One major thing: Do not underestimate the amount of time the required reading is going to take to read. I spent about 30 minutes during lunch today and got 12 pages into the reading, whereas 64 are required to be read by Tuesday. Gah.
I suppose as a corollary to this, do not feel bad about doing the required reading while procrastinating on your art project, because you’re going to have to read it, anyway.
I really wish I had started that reading, sooner. Now, though, at least — I have an idea of about how long it is going to take me to get through the rest of it. If I average 12 pages every half hour (24 for a full hour), and I’ve already read 12 out of my 64, that leaves 52 pages. 52/24 ≈ 2. I should be done in about two hours. I have to squeeze that in some time between Sunday and Monday (it helps that I have nothing to do on Monday).
Not so bad, eh? It just feels slow going when — surprise — I am reading an academic text, with constant references to outside sources which I haven’t read.
The other thing that has been on my mind is whether to link this blog with any craft or professional web presence. We were talking about this in my Creative Process class, last meeting. I’m already in process of cleaning up my posts on a certain social media site, in preparation for re-entry into the iSchool. Really, the only reason I am there at all is because of the iSchool. Prior to being accepted as a Master’s candidate, I really didn’t use social media (as we know it today) at all.
Right now, the only people who can see anything substantive on my Friends list are people I know face-to-face. This permits a different level of disclosure than I would have if I Friended people I know from Internet classes but have never met face-to-face (as I believe I am expected to). I just don’t want to have to go through and manually block everyone new from every old post intended for actual “Friends.”
I’ve been giving thought, though, as to whether I want this blog to be potentially openly connected to my actual identity. There’s only a limited amount of anonymity that is available in a blog like this one (where I’m posting artworks which are already connected back to me by fact of my being their maker), and if I ever became a known artist, my identity would become public, anyway. But the alternative seems to be living in a hole and not showing or writing anything. Which, then, means production which never sees the light of day and which cannot make an impact on my society except through the way in which it changes me.
Or, I become another Banksy…
There are drawbacks to letting go of relative anonymity…but there are also drawbacks to starting a professional online identity without the backdrop of my old files, followers, and Web presence. More than that, though — both art and writing are vehicles for expression, and if I’m afraid to express, I’m not going to get anywhere worth being, using either of them.
I was writing to a friend about this the other night, as well…if you know me in person, you know that I can be a difficult person to get to know intimately. I’m kind of standoffish and tentative where it comes to personal relationships, and ironically, you stand a better chance of getting to know me through what I write (and through what visual puzzles I make) than you would if I were with you — unless that “being with you” was intense. Even then, though — I tend to shut down and block others out, a very few people excepted, and I have a relatively low tolerance for being with other people. This tendency of mine doesn’t mean there’s a fault with anyone else; it just means that my level and easiest routes of engagement are different than usual.
When I was a child, though; I wrote because I felt that through the medium of text, I could express things that at the time, I felt I couldn’t say. When I started painting, it was because I had things I needed to express for which text was insufficient. Maybe it’s a kind of social deficiency that leads me to produce writing and art — I have been told that I display autistic tendencies, though not to the point of actually being “autistic.” Kind of like how most of the population displays psychotic tendencies (that is, the tendency to detach from reality [by doing things like believing in unseen and unproven phenomena] — “psychotic,” does not mean “wanting to kill people,” like many I’ve encountered [incorrectly] believe), but most would not be labeled “psychotic.”
I actually didn’t know about the autism spectrum thing until my parents told me what my doctor didn’t, but then it suddenly made sense why so many autistic people online liked what I wrote. 🙂 Right now, I’ve been told that whether I qualify for a diagnosis or not doesn’t even really matter, because at this point I don’t gain anything (like assistance which I could have gotten as a child), either way.
The thing is, though — I’ve developed in writing and art this far because of the fact that I didn’t feel I could express myself. Now that I’m fairly well into the Art, I’m finding myself being required to express myself, and getting the repercussions of that. People are actually seeing what I’m painting, and reading what I’m writing. With that, comes a lot of power (which I have had a difficult time justifying wielding, in the past — because it is not my desire to have an inadvertent negative impact on my society).
What also comes with that, is a lot of exposure. This part doesn’t seem to impact me too badly at all, given that I can enter relatively quickly into levels of disclosure which make other people uncomfortable. But for myself — this is just the way I work. Yes, I will back off if someone else gets uncomfortable with my sharing, but this just generally lets me know that they probably aren’t a good match to be anything more than an acquaintance to me at this point in time. As a writer and an artist, I’m concerned with expression; at this stage of my development, I can’t function if I’m worried about what will be too much or too deep to say.
At the same time, I’ve learned that I need time and space to process incoming information, especially if it is on the same level of intensity. I’m not sure whether it is because I denied myself this in my younger years, or if it is just because my spaces of socialization were toxic (though I lean towards the latter explanation), that led me to have a good amount of negative feedback. It really wasn’t until I began my first job that I realized that people weren’t just generally cruel. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a lot of this conditioning feeding into my wanting to be anonymous — because people being cruel to me starts at around 9 years old and just keeps persistently going on until I’m about 19 or 20 (after I left my first college, which was rather freshman-heavy on the culture side of things).
Which is: another reason I’m glad I’m not a kid anymore.
The positive thing is that I know now that most mature adults don’t do things like harass people for whatever reason they can find to do so. Kids will harass each other out of any excuse they can, but not adults. Teens will harass adults if they’re in groups and have been conditioned to think it’s OK, but won’t do so alone. Some adults will be cruel to other adults, but there is just generally something wrong with those people, and they rarely ever actually care about the person they’re harassing, more than picking on someone else to make themselves feel better. (Does anyone believe these people are actually happy?) When you work in a service occupation, you kind of get a feel for what is normal and what is not. What I got was years and years of targeting by immature people, with hardly any input from mature people — until I was about 20.
I have said this before, though not here: we really do need adult role models in schools so that kids can learn some standards of acceptable behavior (as versus the prison-like free-for-all system that was in place where — and when — I went to school).
From having communicated with people younger than myself, it seems like the social situations in school settings (especially for kids who might be seen as LGBTQIA) have gotten better over the past 10-15 years. I’m really happy for the newer kids, but at the same time there is, now, a generational divide where some of us went through hell and others of us (beneficiaries of prior activism) can’t imagine being put in a situation like that.
As time goes on, we’ll see where things head. I have a feeling that politics may influence this, particularly as we’ve got some candidates for office (in the U.S.) who are very clearly bullies. (Things got worse when Bush II was in office, as compared to the Clinton years.) And, I suppose, I have a lot more perspective on what’s going on now, than I used to. The good part is that if I work in Library Science, it’s a pretty accepting field. So is Art — perhaps more so. I haven’t given much thought to writing a book recently, but that was the first place I started thinking about having an impact on my society in secret.
And, right now — I haven’t gotten too much negative feedback, here. Some strange followers, yes, but nothing overtly threatening. Could it be that people in general are more civil than I give them credit for?