Hygiene highs; a day off. Taking care of myself.

Alright, so I didn’t get much done on the portfolio, today. I did go out on an excursion and brought back a couple of beading magazines. Although I don’t subscribe to any anymore, it’s good to view the ads.

I suppose I never really reported on the specifics of what beads I have recently picked up. I mentioned them close to the time, but no pics or anything. That isn’t great, for the reason that I forget what I have, if I don’t record it.

And then, there was the little macramé trial that I started and then ended…

Yeah, I want to do something with that! (It’s right next to me, now.)

Last night, I wanted to post about hygiene. Particularly, how good it felt to take a shower and wash my hair and dry the roots, getting everything done (including rubbing my face down with witch hazel, treating it, and brushing and flossing my teeth). I had to floss because I’d eaten raw fish for dinner (it will cause awful morning-after breath, otherwise — and don’t even think about going to bed with your teeth unbrushed — it’s horrific the next day), and I really had to wash my hair.

I put some sort of oil in it to protect the ends…but I’m not convinced that two drops (as the bottle said to use) was enough. I had to use the Clarifying shampoo because my hair was so gross, and that will eat through any oil or grease it touches at full strength. Because of that, I had some areas which were just fine (if not oily), and some areas which were squeaky-dry. I’ve found that it’s healthier to have it oily but clean, as versus dry and brittle.

I’m thinking of using a sulfate-free, very gentle shampoo, and just washing much more often. (I’ve heard that a vinegar rinse is good for getting rid of sulfate deposits in the hair [someone did one on me once], so I might use one just to soften it. I’m just not sure how exactly, to do it.)

I used the diffuser attachment for my hair dryer for the first time, last night. IT IS WONDERFUL. If I set it on “Cool” and High speed, it will get my roots dry, which is important to avoid mold and mildew. Avoiding that is important to avoiding dandruff and scalp itching, in turn.

As well, the “Cool” setting, doesn’t burn me.

I’m wanting to wash my hair and wear it the way it is when it’s wet and in what would be called, “ringlets,” if my hair was fully curly — it’s just in short waves, and I don’t know what the term is for that. But it’s nice that my hair texture has matured…it’s never been this consistent in texture, before. Rather, the texture varied depending on which area of my scalp the hair was growing from. (When I was very small, it was much straighter.)

It’s also never been as long as this at this texture, before. Right now, I can put it on top of my head, and it almost all stays (depending on what area of my crown it’s on)!

So…I’m thinking of continuing to grow it out, so I can get to the point where I can pile it all on top of my head. If I dry it with the diffuser, it should also be good to wear it down, while the rest of it dries. The diffuser actually adds lift to the root area, which helps it look alright.

I started out this post talking about beads and beadwork…

I suppose it’s OK if I don’t get work on my portfolio done, every day. I’ll only have one more class on top of this, for the foreseeable future. And even if I do get a better job, I shouldn’t have to work much more than 20 hours.

Also, so long as the portfolio project isn’t done, I’m thinking that it’s probably normal or good to keep it in the back of my mind, all the time. I should probably just not worry or stress over it too much — at least, not yet. After all, no matter what, it’s not going to be done for a while.

With the beadwork, I’ve based a color scheme around a number of ceramic beads, but have come to realize that the ceramic beads are likely too coarse for the design. I think the color scheme still works, though: warm aqua luster, violet vitrail, bronze.

And…I keep finding more beads, stashed away in plain sight. I need to get them all together. I remember looking for some for that scarab necklace (bright fuschia size 6° silverlined rounds), that I found a couple of days ago in a forgotten project drawer.

Anyhow. I haven’t been working on that today, either.

Seems like a lot of the stuff I have to do, has to do with organization. I think that’s accurate.

The thing I’m kind of irritated about is my lack of noting prices per quantity on the descriptions of my bead vials. Prices normally vary based on what’s in the glass, and what treatments have been applied to the glass. For example, pinks and deep reds (which aren’t just coated), generally have gold in the glass formulation, so they cost more. But something like a teal will generally be much less (I don’t know what makes it teal).

I remember that a while back, the “Apollo” finish (a bright bronze-gold coating over clear glass) was new and stupid-expensive. It’s gone down in price, now.

But if I’m making anything to sell, the final price is based on the cost of production, ideally. Otherwise, I risk underselling myself, and not being able to hold the price of a certain item, steady. Unless, that is, I risk overcharging (which I probably should, as versus putting something out using a baseline price formula).

I think I feel a bit better now, making jewelry with the intention to sell (though I haven’t been doing it much, recently). It helps to know people into art (who value artistic labor), and it helps to have done it, before.

It also helps to know that I’m not undermining my integrity by doing something generally classified as feminine. I am female, but as regular readers here will know, I don’t see myself as a woman — or a man (feminine, is something different: I have found that just because I don’t see myself as a woman, that doesn’t mean I have to divorce myself from everything associated with women).

In my first round of making jewelry to sell, I didn’t know myself as well, and didn’t know why I liked to do it. At this point, I know it’s okay to sell something for personal decoration, even if no one absolutely needs it. I didn’t feel great taking money for something someone may want, but have no absolute life-or-death need for. Especially when they may have needs that they’re sacrificing for “wants”.

But other people’s money-management, really isn’t my business. And that’s a ground-rule I really need to keep up.

I’ve also found that I myself feel better when I know I look good. The attention I get for that isn’t the reason I do it — or even something I really desire — but I try to take compliments in stride.

After all, nothing says I can’t be a gender minority and gorgeous at the same time…

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Feelings on Japanese culture

This post is about my internal conflict (as a mixed-race, fourth-generation [yonsei] Japanese-American person [nikkeijin]) as regards learning Japanese language (nihongo).

This majorly has to do with tensions around widespread equation of race to ethnicity; past insecurity about being a legitimate member of my ethnicity; being part of a wider Asian-American community including other A/PI (Asian/Pacific Islander) people; mixed feelings over the popularity in America of Japanese pop culture (over the output of other cultures); historically-based Japanese racism; internal family tensions bridging off of that history of racism; how my own identity has been shaped by intra-familial racism; and ideas about cultural appropriation, or who has the “right” to display what ethnic signals (or to represent Japanese-American people).

On top of that, I now have ambivalence over describing myself (as I have for most of my life, and has been implicitly encouraged by my family) as more Japanese-American than African-American. I was raised with my Japanese-American family, while my extended African-American family is relatively distant. While relations with neither side are perfect, the methods of relation are markedly different. Seeing the problems now arising on the Japanese-American side of my family, as well, causes some tension in my knowing that I don’t want to follow in their footsteps (with the possible exception of my father and brother — though I know very clearly that I am not my brother).

There are a lot of complicated feelings here, so I can’t be sure I’ll be able to get them all out in this posting. I can’t assure anyone that what they read here is going to be accurate to what I’m thinking; I’ve realized that my English communication skills have been a bit overestimated. Nor can I really assure anyone that they won’t be upset by reading about my experience, but I ask that they own their own emotions and look at why they feel what they feel. If what I write is anything, it is a catalyst, and a way for me to express my own reality (which is likely different from everyone else’s).

It’s been a while since I’ve last studied nihongo (Japanese language). I have been involved with this since middle school, at the earliest, when I learned to read and write kana (Japanese syllabary). It is — or has been, since I was young — a life goal of mine to learn Japanese. In the beginning, I realized that I meshed much more with media emerging from Japan, than I did with American media. I’m fairly certain that a lot of this had to deal with the gender fluidity exhibited in shojo (girls’) anime (animation) and manga (comics).

As someone who was nominally female but who did not fit into feminine gender norms (at the time)…this, and the compassion displayed toward the “villains” in anime (who were actually relatable, and in some ways respectable), caused me to really kind of attach to anime. In turn, this caused me to seek out manga, which helped push me forward when it came to writing fiction, to drawing comics, and to beginning to learn how to read nihongo.

Since I was little, I’ve been watching Fuji TV and now NHK World. It’s something that has been kind of like PBS, and has helped with my comprehension of spoken Japanese.

When I was in my first years of undergraduate study, I chose nihongo as my language of choice, to fulfill my Foreign Language graduation requirement.

In any case…this entry is about my now being ambivalent in my drive to learn this. I’ve started to question my motivations, that is: what they’re based in. I’ve also started to question whether I even have a chance of being considered as human, should I ever travel to Japan. Maybe “human” isn’t the right word; there is a lot about rank and status in what I know of Japanese culture, so being considered “equal” is a more American ideal.

Maybe the question is whether I have a chance of being respected and accepted in Japan, as a mixed-race person, when one of those races originates in Africa. Then that leads me to the place of why that dialogue should ever come into my head; why it should even matter, because I know that it’s stupid. (After all, all humans originated in Africa.)

But humans aren’t known for making sense, not in any country.

I also realize that a lot of this concern arises from some of my experience with my own family (particularly those who don’t know me very well, and my late grandmother), and my experience with one particular clique in middle- and high-school. Whether it was because of the fact that I didn’t fit in genderwise (I was more active than any of them; they probably thought it was because I was boyish) or that I didn’t fit in racially (I was the only half-Asian)…most of them never really accepted me, with the exception of one, who is still a friend.

Of course, it’s also possible that there were interpersonal things going on that I was unaware of, which ironically, I think I’d be better able to understand.

Going off of one of my readings, by the third generation in the U.S., the original diasporic language — in this case, Japanese — is lost (as happened in my family). Going off of what I’ve seen, by the fourth generation, partnering only to people of the same diaspora ceases to make sense. That is, by the fourth generation (yonsei), mixed-race (hapa) children start showing up a lot more frequently.

I think because of this, it’s a lot more understood for Japanese-Americans to be diverse, in the U.S. And because of that…I actually feel understood and accepted in a place like Hawaii, which has a very large A/PI population.

And I’ve wanted to learn Japanese, to be able to get back to my roots and get deeper into that of my cultural heritage which is GOOD. It may be because I’ve been reading into historical documents…by this I mean 1950’s English-language books about Japan and Japanese culture…but it’s reawakened some of those old, negative feelings about the source of my diaspora. Particularly the bitterness over how certain members of my family were not, “good enough,” for my grandmother, due to the region of the world their ancestors were from.

Then there is the giant World War II legacy, which is complicated on a number of counts: both the Japanese Internment and the fact that the former Japanese military was famous for war crimes. I suppose it could be said to be penance that the country no longer has any Armed Forces…but to be honest, even though I personally had nothing to do with this, it’s still visible that there are race tensions in Japanese pop culture. Which doesn’t make it necessarily non-problematic to deal with.

At one time, I had to take a break from dealing with anime (for a number of years), in order to be able to feel good about my own racialization. Because there was no one in those anime who represented me. The ones who supposedly came close, were being made fun of (though I still appreciate Cowboy Bebop for disrupting this).

On the up side, I have a lot of respect for the work ethic of so many Japanese artisans and craftspersons. I know that the people who were on the islands of Japan during the War were not the ones doing the crimes. There is so much beauty and aesthetic sophistication in so much of what I’ve seen come out of Japan. The language itself is beautiful. And I doubt that much of what is published in the English language about Japan can even hold a light to what is published in nihongo, itself (from library translations, and what I’ve seen coming out of Kinokuniya Books).

I don’t know what to think about there not being stronger laws to protect women and sexual minorities in the nation, but I know that as someone seen as both, I may not be safe there. The history of Japan is full of war and violence inflicted against its own people, and that it would spill outside the country at some time, was near-unavoidable. It’s a cultural difference that interpersonal interactions are more important in what I know of Japanese business, than supposed merit.

There is a lot of difference, culturally, between California (outside of Japanese-American community) and Japan. That doesn’t mean California is necessarily better. That means I’m between cultures, and find myself exposed to both. Am I actually navigating both? I am not sure.

I think I’ve just had a taste of Japanese culture, and that, while being initially enthusiastic about that exposure, I’ve now matured to the point of being able to become ambivalent about it.

While it is, undoubtedly, better to choose to accept the good and reject the bad, trying to disentangle those two, as in trying to disentangle the good and the bad in American culture, may be more of a full-time job than it seems. I do still want to learn Japanese. I just am not positive that I will ever be able to use it comfortably, in Japan. The thought of that possibility is difficult to deal with.

Then again, I don’t think the 2020’s will be the same as the 1950’s. Looking toward the future, there is always hope.

Feeling unproductive.

Today, I wasn’t able to get done what I wanted, to. The most obvious and most mechanical point of action I have is to create a set of hyperlinks to my different classes for each of my required Learning Competencies…so that when working on any one, I won’t have to search around through all my archives, trying to find something which fits.

Luckily, I already have my competencies-to-courses, mapped out. I just need to create a shorthand to each folder in my file system.

I did move outside of what I had thought I would do, to get a notebook and …ponder starting to write out my Statement of Professional Philosophy. I had a better idea of what I would write, last night at 2 AM. I’m hoping that writing here will make working up to this, a bit easier. I need to write, something.

While I wouldn’t say the day was totally wasted, I did end up not going in for extra hours at work. Also, biological imperatives stated that I sleep for a while…and I still need to shower.

People around me say that I’m doing really well, though for me it’s hard to see, when I have days like this.

I guess I just have to remember that not everything has to be done NOW NOW NOW. But if I get a Library Assistant position and I’m doing that as well as my capstone class and Collection Development…I might be better off as regards future jobs, but it might really be tough for the next semester.

Which is why I’m trying to mitigate it, now.

I wasn’t expecting for the call to go out for new Library Assistants, though I see that last time it happened, it was around the middle of July, last year.

There’s some more going on now — actually, a lot more — that I think is stressing me, a bit. We’re considering moving out-of-state, in addition to everything else…which is tough for me when my proficiency at working with the community is contingent on knowing the community.

There’s also some family business to attend to, which I think is coming up because we might not be in this location for much longer. Not to mention that I have questions about my great-grandmother which may go unanswered, unless I actually get up the nerve to ask.

Things are just feeling a bit unstable for me, at the moment. Especially knowing that I may not be able to get a library job in the place we may move, to; at least, not a gainful one, and at least, at first.

I guess a lot is heading up to change in my life, really quickly. And I’m not in control of most of it.

That could…possibly be a reason for a little bit of distress.

The upshot of this is that I’d be moving to an area with a larger Asian population, which will make it immensely easier to learn Japanese, and not lose it. There also might be a lower cost-of-living, considering that prices have inflated so much here that it’s ridiculous. I’m looking at an average $10,000/year pay cut by moving, though…but unless the housing market changes, we may not be coming back.

I suppose that with so much of my life being based around the internet…maybe that would be something that would hold stable. But my friends and work, being part of this community; I think I’d miss it, at least at first.

It’s just, what a time to uproot, right?

I’ve had some internal conflict about my reasoning around learning Japanese. Hmm. But it would go better in a different post.

Judgment befalls the art supplies

So after dinner, tonight, I was able to separate out some art supplies I have and don’t want. Some of these things, I got from other people. There were also some things I reconsidered. The below is what I was going to give away but decided to keep, and why.

  • Chartpak markers

These markers are xylene-based and thus, toxic (and for me, anxiety-inducing). However…I tried coloring with them in a circular motion, as I had heard one needed to do with markers to avoid streaks. For some reason, they didn’t bleed severely, as I’ve known them to (it must have either been the paper, or their age). A bunch of these, I got for graphic design for my job.

On those grounds alone, I might keep them, just because I may need to make more signs.

However, what really got me is that they dried so slowly that the color…was really smooth. The strokes blended into each other. I decided to keep them because of this, and because I realized that I can put the work into the bathroom to dry, turn on the fan and leave the door open, to form a makeshift evacuation hood. It keeps the fumes from collecting and giving me a headache.

I’m also interested in what I can draw or paint on top of these.

  • Prismacolor black markers

The Prismacolors didn’t smell as noxious, today, as I remember them smelling. They’re alcohol markers, and when used like I used the Chartpaks, they cover the paper really well. I’m curious about what I can draw on top of them.

  • Copic Cool Grey markers (in multiple intensities)

I decided to keep these alcohol markers after I got out my marker paper and tested a couple of Copics like I had tested the Prismacolor and Chartpak markers. Copics are basically a serious investment (they cost upwards of $3 each for the cheapest models, on sale), and the major drawback to having the ones I have, is that they’re all the same color. But…on the off chance that I do start illustrating again, they’ll be nice to have around. Especially to do grisaille (a greyscale drawing) under other (Copic) colors.

  • Faber-Castell Polychromos Grey set

I was going to get rid of these colored pencils, until I found some test marks I had made on black paper. They…are interesting, on dark backgrounds. The upshot of using light colors on dark paper is the fact that you get to paint in the lights, instead of the shadows. Because I’ve been wanting to deal with awareness of negative space and balance between positive and negative space, my interest in these, I think, will help me grow.

  • Rembrandt grey soft pastels (multiple shades and tints)

Same thing, here. I figured that if I was going through my toxic stuff and keeping some of it, why not keep these? The big issue here is dust and nanoparticles. I did keep my ArtGuard barrier cream for my hands…and I’ve never even tried using it to keep the pigments out of my skin (though the greys I have, don’t stain). I can try using this, and see then if I still want to get rid of these guys. The darker greys, in particular, are beautiful on black paper, and the whites are intense, on same.

Rembrandts are also a brand I trust, although I have seen some Caution Label warnings about some of the “shade” colors (shades are pigments mixed with black). I’m thinking that the warnings are because the black is likely carbon (I’m reading Lamp Black) and may be contaminated with creosote. Generally when that’s even a remote possibility, the pastels get tagged with a “Cancer!” label. (That’s in addition to anything with Titanium White in it, being tagged with a Prop 65 label, when Titanium Dioxide is nontoxic and only a mechanical danger.)

That’s just a guess, though. On looking deeper, I’m finding that Lamp Black itself may be classified as a possible carcinogen, and that it’s weakly toxic.

If it’s just the black that’s a problem, though…I’ll try the barrier cream!

  • Derwent Watercolor Pencil set

These are just too nice to give away. Selling them is something else. I have a set of Supracolor aquarelle pencils I was going to replace them with, but I’ve found my Neocolors (by the same company, Caran d’Ache) not to age very well. If the Supracolors (made with the same pigments as the Neocolors?) are going to appear dull over time, and I’m giving away the Neocolors, I might want the Derwents as a backup.

  • Japanese Pentel brush pen

This thing is just neat. It’s a pen with an ink reservoir as a handle, and synthetic hairs at the tip. I realized what was wrong is just that the tip needed to be wet because the thing on the whole is drying out. But I still have a refill for this, and it makes my kanji look awesome, so I’m keeping it.

There are a bunch of things I’m getting rid of. I’m just not sure it’s worth it, to list them. However, there are a number of paints — some acrylic, some watercolor — which I don’t have a need for, anymore, or which are poor quality. I’m not sure if some of them can be saved (for example, by mixture with an acrylic medium), or if they’re just unrecoverable garbage.

I’m getting rid of a large pencil wallet which breaks pencils (but might be good for pens), a couple of sets of sketching pencils (I have enough graphite), two sets of Pentel oil pastels (one of which is unopened), a large collection of Neocolor II water-soluble oil pastels, some Neocolor I waterproof oil pastels, and some scholastic-level markers. Also, there are some colored pencil duplicates that have nothing in particular wrong with them.

I might also try and pawn off one of our two sets of Prang watercolor paints, here. And I have a number of watercolor palettes…which I probably am not going to use, all at the same time (though I might surprise myself).

The tough thing I found, tonight, is that the stuff I want to get rid of is the stuff that isn’t in my face. I’ve recently reorganized, and so I have art supplies which haven’t proven themselves yet to be inferior, in front of me.

Now, as for the question of which of these mediums I’m actually going to use…and in the near future, at that?

…that’s a tougher question.

Some good work, done.

I had two moments today when I was able to shout that I got something, right. Coding is like that. I realized that since I was globally enforcing HTTPS, anything sourced from HTTP, broke. The other HA! moment came when I realized that I could write my own HTML and CSS and upload it, aside from my Content Management System. This means that my domain can host an actual self-authored website.

Since last night, I’ve basically been on the computer, whether that was related to setup or intellectual work. All those classes in Information Science have actually helped something. I mean…I can do a lot and understand a lot, that I couldn’t, before. I wouldn’t have been able to catch the error in my script unless I knew that there was something wrong in one line of code and that it was likely one tiny (and logical or syntactical) error.

Right now I need to work on organizing my files, so I know where to look for the information I need. I’ve done enough work for today on the actual portfolio, I think.

No kidding — I need to only take one other course with my capstone class, this Fall, if that. The portfolio project is major, and I haven’t done much work on the content, so far. I’ve been reading over the requirements and setting up all the groundwork that has to be done to publish this stuff.

As for content, I have about 18 weeks to get it completed, and there are 16 sections to complete. That means an average of at least one section a week (?!) for pace, though it’s possible more than one section will get done at once, as I run across evidence while looking for other evidence.

I think one of the motivational issues involved with starting this, besides intimidation, is the delayed-gratification aspect. But getting the Master’s, and thus access to becoming a Librarian, matters way more than getting Likes, does.

For now, though…maybe I’ll write a little on which, if any, of my art supplies I want to trade with friends. I feel secure enough on the portfolio, for now.

Getting to what has to be done.

I really need to stop posting at 2 in the morning (I say at 1 in the morning: I started writing, around 11 PM). Sorry about the lack of coherence of my last post; I didn’t have a lot of time to edit it, and had been mulling over a backlog of posts for a while, likely hours. Long enough for my mind to start falling asleep, apparently.

Since I have time now, it would probably be better to do this a little earlier in the evening, or hold onto the drafts for 24 hours to allow for editing, before publication…so I don’t have to worry about posting at 3 AM with my mind not all there.

I also didn’t have enough time to get together even the basics for work, this morning. I thought I had brought nothing to eat on break (what I brought was breakfast), but then I found an unopened pack of trail mix in my purse. I didn’t eat it, but it was comforting to have. Still, though, I didn’t have time to pick a sketchbook in addition to grabbing the Monolith sticks, so I wasn’t able to draw during my lunch hour.

What I did do, today at lunch, was take another typing test. I needed to verify my WPM in preparation for a job application. The latter is done now, so I don’t have to worry about it, anymore. Maybe I should have included a cover letter, but I don’t think I’ll absolutely need it. I was more worried about actually decreasing my chances of getting a job by writing a messed-up or ill-considered cover letter under time pressures…

Though I really didn’t need to turn it in, so soon. I have just been worried that the hiring call would close early, due to so many applicants.

But it’s one thing off the table. The next thing is getting the content of my portfolio started, which I can do easily once I transfer my files. I’ve just got to remember that nothing needs to be set in stone, at this point. So there’s no penalty for going ahead and starting.

The big fear is that I won’t have the evidence I need, but even if that’s so, it’s still to my benefit to get started, early. At least I’ll know where I stand, and I can try and make up the deficiency while I still have the time to study and write.

And it will give me something to do if and/or when I decide that I need to stop with the arts and crafts. It might be good to get back to something, academic. Or that matters most urgently, you know. Maybe the difficulty I have is with balancing my wants and needs. Or with…studying and making. And I don’t know which is more important, sometimes.

Today was a good day, at work. It actually made me want to go in, more. It helps that I have someone to talk to about art stuff. It also helps to have a sense of upward mobility. And purpose. You know. There is a purpose — for the library, and for me — to my staffing Circulation, even if I’m not a Clerk and not being paid Clerk wages.

It also helps to know that my final semester won’t be the end of my learning; continuing education is expected for librarians. And if I’m getting paid paraprofessional wages, I can afford to go to classes, in order to hone skills for my future path(s).

I think that part of the problem I’m having is that I have way too much free time and way too much that I want to do, in that free time. If I were working a 40-hour week, there would be no way I could even consider doing as much as I’m trying to do. With the amount of technology in use, I wonder about how much less time people spend working, than we were built to. It’s just not…it doesn’t seem to my advantage, to have so much time.

Which is ironic, based on how many of my posts are about trying to assign how much time, to which projects. There’s just so much to do. So much I could do.

Since I was little, so much of my education has been about my keeping my options open. Maybe that pattern is working against me, now.

I do think that mathematical and logical thought, aren’t the most pleasant ways for me to spend my time, though! I mean, judging from my experiences in several of my classes. I think I’m more of an Arts and Humanities person.

I guess that’s a good thing to know. It’s a step towards focusing, that is…

Distance grown from past pleasures

At the risk of being wiped out from lack of sleep, tomorrow, I’m going to give in a little to the urge to write. The most significant theme I have right now is that much of I was once enthusiastic about, I’ve grown distant from — because I haven’t had time to devote to actually doing what I wanted.

Along with this comes the recognition that what I know isn’t necessarily correct, just because I know it (or thought I knew it). This applies to my cultural studies, particularly with Buddhism…that is, just because my ancestors and heritage have something to do with it and it’s part of the fabric of my existence, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily correct or true, or not-problematic, or better than anyone else’s heritage.

These are two different topics that I may be able to intertwine, though maybe I shouldn’t. Actually, the latter could be its own post, so maybe I’ll actually save it for a different one, and link to it from here, after I’ve actually written it.

Time division

Looking in my archives, I’ve realized that I’ve grown a bit distant from a lot of things I used to like. These include:

  • Reading
  • Drawing
  • Beading
  • Writing creatively
  • Learning Japanese language

Now that I’m planning to factor in time for myself (aside from University requirements), how to spend that time is coming to the fore. The major focus (or distraction) I’m having now is that some of these things require more or less daily commitment in order to progress and avoid losing skills. Japanese language is pretty much like this. Drawing is like this, too. It’s a reason I stopped playing guitar. And, of course, reading even a single work, requires a set time commitment.

There are also some just basic things that I need to do or maintain, like:

  • Hygiene
  • Driving
  • Exercise and stretching
  • Laundry
  • Housekeeping

And then there are more urgent things, like:

  • Applying for jobs
  • Preparing my portfolio

When I put it like that, it’s easy to see how the first group of items got left behind. They just aren’t that urgent.

Fear of flying: Overthinking design

Right now I’m coming off of a few days of intensely dealing with beadwork and jewelry design. While I could plow forward and keep at it…the phrase that came to mind is, “I wonder if I’m missing something.” I mean, I could definitely keep moving forward on this, but I know my hands will be sore. Maybe that could be a self-limiting thing; like, I can work on micromacramé until my hands get sore, and then I’ll stop and do something else?

That could work, actually!

My major concern is that I tend to over-intellectualize things, when I need to be diving in and learning by experience. Of course, that’s hard when you’re afraid to mess up or fail…when messing up and failing is how you learn.

So there’s tension here between my intellect and its perfectionism, and the part of me that is generative and messy and creative, I guess. I wouldn’t be surprised if those are actually different brain regions in conflict.

I really should have taken a picture of the craft table before I cleaned it up. It was…awful.

But something grew out of all that messiness, and I’m wearing it, now. And I actually now have a storage solution for all my wires and cutters and pliers, that actually works (I used the big toolbox I got the other day that turned out to be gigantic). So now I have another free flat storage area…

Maybe I just need to get more comfortable with uncertainty. I mean, you can’t fly if you’re afraid to jump.

And no, I don’t know where that last sentence came from…it just came. I guess that counts as a, “jump.”

But I’m not going to learn macramé if I’m afraid of, “wasting,” cord on learning. My necklaces aren’t going to make themselves, but to make them, I have to be willing to be wrong a few times (maybe, several). And I have to be willing to experiment if I want to ever make truly great and original art.

I mean, it’s not like I don’t have unpopular cord to play with. For supporting frames, it’s not like I don’t have heavy (and cheap) wire and tools to form it, with which to experiment.

I just have to let myself experiment. Like give permission, to.

After all, those spools of cord are meant to be used, not meant to be hoarded. Hoarding them doesn’t make me an artist; it makes me a collector. Using them (to learn or to make) is something different.

Fear of drowning: Tension in drawing

Drawing is one of those things — another one, anyway — that I get scared to jump into, because I keep forgetting that I know how to swim. But I’ve been looking back over my work for the Art program, and …I have had this “thing” about not wanting to be tight in my drawings.

My drawings — a lot of them, anyway — aren’t tight. Most of them aren’t what I would consider, “overworked.” And yet there is this fear of making tight and overworked drawings, likely because I’ve seen them and I’ve done them and I know they suck the pleasure out of the work. But, maybe I don’t have to fear that.

A couple of my drawing instructors would really, “admonish,” people to consistently try and work, “looser.” But I look at a bunch of my figure studies, and they’re fine. Maybe it’s because with a lot of them, I only had a 5-minute pose to work from, but a lot of it is notation of key elements.

If nothing else, I can take that away from my Figure Drawing training.

And I’m finding less hesitation about working with the human figure, now: at least, my own.

I’m thinking of taking in my Monolith graphite sticks to work tomorrow so that I can practice just drawing from life, in monochrome. Sometimes, it’s good to get back to basics.

And I still want to make a design for a linoleum block print using the flower image I mentioned a while ago. Maybe I should just use that as a jumping-off point, though, instead of trying to copy it. After all, I’m not sure there’s any more virtue in copying it than in imagining it; it might just be easier in the initial stages, when I don’t understand the forms.

That’s a good enough stopping point. It’s all I can think of, at this hour, and I have work to get to, tomorrow. I’m sure these things are very connected, but just how is something that isn’t totally clear to me, at the moment. In a few months, I bet it will be…