Weird dreams over the last 48 hours…

I have just been wiped out, today.  Work demands + school demands + poor time management + biology.  Speaking of which, I had another dream about going into Biology and living on my own after my Master’s was done, though this time it would have been in some kind of cognitive science (in order to complement Human-Computer Interaction work).

Somehow, though…I don’t think I would be good in Biology:  too much biohazardous and wet stuff.  But I think in the dream, I had been gaining Physics skills (I don’t know how or why — it doesn’t make sense in the broader context), but it would have made sense in light of that.

The night before, I had a rather disturbing dream which makes sense in light of Rick & Morty, Silent Hill, Attack on Titan, the Book of Enoch, and Warm Bodies:  I dreamt I had my heart, eyes, and brain removed (while I was alive/standing there) and placed into a dead body, which I then became.  (Yes, it is scary to have your heart and eyes and brain ripped out of you in a dream)

While I had superpowers (notably, I could fly), I was still a monster who was leading people around (to potentially become like I was — though I don’t know if they knew that), and seeing things no normal person would see (the graphic contents of which are too disturbing to relate, here).

It would be interesting to make that one into flash fiction.  I don’t know what the plot would center around, though.  I still don’t know the motives of the character who transferred me.  Maybe I could begin by trying to figure that out, if I do write this out.

And then today, there was another transition-related dream (related to the “disturbing” stuff I saw in the dream I just mentioned — part of which was desiring a male form)…the key point of which is that it would narrow, rather than broaden, my options.

The only reason to move forward with it, then, would be 1) to satisfy curiosity and thus know the right decision to make (after the fact, unfortunately), or 2) to understand that the narrowed options would be more comfortable for me (than broader unused options; however, I do still use these).

I was still curious about what testosterone would feel like, but — it isn’t a good idea, speaking from a waking perspective.  Health concerns make it unlikely that I would be able to stay on testosterone for life without it eventually killing me (I have family history of heart troubles).  I don’t know why I keep having these dreams, though — I’ve been having them at least since my first gender therapist retired.

It seems that there’s a parallel memory thread going on in my brain which contains dream-related memories.  Hmm.

Anyhow…I should probably do something else, right now.  While it probably wouldn’t be best to spend the time researching the stuff in the horror dream…curiosity, you know…

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Recovering back to where I was earlier:

I’ve been at my computer for a good amount of time, today.  It does require effort to juggle three classes at once; one of which, I was barely even aware of falling behind in, until I started rooting around in the Learning Management System (LMS).  Luckily, I’m only behind in the readings…also luckily, we’re less than a week into the semester, and I’ve turned in the majority of my homework.  I think what I still need to work on, is just responding to others.

I have more (hope) than a drop of sunshine that I will indeed be able to handle these three classes, plus work, art and exercise.  (If that makes sense?  Yes, I’m probably referencing one or more of my citrine crystals, which in turn reference gem lore which I’ve probably only retained subconsciously — and energetic impressions, which…well, I am highly interested in color and its emotional and mental effects, what can I say…)  Tonight, I have also been looking back through my archives, and found an entry from a while back which it might be good to “reset” to.

Recently, I’ve been working with the watercolor pencils, plus acrylic inks, fineliners, and some drawing which felt intense, even if it wasn’t.  😉  (I’ve also started to branch back into interests in sewing and embroidery, which is a relief just from being content-neutral and fiddly enough to sate my desire to manually puzzle things out.)

I’m thinking that I will be better off coloring my illustrations with watercolor, at this point, than I will be with utilizing acrylic ink.  I have finer control with the former, stemming from greater experience.  After dealing with inking and colors, I can see where I stand in regard to using the acrylic inks as a serious art medium (as versus an experimental one).  Though, of course, that will take more experiments.

But I want to get back to color studies, specifically with the watercolors.  I also have a good deal of gouache which I think will be useful…and I have recalled the lamination film I bought just to make bookmarks.  This could keep me busy.

I think maybe I’ve been spoiled on having good-quality paints…the colors in all of my paints are just seriously vibrant.  Possibly moreso, than my pencils, aquarelles, and the acrylic inks I currently have (though the last are decent — just not great).  Pencils and aquarelles are useful, don’t get me wrong — but for me the usefulness is in the portability and cleanliness.  I’m not completely certain, but I feel the chroma (color intensity) of colored pencils and aquarelles, suffers a bit in comparison to the character of paint.

I can even work with heavy-body acrylics, on canvas — I have canvas pads which are a very forgiving surface for experimentation, even though they warp with water.  I could then cut apart a composition and layer different elements together.

Not to mention that I’ve nearly entirely lost the linocutting thread that I had at the beginning of Summer.  I want to get back to that.

I’m not too hot on either of the character drawings I did a little bit ago…which is as good a reason as any to experiment on them.  I may not be planning on working on my story, but I can still play with drawings.  (I’ve also realized that I’ve hit the *ahem* “Precious Point,” I guess I’ll call it, which has stalled me out on working on either of them; a.k.a., “I don’t want to ruin it!”)

At some point, though, an image either has to develop or it has to be abandoned or finished…there’s not much point to freezing for an indefinite amount of time, until — until what, until my skills or “vision” get better? — which won’t happen if I don’t push myself to gain the experience of working through this.  The alternative is stunted growth, fear, and a bunch of half-finished (or barely-begun) drawings.

I’ll need to have some practice at drawing, inking, and coloring, in order to deal with this at all in the future, as well.  So there’s really no point to giving up illustration — even if it is difficult for me to develop, in words, the story which the illustrations support.

I think I’m ready to try and get some sleep, now.  It shouldn’t be too hard…

Prioritization of activities

Well, school has officially started.  I also have done what I think I would need to do, in order to get a better job in my same organization.  Everything has been done; I’m just waiting to see my ranking.  I am not sure what I would need to do in order to handle both a Library Assistant position and 9 units of classwork, at the same time…

Let’s just say that it would be a life transition.  Life can’t all be studying and Summer vacations, that is.

In light of my awareness of the relative preciousness of time which I see looming…I’ve been thinking about what “hobbies” I would cut out, if I had the need to.  Right now I have a number of interests, running synchronously:

  • Reading
  • Creative Writing
  • Sequential Art
  • Fine Art
  • Japanese language study
  • Blogging

…and I think I’ve pinpointed Creative Writing and Sequential Art as the tasks which require the most study, effort, time, and (dare I say it) stress, out of all of these.

As I head deeper into the Master’s program, I find it evident that it is training me to reach for study as second-nature.  Over the Summer, for example:  when I wasn’t chipping away at my UX class, it was easier (and a bit more productive) to study Japanese language, than it was to work at Art.  I think there’s just some structure there which helps me.

At the same time as I’ve wanted to work on my own stories, as well, I’ve found that it’s very hard for me to do this, having been divorced from reading-for-pleasure for as long as I have been.  I’m not kidding when I say that it’s hard for me to get into a book which — for one thing — I am aware has (usually) been totally constructed by one mind, often for the purpose of bolstering that mind’s own convictions…

…or maybe I was exposed to too many Classics, and too much of my own stuff, in tandem with a heaping dose of Psychiatry, I don’t know…

The takeaway for me from this is, though, that I’m not as interested in fiction as I once was.  When I was a youth, I felt that I survived in order to write.  But now, I look back on that 23-year-old and I see someone who was almost in shambles from illness, and who needed something to hold onto in order to keep going at all.  And the only thing to hold on to was what I created, myself.

At that time, maybe a semi-mystical life purpose was necessary; is it now, though?

Or maybe more to the point:  there is more than one way to create, and more than one way to tell a story.  And maybe…it may be that I’m not ready to tell this story, yet.  (Or maybe, I’m outgrowing this story.)

In any case, I do think that I retain the skill of persuasive storytelling; but I am not sure that now — as I’m in the middle of a Master’s program and in the middle of becoming independent — is the right time for me to be embroiled in learning even more about things that have no application save in religion, spirituality, and anthropology.  That stuff could have saved my life when I was 23; but right now it’s an incredibly indirect way for me to better my situation.

What is a much more direct way for me to help myself is to get through these next two years of school; to get more and better job skills; and to figure out where it is I want to be going, in my life.  The last reason is why I’m deciding to cut out the fiction writing, but not the art.  Creative Writing has the tendency to be detrimental to my health, but Art tends to improve it.  I’m not entirely sure why the latter may be, but I know the former has to do with cementing inaccurate ideas about the world which were formed in my childhood, in my own little nightmarish sandbox.

On the other hand, writing in a manner like this — on the blog — does help me.  I can be more objective, here.  And I really do enjoy learning Japanese language.  I’m not entirely sure why, but it helps…and I want to be able to read stories and books (etc.) from outside the confines of English.  I just am not positive in any respect that works in English are what I want to emulate:  they’re just what I’ve been exposed to, thus far (not counting translations, though even there, editing occurs).

I also really want to be reading, though I find my drive to read more rewarded when I’m reading non-fiction — like, say, texts on Art History.  It’s a given that I’ll have to read, in my grad program.  But if I’m reading…I like to at least get something out of it, like new understanding, or new skills.  Something.  It’s likely a reason I’ve enjoyed World History, so much.

In any case, I do hope to keep up the blogging, because without it I lose track of what I’m currently doing, and what I’ve done — and what I have to do.  I also want to keep up the Japanese language study.  I want to read more, and I want to continue on with the Art (though I may go back to mandalas with this; I’m not even kidding).  And of course, I’ve got to deal with my job, my schooling, driving and cooking (though my parents help with the latter two).

Aside from this…well, I think this is enough to hold in my mind, this semester.  I’m just hoping it will not still be too much…

Meditation

The heat still radiated out from the walls, although the sun had ceased to blaze about an hour ago.  Lee could feel the sweat sticking to her, evaporating all too slowly.

But how are you going to do it? she thought.

It amused her:  she worked surrounded by books, with the ability every day to take home a new writing, and yet something had stopped her from even opening anything that wasn’t based in reality.

Nearly every day, she tried to write, and even then found herself avoiding what she had once been happy to resign herself to, as life’s work.

Somewhere, buried under mountains of excuses, fears, and projections, lay the reason why.  But she didn’t know it, couldn’t see it.  There was too much in the way.

I have to open up if I want to be creativeWithout it, my work will suffer.

How many generations of artists had lived through eras of their work being constricted by the pressures of the market?  For how many years had Lee lived with the spectre of her own…shall we say…mental irregularities?

She hesitated to call herself “insane.”  Insanity was a legal term.  It meant a person couldn’t tell right from wrong.  She wasn’t insane in that sense.  But her fear,

if I let them see who I am, I’ll just show the world I am insane,

that stopped her.  Over the years it was possible to learn how to blend in, how not to frighten people by being too friendly, how to avoid glares as a reward for eye contact.

Even the word for it — schizophrenic

The vast majority of people, even educated people…even her professors — didn’t know what it meant.  They had a tendency to link the term with multiple personalities, which was not even close to what she meant when she used the term in a clinical (not pejorative) sense.

So she just didn’t use it.

Due to complications, she couldn’t even say, though, that when people did use the term wrongly, based in 19th-century dogma, that they used it inaccurately.  No one’s mind is wholeSo why am I so scared of opening the door to…that?

I’ve stood here, watching you, every day…writing these things out.  Have you forgotten your primary purpose?  Since you have gained to fortitude to begin to live, your fear has overwhelmed you.

Because now my employment depends on…

depends on appearing “normal?”  That’s why you chose the field you did.  You know it is normal within the arts and within letters not to be “normal.”

But I don’t know if I’ll stay,

You are not trapped.  Believe me when I say that I hear you where you fear becoming another like the ones you try to separate yourself from.  But you are not them.  You have not reached the point of spewing diatribes from upturned cartons on the sidewalk.  And I know a thinner line than you would like, divides you from those you smell before you see.  But you have care.  They don’t.

Then what separates us?

Lee looked over her shoulder at the dimming twilight.

I’ve never been hospitalized.  I’ve never been homeless.  I have access to medication and mental health facilities.

I don’t want to be hospitalized.  I don’t want to be homeless.  I don’t want to lose access to medication and mental health facilities.

This world was not made for me.

But you live here.  And if you want to be an artist — no.  If you want to make an impact on the world, you have got to face the idea that people will come to know you.  I know you’ve been hurt in the past, but you’re no longer a child.

I only live among children.

Listen to me.  Which part of you/I/us are you talking from, now?

STOP BEING CONTROLLED BY FEAR AND DO YOUR DUTY.

can you live fearlessly?

Just me, bein’ strange…(TW: religion)

Ah, hello.  If you’ll excuse me for breaking out of character…or into it, as the case may be (voice? what voice? I have to have a ‘voice?’)…I might as well tell you that this is a “creative writing opportunity” during which I get to “be myself” for the first time in months.  But I’m not too practiced at it, at this point, so I hope you can forgive any lapses in cognition.  (and voice.)

This post follows an old pattern established on our side:  other voices step in to say what our original voice feels s/he cannot.  (This used to happen a lot; our previous author has mentioned being largely silent as a child…I was one of the first voices s/he developed with the necessary aggression to speak things others may not like to hear.  I essentially was the identity with the “egg tooth” which enabled us to “hatch.”)  I may clarify what the previous post was actually about.  It has to do with me in specific.

During the amount of time when we were a very young adult, there was a period of time when…we were studying the paranormal, and a large number of alternative religions.  At the time, this person was feeling very outcast, like they may not live much longer (it was a constant battle to avoid contemplating throwing ourselves off the roof of our 5-story dorm), and as such there was nothing to stop him/her from investigating things which someone with a higher “honor” status would never touch.  That was, we had nothing to lose but our lives, and that seemed as though it would be gone sooner rather than later, anyway.

I feel like I — or we (the pronoun issue is so trying) — are coming to a better understanding of one of these alternative religions.  I really don’t know what has happened within the last 24-48 hours, but what we learned from a daemonolatry enclave has started to make sense.  At first it was easier to investigate Satanism (isn’t it always?), though within that specific subculture (Satanism, that is) there is a great deal of ego which usually isn’t pleasant to deal with.

I should clarify:  there are at least two kinds of Satanism, more if you get into really studying cultures and the niches people have carved out for themselves online.  What I’ve understood to be the more popular of the two is called “Atheistic Satanism,” or “LaVeyan Satanism,” (although here there is a split between the Church of Satan — which LaVey founded — and the First Church of Satan, which one of his students [John Dewey Allee] founded:  and if I’m correct, at a later date).  Despite the name…the official belief in the Church of Satan is that “Satan,” as a supernatural being, does not exist.  I quipped long ago that this is the reason Anton Szandor LaVey (the founder) lived as long as he did (this is the guy associated with the infamous “Black House” in San Francisco…though I don’t know if that place is still standing — I remember hearing something about it in the late ’90’s, but that’s all).

The other major form of Satanism is one in which there is an overarching belief in a metaphysically real “Satan,” though I have found…that the name doesn’t necessarily fit the station of this deity.  Using the term “Satan” immediately references the deity against a Judeo-Christian/Islamic framework (referenced from within Satanism as an “Abrahamic” framework).  While that is the present dominant paradigm…and would demonize this form of, “Satanism,” for being a challenger to it at all…I don’t feel it does the religion justice to name it what its enemies would call it.

It’s like continuing to call Native Americans (etc.), “Indians,” long after the argument has been ground into the dirt that Columbus didn’t know where he was going and didn’t know where he had landed.  We get it.  Everybody gets it.  But we still keep calling American Indigenous/First Nations, etc., people “Indians,” and every time someone says “Indian,” it means we have to ask for clarification as to what they mean, because the term has been historically applied to distinctly different cultural sets of people (neither of which are homogeneous) located on opposite sides of the globe.

Of course, though, calling “Satanists” by said term can bring out the worst in people, which — may have been a reason for Atheistic Satanism to exist in the first place (to show others their flaws, that is).  Overall, though, Theistic Satanists — in my experience — do just want to live as they are and be safe and unmolested (like, pretty much, everyone else).

Anyhow.

There have been a number of differing names for this variant, depending on which school or cult (yes, some of these legitimately fall into “cult” territory, and not the benign type) one is dealing with.  I generally use the term “Theistic Satanism,” as it’s one whose provenance I’m already familiar with.  The subtext is much different, depending on what name one uses, here.

The problem, majorly, is that Atheistic Satanists and Theistic Satanists are different types of people.  Most people enter the Satanist “scene” through LaVey’s writings:  and to be clear, from what I can tell, LaVey just wanted to make a statement that he was against whatever the mainstream liked (“Satan” = “Adversary”)…which means that today we still get people who want to claim self-sufficiency and ultimate individuality (a reversal of interdependence and selflessness) whose clothes came from Vietnam.  Some of the ways these things work out just do not make sense.  In addition, reversing valuation on everything (besides hinting at possible Oppositional Defiant Disorder) is a really easy way to make yourself emotionally sick.  Some psychological ways of being have endured for millennia because they work.

On top of this, during the time Atheistic Satanism was founded/in the news (I am thinking this was the 1970’s?), the dominant culture was far-Left (Hippie); which means that LaVey’s writings tend to the extreme Right.  Which means that then we get this huge influx of people who identify with LaVey’s vision who are conservative to a concerning degree (I guess he didn’t mind people conforming to his brand of rebellion?).

I don’t believe that there has been a form of Satanism which has not been profoundly impacted by LaVeyan influence.  The exceptions being things related to the key term, but more difficult to find; such as hereditary Daemonolatry sects.  I’ve heard it said as regards the latter that “all Demonolators are Satanists, but not all Satanists are Demonolators.”  There is a subtle difference here between Daemonolatry and (Theistic) Satanism, in that one approach is essentially building a relationship with lesser Divine spirits (approaching polytheism, though not necessarily technically so), and the other is focused largely upon one Deity (in this case, “Satan”).

Of course, I am telling you this now, but…please for the love of all that is holy, do not take it as permission to go and dabble with Daemons.  To unknown people and to people who mistreat them or don’t respect them, the Daemons can be harsh.  (I am not going to get into why I feel this way; that’s not my story to tell.  However, my sense is that they live on a different order than us, and as such, our [short, fragile, time-bound] lives are not as important to them as they are to us.)

What I’ve seen proposed before is the idea that “Satan” is the All and that the various Demons are facets of the All.  This didn’t really make sense to me until I realized that what I had been talking about:  the Infinite (really infinite potential, corresponding to Yin, I now recognize) may have branches which relate to various concepts.  At any one time, at least one of these branches of the Divine is working through a person (I would think; then there is my experience of feeling empty).

In contrast, the Demiurge (false God) would then not be the true God because of being delimited by descriptions.  And yes, I did just get into Gnosticism…which may have something to do with mystical Judaism (I’m thinking of Qabalah).  (And no, that is not a misspelling of Kabbalah; Qabalah is how it is spelled in Ceremonial Magick circles — distinct from Hebrew tradition.  No, I don’t know if I trust the Ceremonial Magickians more.  Yes, that is an alternative spelling of “magic.”  Look up Aleister Crowley if you’re wondering why I’m using it.)

That is interesting, though.  Infinite potential reading as Yin…and reading as something which is qualitatively similar to (but not equivalent to) the All.

If “Satan” is Infinite potential (Yin) and the Daemons are his aspects, what is Satan being defined against (Yang)?  “Finite being?”

That…actually sounds as though I may have hit upon something.

I think I’ve done my job, for tonight…

Reflexive creativity

I am obviously not being creative enough, because last night I got the urge to do something I haven’t done in a long time:  I attempted to visit a forum which caters (or catered — it’s now mostly abandoned) to people with marginalized and controversial identities.  Then I realized that I was falling back into the pattern of reflexive creativity (that is, turning my creativity back upon myself, as happens when I don’t use my external creative outlets [drawing, painting, writing, beadwork, jewelry] enough), and instead of writing about what I wanted to write about online (where negative attention would be much more likely than positive attention, and may make my online surroundings unsafe), I went back to one of my paper journals.  Particularly, the identity journal…which I hadn’t used for about a year.

With things going the way they are now, it will likely be safer for me to do this when these urges come up, instead of publishing under any unique user account like WordPress or Facebook.  It will also be easier to keep things straight where it comes to my particular perspective (that is, I won’t have to play along with the groundrules as I basically had to, when I was dealing with talking about this in groups [for the sake of inclusion] — thing is, without the groundrules, it sounds a lot more sane, and can probably progress much further than it was originally taken).

Part of what prompted this was some input I’ve been getting from a blogger or two on WordPress.  Nothing direct, just indirect, “it’s OK to think and say things others wouldn’t,” type of support.  I don’t feel safe enough to do that in public, let alone connected with a traceable identity, but then I realized that paper journals preceded blogs and may be superior to them in at least one sense, which is privacy.

I could only stand writing for about twenty minutes, last night…then, I think, I lost sight of what I had originally intended to write (I need to make a habit of making quick notes when I start…how am I supposed to remember why I started writing when I’m off on my third tangent), or I had encompassed the reason I started to write, and reached a natural breaking point.  The second sense in which paper journals feel superior to blogs (to me) is in the ease of drawing and easily adding visual input and notation into their pages.  It isn’t as easy with a lined journal, but I looked into my art journal after having written the entry in my identity journal.

I was…seriously…that stuff still blows me away.  It’s like, how can I have this talent and not be using it (and the answer is that I want to use it for good, not evil, therefore my options are limited and I need to find a secondary route of employment).

In addition, I have the seed of a story (at least its beginning) in the art journal, and was reminded of it when I looked over it again.  In turn, I had been building up to that seed, for years.

It seems that when I’m either 1) off medication, or 2) in an active phase of illness, I’m much more creative than I am when I’m stable.  I don’t really know what lies behind that — if it’s an impetus thing (something, for some reason, causing me to work things out creatively), or a coping thing (whether I’m really coping with the outside world or with some distortion of it which my imagination has made), or a brain-chemistry thing…I really just don’t know.  I know that it’s generally harder for me to function in society when I’m less-medicated, but then I gain the ability to shift back toward a generative stance where my thinking is more free than seems to be tolerated…at least, online.

Anyhow, I also asked someone today for help with finding books on creativity where someone could be trying to write, but something like trauma keeps coming up every time they try to.  Yes, there are a couple of designations in the Dewey Decimal system for that!  (I figured that if there was a cookbook specifically on seaweeds, then maybe there was a chance that there was a book on being creative while mentally ill, and how to do it without making things worse.)

I’ve basically been avoiding creative writing for a really long time…since I graduated with the degree, I think.  I had noticed that since I began the second medication I’m still on, writing was much harder for me; my mind just got a lot quieter.  In addition, and I’ve said this before, it engages part of my brain which makes up what it sees to be the most likely scenario for a given incomplete data set, which doesn’t help me in real life.  Mostly because my core beliefs are skewed because of years of peer abuse, and then the illness that kicked in (probably because of the abuse), magnifies that.

Because of this, I’ve been thinking about Dialectical Behavior Therapy…which doesn’t sound fun, but does sound as though it could help me function better…and maybe get off of some of these medications (particularly the ones which aren’t related to anxiety, though it would be a trip if I could lower that one, too).  …Though I am not sure I would still be functional off of the medication which quieted my brain:  it takes care of multiple symptom classes.

I’m trying to think of how long I lived with overt symptoms without recognizing them or treating them with meds…I really can’t remember how old I was when I began, but I had to have been at my latter University in undergraduate work.  My memories from that time (of noticing my brain working differently) are from inside college classrooms…and I know that my judgment was flawed before then (although I couldn’t tell, at the time [actually coming to recognize that I had substantial cognitive impairments took about 10 years down the line…or it felt like that]).

It would probably be clear from the above, but I just realize now that I only implied that I would like to write, again:  I didn’t actually say it.  (Show, not Tell?)

Ya huh.  In any case, one of the books we found at the Library, I already own, so I can take a look in there…and see if I’ve read it already.  My ultimate goal would be to be able to write creatively again without making myself sick, in the process…

understimulation…

Well, I’m kind of getting sick of not being productive.  Generally, I use my blog entries to map this; but it seems I can’t write often enough and deeply enough to satisfy my need to see my own thoughts expressed.  I wasn’t always like this.

I can see this starting out when I underwent my first attempt to write a novel in high school…recently, it’s been more reinforced by my having been in the Art program and expected to produce.  Granted I have been out of the Art program for a semester, but it’s only been one semester, contrasted with the four recent semesters where I needed to create in order to stay functional in the program.

And prior to that, the stimulus was the Creative Writing program, also a production program…which I am not sure is an entirely functional bet for me to put my energies into, at this point (I think I’ve mentioned before the fact that designing narratives and drama and writing them out tend to stress me.  It just doesn’t get me out of my own cerebral mess, probably not least because I have difficulty telling “fantasy” apart from “reality”; my narratives tend to weave these together in a way that trips me out, and personally resonate with me to the point that it’s difficult to continue working on the project).

As regards the art…I think I have reached a point of impasse where I need to consciously decide what I’m going to do.  Most of what I’ve been doing very recently has either been reading (what was important and left over from last semester), looking up things to understand the reading (the last two readings have generated at least eight new links), checking in books (one of the optional lectures from last semester has turned me on to two new books), and doing the career analysis-type stuff.  This is along with prep work for my vocational program…which is going amazingly well, though I probably shouldn’t say too much about that.

Accordingly, the creative energies have taken a bit of a back seat, particularly as I’ve realized that intellectual stimulation will also (like art) keep me out of the self-analysis abyss.  (By this I mean that I tend to analyze my own situation to the point that I may or may not realize that I’m operating with a limited amount of data which lead me to inaccurate conclusions as regard myself and my position in the world, because of one or more hidden information needs.)  In turn this has me questioning exactly what role I want or need art to take in my life.

It’s unquestioned that it’s something I enjoy doing; whereas the lure of reading — or writing a hard-copy version of a reflection on yesterday — was not enough to get me out of bed, today.  It’s also unquestioned that art is difficult (especially in light of the anxiety which causes me to worry about toxin exposure, not to mention my ongoing struggle with perfectionism) and that I’m not sure if it ever stops being difficult.  Maybe I don’t celebrate it enough when I’ve made something that fulfills me?  Maybe celebrating it too much causes me to worry I won’t be able to attain that level again?  I’m not sure.

In addition, I am also now on the lookout for meaning in my art, and in the art that I view.  In my best pieces, I can see it…then there are the exercises which can just turn silly, like when my Watercolor professor had us paint a toilet paper roll to teach us how to work cylinders.  I am not sure where the line is drawn between “practice,” and “communication,” and I’m not sure “practice,” is worth it, without “communication.”  The major issue is that the communication arises through practice.  The thoughts and patterns which need to arise and may become visible, may not be visible without creative play.  That is, intentionality comes in at a distant second to intuition…the latter of which will show me things I have been thinking and not know that I have been thinking.

But then, how to start out in practice without a clear subject matter?  I certainly don’t want to be painting bowls of fruit for the rest of my life…though maybe I just need to stop judging the bowls of fruit?

Maybe I can go through my archives tonight and try and figure out what strikes me, and why.  Or I can try doing random doodles on the sketch pad that is on my altar table for this reason…