It’s a big shift from going from just working part-time to doing that and schoolwork on top of it. At a certain point, one does question why they’re still in school…like, why put oneself through the pressure? But as writing this has shown me, I actually have gained a lot from being educated that, I suppose, I haven’t seen the absence of in others to the possible extent it may exist.
On the Art topic? I have five days to complete what I will complete for my first portfolio in Special Projects in Drawing.
I’m in the process of finalizing a pretty beautiful mandala, and am kind of itching to post it online, once I’ve presented it. The reason I haven’t posted it yet is that I’m not certain whether what I turn in has to be work which is not yet copyrighted, or not, though as I’m the copyright holder…yeah, you can see where I’m at. Probably the only thing I would need to do to clear that up would be to log into the platform at which I published it, but I’d rather just…wait. I guess.
I also (!) just realized that instead of embarking on a third design, I can polish up the first one. With the second mandala I am in the process of making, I’ve begun to use colored pencil to alter the hues laid down from the watercolor paint in the background. It’s turned into something I never really considered or dreamed of making, though this is a good thing.
I’m thinking that both of my Painting sessions next week will be taken up with field trips. I meant to confirm today whether they would both be to the Arboretum, or whether one slot goes to the museum I visited last week (with a different class). I know we have to visit both; I’m just uncertain of the timing.
And, really…something’s been on my mind, recently.
This has largely been the, “why am I still in school,” question. Right now I have a Bachelor’s degree — after Spring I should have an Associate’s — and after that, within three years, I’ll need to obtain my Master’s (if I don’t want to repeat my original classes at Library school). I have also been working in the career workbook that I keep mentioning here — which is honestly really helping, even though I’m 10 years away from the awarding of my Bachelor’s, at this point, so I don’t have a clear idea anymore of what my specialization specialized me towards. Literary analysis? Critical thinking? Attention to detail? All of these things factored in.
What I’ve had to do as regards this is factor in all of my postsecondary schooling, not simply my “English — Creative Writing” degree. Before I was an English major, I was a Social Sciences major, specifically within Sociology, so I had to take Statistics, and there were other Soft Sciences courses in there, as well as courses that had me doing things like reading The Communist Manifesto. (This was more political than not, but then, Sociology is really very political, as it examines how the mechanisms of power constrain a society and how individual agency can morph it within those constraints. Probably because it causes people to question the structures of power, there aren’t many well-paying jobs in Sociology.) Before that, I believe that I was aiming for Geology. I was into Earth Sciences as a kid, but ducked out when I realized that the high-paying jobs in Geology were with Big Oil.
I wouldn’t say that my time in school has been wasted, though my own gains have likely taken place through understanding better the society that I live in. I think I have, and am gaining more of, a view of my society which causes me to question things like the centrality of television, and the prison-industrial complex, and politics writ large (and small). If I hadn’t tried to major in American Indian Studies (I couldn’t, it was too painful), I wouldn’t have known about all the ways the U.S. government has %#$&ed people over, and not cared that they were doing so. Then, I would not have been prepared to hear the voices of Latinx people in my own society, or prepared to have heard stories about the U.S. involvement in the politics of Latin America, which is very likely the key reason why people from the U.S. aren’t respected very much there.
I’m not even going to get into the U.S. occupation of Hawaii…I seriously have no idea why the country would find the most beautiful and pristine places on the planet and then test nuclear bombs there. It’s just really angering.
If I were going to get deeper into this, I might riff off of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and say that it’s possible that Christianity, with its belief in a paradisaical afterlife (or alternately, everlasting damnation) which is SOMEWHERE ELSE than this Earth on which we live, does not prepare people well to care for the Earth past the point at which it can be exploited for present-day gain. That is, cultures which believe that we will continue to exist upon the Earth — or not, whichever we choose to grasp — have more of a motive to care for the planet than people who think it’s a temporary holding cell to be discarded forever after this lifetime.
Okay, so yes, I am a little bit angry. I watched a good deal of A Fierce Green Fire in my Art class, today, and I know from having been around — especially having been around the jewelry community — that this stuff is real. It’s the reason that the group Ethical Metalsmiths was founded, because metal extraction, particularly gold extraction, does horrifically bad things to the environment, though other metals are implicated there, too. Particularly gold extraction, though…gods, do I even want to get into it?
It might be dangerous for me to get into it, here — but here’s a link to the organization that got me in on this. I’ll leave it there for you, with the note that it’s possible to find a lot of information on this in library subscription databases.
But yes, my work in Creative Writing and my work in the Art program are overlapping a good deal, though there is more critical thinking done in the Art classes than was required in Writing. Amazingly. I should say that Creative Writing is more like a Studio Art concentration, whereas English is more like an Art History concentration — I had to take both. Both Studio Art and Creative Writing hinge on what the author or artist brings to the table, and neither are worth much, by themselves.
What I can see happening with my current Art practice is a reinforcement of what I learned in Creative Writing, though the mediums are very different. I’m still learning idea generation and nurturing. I’m still practicing at bringing something to the stage where it can be presented with some modicum of skill. I’m still practicing freaking revision, for crying out loud. Seriously, the fields overlap. And just as there is storytelling in Creative Writing, there’s also storytelling in Art — it’s just sent and decoded differently. Art is on a much more primal level, and a much more immediate one.
Whether or not someone can read in English; if they can see, there is a chance that my message will get through. If I were a sculptor, so long as someone could touch and feel, there would be a chance that the message would get through. I can see art made by people who likely (or definitely) did not speak English, and I still feel things. You know? It feels much more democratic to me.
Though — as versus English — with Art, I do have an interest in the medium, itself. English is useful where it comes to conveying ideas within English-speaking groups (who do not have the last word on what is true about the world, let me make clear). However, I don’t have an attachment to the form of it. Art, for me — there is a kind of fascination with the form, and how the message gets across. It could be that I’ve just polished my English skills so much that it isn’t difficult for me anymore, and so the challenge isn’t there (except when I try to read Judith Butler, or something); and without the challenge, the interest wanes…though I am not certain.
What I know is that prose fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry (at least some of it; I’m not too well versed in poetry!) — they all hinge on narratives. The active element is the character on the page, in their world. The story — the narrative — of what happens to that character, and how they respond, forms the basis of interest in the story (to me, at least), and as such, it is the action of the protagonist(s) through which meaning seems to be conveyed.
Art — at least, non-sequential art — curiously, seems to divulge meanings in very different ways (and yes, very much in more than one way). This is the major reason that I’m looking at going into Fine Art or Illustration at this point, with my main job being somehow library-related. It doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on narrative fiction or on the idea of being a Graphic Novelist, but I am not sure I have the nerves to convey meaning through drama. I identify too closely with (all of) my characters (though it would only be the dullest who would suggest that I actually am them. I am actually them in the same way as I am actually you).
In contrast, conveying meaning through art draws me into a more peaceful space, as versus the agitated one I seem to get into when I try and make everything about “action,” and every action about “conflict.” Because then, what happens is that I am putting myself into imaginary conflict to make an imaginary choice that has imaginary consequences, and I have enough to deal with without engaging that engine. Seriously, I don’t know why anyone would do that to themselves; like just living doesn’t have enough problems on its own, gotta make some more.
Not to insult the authors on my list. 🙂 But I find I can’t tolerate it, at this point. Maybe others have different understandings of the dynamics which are not so harsh.
But anyhow, I’ve gotten to the age where I’ve realized that I don’t have to engage this engine, just in order to say something. And maybe, just being more direct about it is the superior option, for me. At least then, I will know what I’m doing, and why, and what my actual foe is, and why. And the battle will be real, not imagined.
I’m going for the Library Science Master’s in order to be able to obtain long-term gainful employment in a field I can believe in, though it is very apparent that it is a field that needs thinkers like myself. Without people like me within the ranks, the system will not evolve, and it will remain a middle-class white woman’s job, with the perspective of same. Which was, in fact, a large part of the reason I withdrew.
But what is the path laid out for people of color? Hey, you can be a janitor or garbage man? You can take care of my kids?
Anyone who says the caste system does not exist in the U.S. is lying. It’s just that the rules of who is in which caste are not hard and fast, and they seem to be defined by intersecting oppressions, not simply one alone.
Not surprised that the teachers and librarians are the first to be killed in a revolution.