Will Jacks corrected me every time I called it a conference. He corrected me again when I called it a workshop. Rebirth is neither. What is it? I actually don't know that I can really define it even after having been there. It's sort of a retreat, but with projects.
Rebirth is a different experience for everyone who attends. There were folks who were there this year who were there last year. I can see why. I, too, want to go back.
I made it clear that I wasn't coming either as a photographer participant or as Jim Collins, CEO of Pictage. I was just coming as Will Jacks and Chris Williams and Sarah Hodzic and Jess DelVecchio and Chris Pike's friend. I also had to admit to myself that I needed a break. We've been going 10,000 miles an hour around Pictage for about the last 7 months and my creative energy was getting really low.
There was nothing convenient about going to Rebirth. I'd been in Massachusetts for 10 days, flew home on a Monday, spent the night on Monday and flew to Memphis first thing Tuesday morning to drive 1.5 hours to Clarksdale. On Hwy 61 between Memphis and Clarksdale I drove through near biblical rain. I loved it. It was like a curtain that separated the baggage I'd brought from the experience I was there to absorb. What came next was what was important.
For me visiting Mississippi is always somewhat mystical. My Dad grew up on the coast just outside of Biloxi, 'dirt poor' (his term), and the son of an english teacher and a writer. I visited Mississippi when I was in high school and got my first real introduction to the deep south in a little town called Mendenhall. It is somehow appropriate for me that this is the place to go back to.
Will, Chris, Sarah, Jess, Chris Pike, Thom Bennet, Euphus (Butch) Ruth were this year's teachers. But in real ways everyone there learns from everyone else (present company perhaps accepted). While I was there I was reminded that it is in the doing of new and different things and sometimes in the act of being quiet that our mind has a chance to soar.