The first newsletter from I Am My Niche
(Pic: Charis O Fleming)
Hi and welcome to This is My Niche. This newsletter is about the many things I have experienced and the those that I do and that fascinate me. There is no set topic because I am naturally eclectic, a butterfly, as the Thais would have it. I have always felt that I must be an escapee from the Italian Renaissance, the Cinquecento, squirted forward in time, like a melon-seed squeezed between thumb and fingers, to arrive, curious, bemused even, in the late twentieth century. I have been trying to figure out what the hell happened ever since!
If you like this newletter, please forward it to your friends and any groups you might be a part of. It's free. Please support me, if you can, either through https://www.buymeacoffee.com/rodfleming or my Patreon https://www.patreon.com/rodfleming
I will be starting a second newsletter, called Controversial Opinions and there you will find things that perhaps are more familiar to you, if you read my blog at https://www.rodfleming.com or watch my Youtube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/RodFleming-World.
I have had an interesting life, I think and I certainly do hold opinions on many topics. I might not have seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, as yet anyway, but I have seen a fair bit, you know. I have lived many dreams and regret not a single one of them.
All an artist ever does is take his life and remodel it into something new. We can never know what is not within ourselves; we have to take it in before we can regurgitate it. Art when it has narrative – always the best kind – is also a form of journalism. It takes what is known and makes sense of it, or perhaps remakes it to a different sense; it depends on the moment.
(Dr Robert Bustard, whose research into spider venom has led to many discoveries. Pic:Rod Fleming)
I was a successful Photojournalist for many years and the connection between art and narrative, communication, has always been a central issue for me. I love playing the Blues because in the end, anyone can play it. It's not about technique; it's about communication. Communication through stories. Sometimes, they're tragic, sometimes they're uplifting; but they all share the common experience of being human, of experiencing life. So, as in Photography and in Music, is my writing. As a Writer I am a storyteller, part of a rich tradition that goes back into the dawn of human culture.
Storytelling was invented long before we learned how to read and write; indeed for countless millennia it was the only way that knowledge and cultural heritage could be preserved and passed forward. It is an essential human skill and without it, who knows if we should be here at all? If we had to relearn how to hunt every generation, or identify the good plants, or know how to deal with a woman's parturition, it would have been much harder. We should have had nothing to build upon; civilisation itself could never have happened – just ask any chimp. Language, and thus storytelling, is what makes us human.
All stories, however, are rooted in the self and in our personal experience of the world. Even when we tell a story we learned from someone else – and who has not passed on a joke or an amusing tale even if it was outside their own personal experience? – we add something of ourselves to it. So through time, these stories morph to suit both the storyteller and the cultures they are a part of. It was not until we learned to write and more importantly, how to print, that these resources, these repositories of knowledge, as they are, became codified.
Art and Journalism become one in the Storyteller, in the expression of the human condition. It doesn't really matter whether we weave our yarns from the paintbrush, the click of the shutter, the rattle of the keyboard or the pluck of the strings. All of these are the tools of a Storyteller and that is what I am.
So I will open myself to you, through the pages of these letters, which are personal, to each of you, even though they are sent to many.
If I had one thing to say to all of you, it would be 'Dream large,' and live your dreams. Don't hold back. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, because Life has a way of repairing those. It is far better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Always look up, never down. Perhaps in the example of my life, some of you will find inspiration. Others might be amused. Some, no doubt, will hate me, but I have never let that get in my way.
Dreaming large has been my motivation all my life and you should make it yours too.
See you next time!