Flânerie with Julie Pointer Adams
Flânerie with Auralie is an interview series that wanders on a walk (literal or imagined) and explores the current introspective thoughts and reflections with an Auralie muse.
Jule Pointer Adams is a photographer, writer, interior stylist, and creative consultant. She resides in Carpinteria, a small town near Santa Barbara, California.
What, where, when, why, and how are you wandering?
I’m slowly wandering back to a version of myself I’ve been missing for a long while. My life has had one seismic shift after another over the past several years, and even though I’m due for another one here soon (I’m pregnant with my second child–due early summer), it seems as though the ground beneath me is starting to settle and feel more stable. I’m wandering to a place of more rootedness, reflection, and hopefully more presence.
A question you’re currently searching for an answer to:
How do I find the balance between respecting myself creatively in my career while making the necessary compromises (and occasional sacrifices) to help support my family?
Something you are longing for:
Rest! My life has been in hyper-speed mode for nearly a year and a half now, and I’m craving time for stillness and time to pause on all that has happened. With a new baby on the way, I certainly won’t be getting any rest in the sleep sense of the word, but I do hope to be able to take some time to slow down and savor the moments ahead.
A moment that influenced the course of your life:
My uncle loaned me a 35mm film camera–a Pentax K1000 when I was 15. I spent a semester doing a photography mentorship program with a local photographer. I carried that camera around for years, taking photos as a hobby and a personal way to document the events and travels of my life. That camera taught me largely how I wanted to see. Little did I know that taking photos for fun would turn into my career.
The last challenging choice you made:
Lately, I’ve found that choosing to be content amid difficult circumstances has been challenging. This isn’t a one-time choice but an ongoing, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute choice to direct and redirect where my thoughts and energy go. Sometimes I succeed at choosing contentment; sometimes, I fail.
Something you are presently observing:
I am observing the slow and miraculous arrival of Spring (as scarce as signs are of it here in Central California) and, at the same time, noticing that I am also coming out of a kind of hibernation period myself. I’m ready to bud and blossom again in a way I haven’t in a long time.
Something that defines you:
My need to seek out and celebrate everyday beauty is an inherent part of me that will never disappear. It’s ingrained into everything I do–how I work, live in my home, treat people, spend my days, etc.
Memories of beauty:
Living and studying in Orvieto, Italy, as winter gave way to spring and then summer, brings many memories of beauty. The sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of that unique time in my life will never leave me. The scent of orange blossom, lilacs blooming, homemade fig jam every morning, the sun setting over the hills, laundry drying in the wind, the lilting sounds of Italian all around me, doves cooing through the street, these memories are unforgettable.
Advice you would give your past self:
“Things take the time they take”...true wisdom from my favorite, Mary Oliver. Stop clinging to arbitrary timelines of when things should happen and how. Let the present unfurl around you however it wants to.
A prompt/quote/words to think on:
“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity” –a quote from French philosopher Simone Weil that has been taped on my wall for years.
And: “We create ourselves by our choices” from Soren Kierkegaard. I think of both of these quotes daily.
A time you showed softness in strength:
Every day with my son! I try to be as soft and gentle and loving towards him as I can in every moment, but it takes a lot of strength to carry on as a parent amid exhaustion, work stress, financial stress, worry for family members, and the state of the world. Add to that the variety of emotions we face daily simply as human beings, and treating a small child with unfailing tenderness in the middle of all that can feel like a huge feat.
A time your felt lost that is now clearly a part of your journey:
When I decided to start freelancing, it was a huge leap. For a time after leaving my previous full-time job, I had a steady gig art directing a small photo/film studio run by friends, but that abruptly ended with little warning, and I fell into the void with no backup plan and no income. It was scary and overwhelming. Naturally, the experience made me question if I had made the right choice. I can’t say that feeling has never returned over the last 7+ years, but I’ve had more and more confirmations over time that I am on the right path.
A random and arbitrary hodgepodge of book recommendations for whatever mood you’re in: (these are the books I grab when I need a cup of inspiration or, perhaps, a kick in the pants)
- Thirst by Mary Oliver (or any of her books, honestly)
- On Flowers by Amy Merrick
- Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren
- The New Mediterranean, edited by Gestalten
- Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
- Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
- Edward Weston edited by Filippo Maggia
- A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander (and others)
- The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks