Buying, Writing, Doing: The Triad of my Present Dilemma

It’s become increasingly apparent to me that it is much easier to purchase art supplies than it is to apply them in creative ways.  It doesn’t seem that this in any way should really be a problem for me:  I did work my way through an AA program in Art (I couldn’t justify it the first time around with my BA, nor at the Master’s level…at least, currently), so I know that there is some part of me that is creative.  I also know that I’m skilled, though as I said before, when I don’t exercise those skills, they’re hidden within me.

Unless I practice, my skill and creativity won’t have the chance to show themselves, or to develop beyond the point they are at, now.  Maybe the problem I’m facing (starting out with incipient projects) is the one faced by writers of all types (which I’m well familiar with, as my BA actually was in Creative Writing):  fear of the blank page.  Or white paper.  Basically, it’s the same thing.

What I can latch onto right now are the exercises which build increasing familiarity with my media. Right now, I am very, very drawn to water-based media (inks, acrylic inks, acrylic paints, watercolors, water-based block printing).  I have a feeling that this is majorly because I don’t like to deal with toxins when they’re unnecessary, and cleaning out watercolor brushes isn’t a big deal to me, at present.

Ah — and, I used to work more in dry media (pencils, pens, colored pencils, most apparently) — until I got tired of the tiny point of contact with the paper (give me brushes) and the graininess of most of my attempts.  (Keep in mind here that my Prismacolors were purchased well before the year 2000, so I don’t have the advantage of the smoother laydown of the new formulations, in that brand.)  In contrast, inks and paints are much more…captivating for me:  they lay down solid, (usually) unbroken, and (usually) more vivid color.

Color is something that I at one time began to organically grow into (toward the end of my stay in Community College) — and then I restarted the Library & Information Science program.  At that point, my energy focused on the goal of gaining an MLIS in order to be able to be a Librarian, so that I could have a steady income stream, hopefully benefits (though I have heard that these are increasingly being cut in Librarianship proper) and work within one of my areas of interest, while also performing a social good.  In my spare time, and with the spare resources I would gain from being an Information professional (or so I’ve heard), I have planned to work on my Art, thus bolstering my psychological resilience.

Right now…it’s hard for me to formulate or say what my point is, within LIS.  It’s where I am now, and it’s what I know, but that doesn’t really count for much of anything when I realize that I’m already at the top of my pay scale and will have to change positions soon if I want to become more efficient at earning money.

What I want to be doing right now, is helping to construct Web pages.  It’s fairly evident, even just through my experience with this blog and my drive to personalize and edit its structure.  It fits in with my other two degrees in the aspect of being production-based, but not entirely so much in the fact that it’s technical.  I presently do not have the ability to customize pages and sites.  If I keep on in the LIS program, I may eventually gain the skills, however:  and a new perspective on the experience of designing for someone else.

I have a feeling, though, that this will put me about even with the youth coming out of high school in this era — technically speaking.  Technology flows on, and keeping current with it is one of the things to which I’ve resigned myself.  Design, however, is a specialty, and requires skills and knowledge that not everyone has.  And, as has become increasingly apparent, it’s not about me or my expression (as versus Art, which seems to require drilling deeply into myself to draw out something that only I can do).

Right now I’m in a class on User Experience, which is an aspect of Design — and it’s very apparent that Design encompasses much more than the utilization of art skills.  Designing is not the same thing as producing Art, unless the person you’re designing for is you.

And writing for yourself is not the same thing as writing for someone else.

I think that if I did not have the fear of repercussions for expressing anything unique, I would have an easier time with both Art and Writing.  But I’m old enough to know that expression begets consequences.  Whether those are good or bad consequences is unknown and ultimately subjective; whether praise or hatred will prevail is yet to be seen.

This could be the reason why I have seen so many take a brash stance against this psychic wall…because if you don’t stand strongly, the force of that wall could crush your light down into a black hole.

Of course, it helps to have solid grounding and conviction in something reasonable, first.

M has expressed frustration that I have been acquiring supplies — particularly for painting — and have not progressed beyond, “little squares.”  (I’m not sure she understands how difficult the medium of watercolor is, however…)

My little squares, though they could be made in a more aesthetically pleasing manner, are doing something for me:  they’re familiarizing me with the medium.  I don’t feel comfortable jumping from having done nearly nothing into a place where I have no ground to stand on and don’t know how to kick or stroke.

Doing that, and working out my familiarization in a way in which I am likely to destroy my first five paintings (if not more), would be…almost traumatic, for me.  So I’m working on little squares.  Little squares, I can handle; and although the progression there is incremental, and likely to hit a roadblock when I try actually using the colors in application, at least it is something, and I’m learning from it.  Without something, I’m paralyzed because I’m being expected to perform as an intermediate or advanced student without having taken beginner classes.

Maybe M can move forward like that; but I’ve noticed that, in her own design work, she doesn’t think ahead.  She plunges forward and then hits a roadblock and doesn’t know where to go from there.  In contrast, I think things out much further, but then am criticized for my tentativeness and my expensive preparations and my lack of starting.

And actually, now that I’m looking at my notes, I can also see a pattern here:  and not just in the delicateness of my process and my work.

I probably write about art so much because it’s easier for me to write about art than it is for me to get up the courage to actually do it.  I’ve been writing nearly constantly, for all of my life.  Writing is familiar to me, and it’s easier for me to do this than it is for me to sit down with a paintbrush, no matter the chances of coming out with something beautiful as an end product (though maybe I will try and keep that in mind as a goal.  I have a chance of making something beautiful if I risk failure.  If I do not, I have no chance of doing the same).

Writing about work, though, is not at all equivalent to actually doing it.

I’ve got to make a number of lifestyle changes relatively soon.  Many of these — most, actually — are related to my mental and physical health.  I need to floss regularly.  I need to brush my teeth and wash my face well in advance of bedtime.  I need to avoid late nights (sugar cravings come on after 11 PM).  I need to drink more water and avoid excess sugar.  I need to shower more often, and to exercise (and stretch) more often and more regularly; and if I can, I ought to try to meditate regularly (doing all of this may allow me to reduce my medications…and drop down a few sizes).

Along with this — I wonder if it would be too much of a strain for me to try and wake up with the Sun, so I have all the hours of the day to do my work and my art, as versus doing art in the afternoon and taking photos in the late afternoon or evening (when it’s dark).  Or, less optimally, doing art at nighttime with less-than-natural light.

It’s something to think about.  Maybe tonight I can try going to bed early, instead of trying to wring all the good I can get out of the day, and see if I am able and willing to get up at, say, 7 AM tomorrow (as I tried to do, today).  And maybe if I have the art play as a lure to get me out of bed…I’ll actually do it.

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Motivation

This is just another entry in the “why be creative/do art (when it doesn’t pay),” series…which it seems I should really organize, somehow.  It would be interesting to make this blog into an actual site with indexing more sophisticated than WP’s tagging/categories system…but I don’t have the skills to do that well, at this point in time.  Soon, though:  it will be very much closer to possible.  I have the chance of learning CSS this Fall, and more than that next summer, at the latest.  I am thinking/hoping that basic HTML coding will be introduced along with CSS…it’s just that the CSS textbook was the one I saw earlier in relation to one section.

(One of the reasons I’m aiming for the Digital Services track is that even if it does become a pain to catalog and retain all of my work in order to fulfill Culminating Experience for my degree (the alternative is a Master’s Thesis), I’ll still have salable skills.  That is, outside of the Library, where it may not matter if I have the Master’s or not — so long as I can do the work.)

So, this “why do art” thing.  I was thinking up things to write about here, and the question of this came forward into consciousness.  Well…it’s an easy thing to slip into, this mode of thinking.  However…as I was actually doing the art, I realized that doing it was an end in itself.  Kind of like origami, but…well, hey, origami has practical engineering uses, for one thing; but you do this work for the sake of the work and the satisfaction of making something beautiful, and then you have all these little leftover trinkets.  Like origami.  And then it’s like, what do you do with them?  I guess you give them to others (or sell them)?

I’ve been thinking of taking my suminagashi prints and printing flowers on them (probably after I rework my flower linocut), and then cutting them apart into little prints.  I actually did this last night with my first sheet of prints (on white paper), and made a bunch of neat little 2″x 2″ tiles.  However, I realized today that I can cut them into any shape I want, meaning that I can make really nice bookmarks for my friends at the Library!

I know it sounds silly, but what person working at a Library would refuse a bookmark?  😉  Who would do that.  😀

I’ve only told one person of my plans, so far.  Happily, I didn’t have to explain to him what I was doing with the ink marbling!  I’ve also sent off a letter to my old professor, asking her about any precautions I may need to take with the Sumifactant.  Just in case, I did give myself a break from exposure, the other night.  However…TOMORROW’S A NEW DAY!!!

And I’m getting kind of obsessed with this.  That was another reason I stopped.  😉  I do have a tendency to get really strongly involved in things when I do get involved — probably the reason why I ate that book up so fast, the other night!  I’ve had a hard time finishing almost any book from the Library, and didn’t want to risk letting that one go unread.  Especially as Summer Session is about to start.

Right now, I have two other books on creativity to get through, one of which looks promising; the other of which, looks didactic.  However, the latter’s theory about a “freeze” response preceding a “fight or flight” response in the case of anxiety…was telling, and has helped me get out of stasis (and understand why one of my relatives refuses to change habits that don’t work in their favor).  I’m just not sure whether it has anything more to say, than that.

And yes, I have also been reading around on the “ink” tags on WP, and now want a Lamy Safari with a 2mm stub nib.  It seems silly, but I will be going to an upscale stationery store soon…and they may have it.  I should probably check around first, though…

Return to suminagashi

I’ve just gotten through my first suminagashi (Japanese ink marbling) attempt since…the time I first learned the technique, years ago.  It’s pretty simple, and fairly fast:  my biggest problem was not having the space to let as many prints dry as possible.  Because of this — and because I entirely forgot about my Stonehenge cotton rag hand-printing paper when in the process of prepping my papers (during which I got to play around with a mat cutter, paper, and a cutting mat [hahaha sharp things]) — I somehow avoided printing any of the Stonehenge!  Gah!  It wasn’t even on my mind!

The good part of this is that I was able to mess up on papers not nearly as precious.  As it was my first time in years doing this form of marbling, there were the inevitable prints which didn’t turn out as I liked — about five of them.  It wasn’t so bad, though:  there are at least nine prints which came out of the set which are pleasant enough to behold.  I had been planning on trying to do the “crocus” prints on top of them, though I hadn’t planned on using Wet Media and Drawing papers for that!

Beh.  (“But, ehhh.”)  Anyway.  I’m dealing with Sumifactant, Boku-Undo inks, and really cheap brushes, along with a disposable tray of the type used to cook turkeys, copy paper for interleaving, and some of my most-hated textbooks as weights.  😛  I know the Boku-Undo are non-toxic; the Sumifactant, I’m not sure about, but what I heard from Colophon Book Arts (here is their “Oriental” page) was encouraging.  Of course, though, I got the stuff…years ago.  The page says it lasts indefinitely when tightly capped.

I don’t know why it hit me tonight that, “hey!  I can do this!”  What I do know is that the sun is down and as such I won’t be able to take any appreciable photos of the prints under artificial lighting.  (Not only is the lighting in the area such that I’ll cast shadows on anything on the table [the prints are still wet], but it will cause a yellow-orange cast over everything…which is annoying to try and work out through Photoshop for every image, while still keeping colors accurate.  I’ll try to get some photos in the morning.)

I didn’t mention that when everything got pulled off of the table (long, likely irrelevant story), D didn’t notice one of my small pattern tracings (2″x 2″) for the crocus block, and so it is now…gone.  Basically.  As in it fluttered away into the ether.  I’m not too thrilled about this, but it’s easy enough to do again — it’s just that I feel like I’ll never be able to do it again in exactly the same way (but is that a goal…?).  I kind of wish I had scanned it.

The other day, I was also able to get some reading done in Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop by April Vollmer, and now have a relatively clearer idea of how to register (align) multicolor prints.  I don’t think I’ve read all the way through the section of how to carve the block and pull prints, but what I have read makes more sense when read straight through than when looked at piecemeal and out of order.  (The illustrations tend to encourage the latter approach, with me.)

I do think that it would be okay, though, to do a second crocus block without worrying about print registration (but I will want to mark which direction is “up”).  I can worry about registration when working on the gingko leaf, which is the project after this.  For one thing, working with registration implies making a key block (a block with areas of color outlined), then carving the key block, then producing multiple prints (one for each color block) on translucent paper, then pasting those prints reversed on each subsequent block (I’m thinking UHU Stic would be good for this, as it washes off with water even after it’s dry), then possibly oiling the paper, then carving through the paper and removing what’s left with water.

I kind of wish that I knew how to register prints in linoleum block printing, though:  I’m not totally positive that the technique will transfer over from mokuhanga (Japanese woodblock printing) to linocuts, particularly because I’m working with opaque inks.  What I’ve seen recommended for mokuhanga are opaque watercolors (gouache) — Holbein at that (I have these already) — but they’re applied so diluted that I don’t think the opacity is a big thing.  At least, when compared to Speedball Printing Ink, the latter is a good deal more opaque (or so I would think after having used the black ink and having felt the texture it leaves on top of the paper).  It might be, though, that I’m supposed to be printing on soaked paper, not dry paper:  something I can test, since I didn’t use any of my Stonehenge!  (And, I just realized, I do have a vat to soak these in:  the same vat I used to marble the papers, tonight.)

Which reminds me that I wanted to get back on top of learning Japanese language (nihongo).  I had just been wondering if there were guides to, or commentary on, comparisons of the different media in Japanese (I’m not sure how much material exists on this in English).  Then I realized that I’d have to be able to read kanji for that, most likely.

Well.  Motivation!

Ah ha ha.  I should be getting to sleep…

Wasting time…

…but mindfully wasting time…


Today I reacquainted myself with what has to be done over the weekend and into the future, for my classes.  I’ve decided to focus on Metadata and my Research class, as those are the two classes which actually have a graded project to turn in, before Monday.

Last night I realized something, as I recognized that I had wasted a good amount of the day in stasis.  I didn’t want to work on schoolwork, but I didn’t want to do anything else, either, or to go to bed; as best I can recall, I was bouncing between pages online, somewhat halfway-there, and trying to figure out if I had anything to write about.  I was aware that I had classwork to do, but I couldn’t bring myself to click on the link which would display my courses and the exact amount of work I would be expected to complete by Monday.

What I did do yesterday:  I did get my books organized; I did exercise; and from my realization, I allowed myself 30 minutes of time to play around with my sketching materials.  Of course, that overflowed into another 30 minutes of looking over past work, before bed.  The point I reached, though, was one of realization that I would not be any worse off by permitting myself a short and protracted time to do what I actually wanted to do, given that I then did what I should be doing for another protracted time — than I would be in wasting time online.

So I do have some drawings, now, though it’s mostly working out variants of a small…apparently simple?…design.  I say “apparently,” because there are elements in it which join up which I did not notice, at first, making the end design look like a modified Celtic knot (but with different areas emphasized and implied than the former).  In addition, when I tried deconstructing it, I got confused.  I’m still confused, quite frankly (I only spent an hour yesterday thinking about it), but if I play around with the idea more (on paper), I can probably figure out what I’m actually doing and how the design is actually working.

To get into the backstory behind my symbol obsessions — and why this symbol, in particular — would probably make me feel a bit vulnerable, although one of my past Art teachers did tell me I was in perfectly safe territory.  Right now I can say that I’m in the middle of playing with spirals, and fitting spirals into shapes other than circles (though the whole “quilling” metaphor…).

I’ve been into spirals for a while…it probably has to do with integrative work, like one thing building on a preexisting foundation, and the spiral widening as each new piece is added…like shells (which I didn’t associate with the “spiral” thing, until just now).  I’m trying to recall what state I was in when I started re-taking Art classes.  I’m not sure what level of integration I was working with.

Ah — I mentioned that word.

Yeah, I am probably not going to get into that, now.  Though there is a book that I’ve just started reading which has mentioned the possibility that creativity is a byproduct of the communication of the right and left hemispheres of the brain…and I know that portions of my mind are incredibly not integrated.  Granted, that is, that I’ve read that individual ego identity as one cohesive whole is an illusion (in all people), anyway.

And then there’s the fact that when I let one portion of my mind act through my body alone, I might as well be a different person with the same mainframe, or a disembodied soul (“potential” of the Infinite) exercising power over a living host.  Which happens to be the paradigm under which my writing makes the most sense, which is probably why I have such a tendency to trip out when I’m writing.

…hmm.

(Channeling and mediumship are things I’ve been interested in, in the past — back when I thought this was “real” and scary because of it [or maybe I should put it, “more spiritual than psychological”].  My experience feels real [even delusions, notably, seem real to the people who have them], but the ways in which it might be explained are not necessarily true.  My experience, because of its existence, does not make the paradigms which validate it more true:  it just means someone at some time, acknowledged that facet of human existence and incorporated it into the stories they told themselves and others, about the world.)

Maybe that’s what I was getting at.  Maybe I was just trying to express all of myself (“all of the Infinite”?) in my younger years, and I couldn’t do that anywhere I knew of, except within the Writing program.  (Of course, though, then I got out and wondered if I should have been an Art major, instead…or, later, a Japanese Language & Literature major…which would seem to both be selves with other desires.  Which were, obviously enough, blocked away from resources when they should not have been.)

Granted I’m talking about this now, but know that this is in fact not a clinical definition of schizophrenia.  Trust me:  I know.  I have had this conversation before.  With actual Psychiatry professionals.

I still haven’t found a way to overtly manage satisfying all parts of my brain, in a balanced manner; and, hey, maybe that’s the overarching theme of this blog?  Being both creative and rational in a society that over-values ration…(*laughs*)…

Okay, no, we don’t over-value rationality.  We overvalue mechanical thought, and lack of thought, where it makes the people easier to herd.  If we valued the trio of logic, rationality, and critical thought, politics would look a lot different; though perhaps that missing key is critical thought.

Though I would say that creativity is likely valued below rationality.  It’s certainly paid less.

In any case…I seem to have spiraled my way back to this point…and it’s fairly late, here.  I should be getting some rest…

And I should remember that I only have a little over three weeks to finish everything for school.  In less than a month, that is, I’ll be free…until Summer Session starts up.  )X

Before I go:  I tried the above method, along with timing my naps, to get up and back to homework, today.  It doesn’t work unless I have something I actually want to get up for.  The lure of doing homework doesn’t cut it…

Remembering why I’m in the LIS program

I’m being told to “do my homework,” or otherwise all my planning will be for naught…

Despite this, I am now aware that now is not quite the time to be doing homework (it is 10:45 PM, here), and going to work today reminded me of why I wanted to work in a library.  It was only a six-hour shift, but it was surprisingly pleasant — even with the babies occasionally crying.  😉  It was okay, she was really upset.  😦

I think that my vacation distanced me somewhat from the reason I’m in Library School (“LIS” = “Library & Information Science”) in the first place, and the realities of dealing with the workplace, as versus the curricula and the teachers (and the history and politics).  Knock on wood, I have been witness to very little trouble over at least the past six months — though this could be because I am now working only two days a week for 3/4 of a day, each.  (Given my workload this semester, I was overloaded at 18 hours a week of work and 30 hours a week of school.)

I am also seeing what the technical track looks like at my school, and am wondering if maybe it actually is going to be easier for me to deal with people face-to-face than online and on the phone (I don’t really envy the people trying to communicate through the phone).  I’ve been also doing some digging around job specifications…and I don’t think it has to be as hard as I’m making it.  I also don’t think that I should take “I don’t work well with people” as an axiom by which to live my life, as all that’s doing is limiting me and my choices.  Even if I do have autistic traits (not enough to be called “autistic,” though, I’ve heard) that doesn’t mean I have to define myself by what I think autism is.

My major qualm is losing motivation while I’m in school because of having an unclear and unresearched end goal.  Right now, the only places I’ve worked have been Public Libraries…which I know pretty well, and which I am getting acclimated to.  What I’ve found with the Metadata and Cataloging courses is that I probably don’t want to be a Cataloger…and maybe I don’t want to try this path again with Digital Services (i.e., try it and see if I like it:  what happens if I don’t?).  What I’ve found with my prior courses, particularly the Intellectual Freedom course and the Diversity course, is that I may very well be more aligned philosophically with the institution of Public Libraries than I thought.

In the absence of any clear better ideas…library work does seem suited to me. Maybe the variation in quality in regard to my experience of public service has more to do with that experience starting from ground zero (when I didn’t know how to set limits with people, and thus at times have had my boundaries overrun.  That is a much rarer occurrence, these days).

When the Clerk positions open up, I’m planning to get tested and hopefully get on the list to be considered for hiring, especially as I’m doing most of the job of a Library Clerk now, but am not being paid for it.  I asked my supervisor today to alert me when that happens, though I think I can get notified of this on my own.  I did this because I can recall having a dream where I was saying that I didn’t resent the work, so much as didn’t feel I was being compensated fairly for it.  (Yeah, I dream about work…when do I get a rest?  I don’t know…)

It is…pretty clear that the job I have now is preparing me to be a Library Clerk (which in turn can move up into a Library Assistant, though they are parallel paths with different skill sets and endpoints).  Clerks get paid a wage at which one may be able to support oneself; I, as an Aide, don’t.  It is the case, though, that I may not be able to take on the workload of a Clerk (I can probably do 20 hours a week, max.) while still in Library School.  But Library School should be over in two years.

I’m not certain about this — I have tonight plotted out a course which fits in everything I can take which is of the Public Library track — but I think that more Humanities/Social Science classes will be easier for me than the tech stuff, which I have wanted to do (before I started in on it and started getting some of the worst grades of my life).  Although I have wanted to do tech work, I’ve lost some confidence around that.  In particular, I find it stressing me in a different way than people-watching, stressed me.  In this case, I feel like there actually are right answers, and that derivation from that is easy to spot.  It’s also very possible that my mind does not work in a standard way, which doesn’t help me catalog in a standard way.

My program should also be built around Library service — as versus, say, Information Architecture, which they do give a specialization towards, but it’s the same class over and over again with different topics.  In contrast, the Public Library track is fairly diversified.

Once I can finally get my Driver’s License (I’m close, but not quite there yet), I will then be able to become a Library Assistant and drive around the county to fill vacancies (which is very much not what I want to be doing, but it is experience toward becoming a Librarian, and that means one step closer to financial independence).  The upshot of this is that I don’t have to work when I’m overloaded with classwork…although reading, papers, and oral presentations are things I can easily do.  Coding is something else.  It’s simple when you’ve got the framework down already…but I don’t know if I want something that simple, and the framework…well, it’s complex.

The higher jobs specific to the Library, oddly enough, also look easier than the Clerk jobs, and pay more (sometimes, much more).  I’ve realized as well that I don’t have to stay within this community, although the ones I’ve worked with have generally been pretty decent.  The surprise for me came with the prospect of working as a Librarian in Hawaii…which I believe would contain communities that I would in no way feel bad serving.

I’ve also gotten over a bit of the fear of people I had when I initially got this job…years of being treated decently (by surprise) will do that to a person, eh?

It’s now 11:30 here:  I should get some rest and try and work off this jet lag…

Notes to myself

Alright, so…a few things.

One:  I have found that planning out work to be done on each day significantly helps.  What also helps is stating to myself, “I will get X and Y done tomorrow,” as versus “I hope to get X and Y done tomorrow.”  It’s a little difference in phrasing, but it makes a large difference as to my motivation and expectations of myself.  The latter phrasing more often than not, leads me to rest in bed instead of work.

Also, while I’m on this:  when I lie down during the daytime, now, it has helped very much to set a time as to when I’ll be okay with getting back up.  Usually I don’t fall asleep, so this helps set limits on rest, which allows me permission to rest but ensures I don’t waste too much daylight.

I’ve also realized that taking notes during lecture really, really helps.  When it comes to completing Discussion Posts on, say, two out of five readings and one out of three lectures, I can actually remember the lectures pretty well, if I’ve taken notes.  (And $1.50 notebooks from the dollar store are not inferior to the $7 notebooks from the office supply store!)  What I’ve found with the reading I’ve been doing is that, I think, just highlighting the text isn’t enough.  I’m thinking that it just doesn’t get into my brain as well, when I don’t write.

When I was in high school, I’m pretty sure, I would take notes on the readings, because the books weren’t mine to mark up.  It’s the same thing I’m doing with Research Methodologies, where I don’t own my book.  The other two classes, though…hmm.  It would take more time to take notes, and it might feel extraneous, but maybe it would help with recall when I have to do things like papers.  When I’ve taken notes, it’s like I’ve written things out beforehand once, already, and so I kind of know what I read and how to regurgitate it.  (It probably doesn’t hurt that I’ve been hardcore studying for Metadata for a while, now.)

As for my position in regard to my work:  I’m caught up with Cataloging, though there could still be some work in regard to the results of that.  I haven’t seen the new lecture posted yet, either.  I’m almost entirely caught up with Metadata, though I still have a Discussion Post which I haven’t done, and I’m not sure how long ago it was that I skipped it.  …Ah…I see now.  It was during the third module, and the (long) reading was in my textbook.  And right now I’m two weeks behind in Research Methodologies, but I have a break coming up to catch up with it, so it shouldn’t be too hard to re-sync.  The only irritation there is that my book is pretty gross because it’s a rental…

Otherwise…I had been on the fence as to whether to cut my hair off or not, given the fact that the cold season is ending, here.  I had wanted to take the bulk of it off, given that it is voluminous and unruly when it’s combed out and unbound; then I took a shower and deep-conditioned it, and it’s much more manageable.  (I was actually able to crush it down for the first time in months, without it being strawlike and stiff.)  I’ve got to remember that conditioner — and wet-styling, including combing things out with my fingers and conditioner in the shower — makes a world of difference.  I may get the damaged sections cut off soon, but I think I’ll try and hold on to most of it, so that I can eventually braid it.  The braid is coming sooner rather than later, it’s a sure thing.  😉

What I am still considering is the possibility of getting bangs cut…especially given that when I try and wear a mid-level or higher ponytail, it stresses my hairline (my hair is thick, dense, and heavy).  This means that the weight of my hair is pulling on my scalp so hard that it’s hurting the follicles right above my forehead.  If I do that too often, my hairline will recede (not to say it hasn’t already minorly recessed).

I also need to start wearing earrings again, if I want to retain my piercings…

I’ve also (re)started using a prescription medication for my face, but I’m going to try using it only once every two days, and see if it still irritates me to the point that I can’t use it.

Creatively, I haven’t been able to get much done in the past couple of days, though that’s understandable, given the circumstances.  I should probably try and schedule in play periods as well as work periods and rest periods.  What I’ve been doing is basically working all day at my schoolwork, but casually, so that if M needs me to do something or if I get hungry or thirsty, I can stop what I’m doing and take care of it.  I’m…not?…entirely certain that’s the best way to go about things, though, because that can lead to guilt about doing things that I obviously don’t have to do, but which I want to do.  It’s different when I obviously can’t work, then there’s no loss in doing something else; but when I’m fully functioning and I know it may be temporary, it’s hard to get away from the obligations.

And…the issue about being unable to write fiction without triggering myself…I need to bring up with someone, because I really do want to try making a webcomic, and I don’t necessarily want to make it epic or dark.  I understand I may have little choice about that, but maybe I can try not writing about my trauma, you know.

Of course, maybe it wouldn’t be trauma if I could avoid it…

One more thing, before I forget:  I did substantially better on the last Cataloging test than I did on the assignment right before it.  Although I made a lot of errors, still, they’re minor.  I’ve found that maybe I don’t have to give up entirely on becoming a Cataloger; however, I’m going to have to teach myself what I don’t know.  As for Digital Services…to be honest, I don’t have enough data to permanently aim myself down either track, right now.  I need to see what happens over the rest of this semester.  I should remember, though, that I do have a printout where I was comparing both paths, and if things happen next semester as I’ve planned, I should be taking two classes which apply to both tracks.

I honestly don’t know how that’s going to work out.  I feel like I’m just getting a taste of things, here — and I don’t even know if I’m using the right format to archive my work — and I don’t know who to ask about it…but, well, maybe…maybe it’s OK?

It would really be nice to know what I was doing…

Organizing beads…

Well, I did make it out of the house — both to the plastics store (for styrene vials), and to the dollar store, today.  That is, the Japanese dollar store, where they (still) had the little clear plastic boxes with sliding drawers.  I’ve learned to pick these things up while they’re available, as I’ve gone back there for more of an item before (that is, a box to hold watercolor tubes), to find they’re no longer stocked.

Unfortunately, this and what followed ended up taking up the rest of the evening (although I still am really glad I was able to find bobbins for my embroidery thread — which will take perle cotton, but not in a straightforward manner), so I wasn’t really able to even get another chance to study until at least 8 PM.  I’m at the computer right now, and must have started this session around 10:30 PM.  What have I been doing in the meantime?  Reorganization.  And collocation.

What the latter means in non-library terms is that I was taking a lot of time to pull together similar items and relocate them into the same place so that I don’t have to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out where I put that ½ hank of size 8º seed beads I got three years ago.

(As mentioned in prior posts, given a bead size of Xº, the higher the number of X, the smaller the size of bead.)

And I’ve figured out that the Czech seed beads really needed to be brought together in one place, in order to be seen as available to be used.  Czech seed beads are normally sold in hanks (12 strands) or half-hanks (6 strands) or by the strand, as versus loose in tubes or bags.  Although:  the newer types of Czech shaped multihole beads, I have seen sold loose in bags (and stranded, for the larger types), and the small (8g) tubes have been becoming more popular for specialty beads, like the SuperDuos.  I also used to be able to buy 6º Czech seed beads loose in large tubes (20g?) from a local bead store, though that store no longer has a physical storefront.

(The larger Czech seed beads, as versus larger Japanese seed beads, have a relatively different shape; and as I’ve said before, the sizing between Japanese and Czech beads is definitely not identical, just taken on the whole [though Japanese beads also differ in shape between brands, even when you aren’t dealing with Delica-beads-as-versus-everything-else].  However, it’s been so long since I’ve used Czech 11ºs that I’m not entirely sure which is smaller.  I think it is that Czech 11º rounds tend to be smaller and more donut-shaped than Japanese 11º rounds, though.)

Anyhow, buying beads strung on hanks (as most of the basic, small round Czech beads are sold [or were, at least:  some of my earliest bead acquisitions were bought in this manner, prior to the year 2000 — I still have most of a hank of beautiful light topaz {I’d assume the color is light topaz} silverlined beads which must be a Czech size 10º or something — they’re not a standard size, because I didn’t know what I was doing when I bought them]) means that they’re kind of hard to store, unless you have someplace to hang them.  (Even that isn’t ideal, though, unless you don’t mind the beads getting dusty — or have a cabinet with doors for them — or use them up so fast that they don’t get a film on them [which is unlikely, unless you’re seriously manufacturing].)

With the little drawer things, I can lay the half-hanks out in flat layers and then change which beads I’m looking at by opening and closing (or removing) drawers.  I was kind of surprised that some of these hanks weren’t even stored in bags; they were just lying in a drawer or in a box somewhere, for some reason I have long since ceased to remember.

Anyhow, now I have six little clear drawer sets (I didn’t think it was overkill, but), one of which is nearly full of tiny empty vials — I’m going to need that space.  I also have a couple of craft boxes cleared out because of pulling together the perle cotton with the embroidery floss, and emptying another one of oversized vials (which are now in a translucent plastic container — so that I can see them, so that I can remember I have them, and hopefully, use them).

I should get to bed, though.  My second-to-last thought here, is whether it will ultimately be worth it to unstring bits of the hanks of Czech beads, just to make them more (psychologically) available for use.  I do have the vials to hold small amounts, after all…I’ll just need to mark the lids, “C,” or something, as versus “J.”

My last thought here is that I had to realize why it was that I was doing the beading.  I’ve got to decide whether I am doing this for myself (which I ultimately am), or doing this as a business.  If I just want to bead for myself, there’s no harm in using others’ patterns and instructions and being inspired by what’s already out there (because my ultimate goal is something other than making money, and I largely don’t have to worry about copyright infringement if I’m a hobbyist).

If I want to do this as a business, though, I’d need more experience in construction and design.  Working on other people’s patterns and altering them will likely lead to an understanding of fundamentals, but at some point it will become apparent that I actually am creating new patterns, and with those I can gain some compensation.  However, compensation is not the bottom line:  being able to sustain a beading hobby, is.

Which reminds me that I should get to bed so that I can earn some money, tomorrow…