi Shreve – I haven’t commented much here, but I’ve been following your blog for years. Regardless of your posting pace, I’ve always felt such a wonderful vibe from this space you’ve created. When the rest of the internet seems like one big shit show, Honey Rock Dawn makes me feel like everything is somehow going to be okay. Even if you’re sharing sad information, your positive energy comes through. I feel like so many of us respect your lifestyle decisions (and even envy them), so we come here wanting to absorb some of that energy, hoping to capture it for ourselves. Your continuing to post, even if you feel like it’s only thought rambling, is so appreciated, and I assure you that your readers will still be satisfied.

    Perhaps you could do another Q&A if you find yourself stuck? Those were always fun…

  16. Jen
    February 16th, 2016 @ 1:29 pm

    Even when they tell stories of loss & sadness, the words you write always leave me feeling a little brighter. There is always beauty in the snippets you share. Your words are missed in the breaks between writing, so I will welcome any that you share this next month. Thank you you for sharing your words & thoughts, polished or not, they are appreciated,

  17. Felyne
    February 16th, 2016 @ 1:47 pm

    I’m a minimalist because mentally I can’t function with clutter, becoming completely overwhelmed and shutting down. Everything has to be used and have a purpose.

    The gross desire to possess material things I just can’t understand.

    My husband is borderline hoarder so we have our battles. :D

  18. Stella
    February 16th, 2016 @ 5:33 pm

    Good news! I’m here looking every day, and absolutely grateful to all y’all that feel obliged to satisfy our daily lust for communication. The pictures are always a treat, but the words are supremely satisfying. Thanks!

  19. wagga
    February 16th, 2016 @ 6:54 pm

    That could be my room! Down to the same racks, even. So I’ve minimised my overhead, so that I can go out to the Great Barrier Reef on a weekly basis.
    I discovered TDC just a few months before the “YES! CHARLIE IS OK. LIKE RIGHT NOW, THIS VERY SECOND! IN FEBRUARY.” post, so it’s been 8 years now. A wonderful achievement that gives your readers a shot of joy each day. Look forward to lots more posts, both pics & words.

  20. Jenny C
    February 16th, 2016 @ 8:38 pm

    Let ‘er rip! In the words of Barry Diller: “Put one dumb foot in front of the other, and course-correct as you go.” (Not that I think you have dumb feet or anything…)

    I echo Deborah’s comments in #2 and add: do what feeds you… or just do nothing. We’ll be here either way, hearts and arms open. We GET IT, at least many or most of us do, and all will be well.

  21. Ruth
    February 17th, 2016 @ 7:39 am

    yes, to everything.

  22. GD
    February 18th, 2016 @ 4:24 am

    I have to ask….is there a picture? I only see a blank space. Or am I missing something?

  23. shreve
    February 18th, 2016 @ 7:10 am

    GD ~ yes! it can also be seen here:

  24. mlaiuppa
    February 18th, 2016 @ 5:02 pm

    I think this relates exactly to the small house movement.

    People, especially young people, are reconsidering their lives and their needs and deciding exactly what it is they need and are choosing to live debt free in small 10 x 18 houses on trailer platforms that can easily be moved if need be. The tiny size requires minimalist thinking. You need a bed, a toilet/sink/shower, a kitchen of some kind. Whether you need room to entertain depends on you. Things such as storage and work spaces also vary.

    But the basic idea is the same. What do I really need? For many, to be happy it is just the stability of what is in this photo: a bed with clean sheets, a work space and some storage. If you live in the city, you can always eat out or create meals that don’t require cooking. Some require nothing more than a rice cooker (Roger Ebert) or a hotplate. For some only a crock pot or a microwave. One small appliance does everything they need. Often it can fit on part of their work space.

    My aunt in Germany only had a small “bar fridge” in her small kitchen. My parents bought it for her when they visited on time. It was handy but how did she manage without one? She shopped every day and bought small quantities. Her meals were cooked for only herself and her husband and there were no leftovers. Since she shopped every day her ingredients were always fresh. It is a different lifestyle.

  25. Erin B.
    February 24th, 2016 @ 3:46 am

    Yes. That. Ah! I love Hazel Dooney.

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