Revisions and new possibilities

About an hour ago, I completed a paper for Collection Development. Five pages of content, two of references, and a title page. I was seriously just happy that I got it in a half-hour before midnight.

Oh — and that I was just barely under the maximum word count!

It would be nice if I were able to deal with my ePortfolio, now that I’m back in the world of the living. I really, seriously, need to get over my intimidation on it and just start writing stuff out. It won’t get written if I don’t write it, that is.

The driving factor here, is time. I have two months left to get this done, and the more I don’t work on it, the more it’s going to feel like I’m taking three or more classes, towards the end of those two months.

Realistically, I need to submit an average of at least two essays a week — probably more, now that I’ve wasted two weeks being sick, and catching up on work I didn’t do while I was sick. But I’m only taking one other class; I have time if I have motivation.

The big thing about it is getting back into an academic mode, as versus a vacation mode. The good thing about being in Collection Development concurrently is that the second class is structured, and forces me to get out of bed and engage.

I’ve just taken a look at my ePortfolio, and I’ve realized that any foundational work that I can get done on any Competency, will be good. This is because it makes things vastly less intimidating when I’m not looking at a blank form. And I can always update and edit work that is there.

The other thing that has happened is that I’m using one of my memberships which I have heretofore ignored. It’s encouraging the direction of my energy towards Librarianship, though it also can be a time sink: I spent two days authoring something to help someone. That’s time I could have used, working on my ePortfolio. But it did help. It really helped me, too.

I have realized that I would be a very good fit for a Public (or Academic) Library position. One of my papers is on the intersections of Social Justice, Civil Rights, and Intersectional Feminism, and I found myself shifting back into that mode and speaking on diversity issues. Now I’m involved. πŸ™‚ Ruh-roh. πŸ˜‰

I have realized, however: I’m a very good candidate as a Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, or American Studies scholar, as versus or in addition to having possibilities towards Japanese-language/-diaspora Special Collections, and the possibility of becoming an Art Librarian. I’m thinking, though, that Gender Studies…might be more interesting, and might help the world, more. And I’m not convinced that I need to go back to my alma mater for it.

I still remember someone there saying that I couldn’t have an opinion on gender identity unless I had read Foucault, first. Which is just elitist hogwash. I kind of know something about gender identity, from, you know, having engaged with and lived the problem. Did he? (On that note, I probably don’t even need a degree in Gender Studies to be knowledgeable in the field. I’ve done Master’s level research. I’m in Library Science. I’ve written papers. I have some knowledge of Social Science. I have a grounding in Feminism. My fundamental grasp of the topic is apparent. I can deal with it.)

In comparison…the Web Design stuff is looking unimportant. Weirdly. Though right now I would likely have to work in either general Reference or Technical Services, given my skill set. I want to and may need to extend my reach deeper into Information Organization, however. That includes re-taking Cataloging.

Coming up…I will very shortly have an interview with a Collection Manager, and I need to read Chapter 4 in preparation for that (and I have been advised to read it more than once)…though this week’s Module just now opened up. Chapter 4 is just 30 pages, though — not a problem. I could get the first run-through done tomorrow, if I needed to.

I’m still waiting to hear back from my contact, though; I’m not even sure this will follow through. I might have to interview someone in a different system. Maybe I should get the contact information of an alternate person, from work.

Speaking of which, I’ve gotta be there in the morning. Maybe I should get some sleep and stop running myself into the ground. πŸ™‚

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Dividing sick time.

I seriously just want to get back to studying Japanese language!

I did watch this week’s lecture, today…though not much else has gotten done besides my helping M with her homework, and refilling my fountain pen. And, yeah, eating, sleeping, drinking water, and blowing my nose.

I did realize that the Maruman Sept Couleur notebook I have is excellent for use with the Pilot Metropolitan (fountain pen) with Iroshizuku ink. Didn’t know it, though, until writing kana in it for M, and seeing the thick/thin lines that I was able to form with the nib (I’m using a Fine nib — I got this to be able to practice kana and kanji with something special). It’s something that hasn’t shown up on other papers, including the Kyokuto Expedient notebook I have.

Maybe it’s a sign that it needs to be cleaned? Maybe I’m breaking it in? Maybe I’m holding it at a different angle? I don’t know. πŸ™‚ The variation in color, line width, and the feel when writing is different, though. I can actually tell what the pen’s orientation is when I’m using the Maruman, which I can’t, with the Kyokuto. The Kyokuto’s paper just feels more yielding. (This, in turn, is making me want to go back to my art, but I’ve been too sick to do much for the last couple of days.)

I’ve recently been enabled to post from bed now, though, and that’s the only reason I can get this out to you all. I should really be asleep, but I’m thinking there’s no chance of my being well enough to go in to work tomorrow, anyway. I’m aware they’ll likely need me; I’m also aware that I’ll need to sleep and that going in to work means I’ll probably expose others to whatever I’m battling, and possibly pick up a few more bugs while I’m at it. I DO NOT need to get pneumonia in an era of drug-resistant bacteria. (Neither does anyone else.)

I think I’m eight pages away from being done with the chapter reading for this week (which I’ve got to get in by Monday night); I still have three other readings and an assignment to do, there. I’ll also have to get up the nerve to touch my ePortfolio, though I suppose I should remember that I don’t actually have to turn in what I write in my first draft!

The weekend will be good for this, though. Tuesday through Thursday were pretty shot, for me (although it was more of a slow bleed, after the possible food poisoning Tuesday night, whatever happened on Wednesday [I believe this was going in to work sick], sleeping nearly all day yesterday and sleeping nearly all day today). Come to think of it, I had work Tuesday morning. I had no free time, then. And I may have started to get sick on Monday night, when I went to bed with my hair damp.

I don’t know what I was doing, Monday. I was probably watching people rush to get their homework in (or adding on to my own work for Collection Development).

Actually, now that I look — I was starting a plan for my ePortfolio Conclusion (particularly the part about plans after graduation). It took a few days of thought, but I have what appears to be a solid plan, and can now write that section in a somewhat prepared manner.

I also have three other sections I can deal with (FINISH) in the coming days. When will I do it?

I am not sure, but I have no set due date for this project. I just know that it’s better to get it done earlier, rather than later. I would write out a plan, but I know that I’m not going to stick to it, and that it’s going to worry me for the rest of the semester.

That sounds kind of fatalist.

I might get the nerve to crunch out a plan, over the weekend. The major problem is that all of this lies ahead of me; I don’t know right now how long any of it is going to take. Which is a reason to work on it as much as possible, now.

The curse of having scruples…will I eventually become a librarian specializing in Japanese language?

One more day, down. Instead of reading in my sashiko book at lunch, I ended up doing some research on the path of Web Design, and to what extent Web Design includes or implies Marketing work. I did this at work because I have little chance of infecting the work computers, whereas I want my home computer to continue to function!

I found a lot about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which I would need to pay attention to if I became a Web Designer (and wanted to stay one).

However, the upshot for me is that it appears Digital Marketing is not the same thing as Web Design. And Web Design is a subset of Web Development, but also not exactly the same thing.

I started doing research on this because I realized that the idea that Web Design would have me doing Marketing work was just an assumption…so I decided to test it.

The bright side is that my assumption seems to be false. The other side — but one which I’d have to deal with in any job — is that I may not agree with my clients or with what I am helping them sell. Integrity is a major issue, with me, and it’s a reason I’m in my current Library job — and not working for a for-profit institution. Not that working for profit is necessarily bad, but I’m thinking there is likely a different way of thinking about what we’re doing, and why.

It’s one thing to build collections which respond to the needs of the community (thus enabling them to educate themselves and act on that education, knowing full well that their journey is their own); it’s another to manipulate people into doing something. The latter may not be much of an issue with sales, where someone is actually looking to spend money; however, it would be an issue with what that firm I’d be helping, does with the money they would gain because of my help, and it would be a major issue in political arenas.

I don’t know if that counts as a holistic, systemic or ecological view…but I doubt I’ll lose it.

I also think that it’s a really good idea to learn Japanese language and go into a library which has Asian Languages special collections. It’s closer and likely more…I don’t know, satisfying, I think, than going through the trouble of an Art program would be, for me.

On top of this, I could deal with helping manage a Library website (which is something I can get behind and [mostly] authentically support). That would give me training in supporting a Web project…which, if I’m being honest, I mostly want skills in so that I can build awesome(r) stuff online. Doing it as the main part of my job is something else.

I had to get my priorities and future pathway straight in my mind before I could work really hard on my ePortfolio. I was asked to think about my end point, and am feeling much more secure in that, now. So I want to learn Japanese language, possibly go for a Japanese Languages and Literatures MA or PhD, and become a Japanese Collections specialist! Awesome!

I mean seriously, that would be totally sweet…the thing is, I’d probably end up being an Academic Librarian with this path, or a Public Librarian in a place with a large Japanese-reading or -diasporic population…hmm.

(I could also work at a Japanese bookstore…or, eventually, as a book translator…)

Too many thoughts…

I’ve been going through backposts…and pondering what I have to do.Β  Classes restart in a few days, and I need to (re)start assembling my portfolio for graduation. I need to clean my office and pick up a notebook for Summer (tomorrow). I’m not sure yet if I’ll need another jump drive, or if I can recycle one — or how many of them are corrupted, for that matter.

A new shift at work has cropped up, but I’m not certain I should take it on at this point. I think right now I’m staffing 15 hours; 19 is the most I can legally cover. The class I’m taking for Summer is one unit over one month…I’m honestly not sure how much work that’s going to entail. Normally, it would be three hours a week if it were a full-length class, but somehow I don’t think it’s going to be that easy.

I’ve also been looking around, and have realized that a higher-paying Aide position or a Library Assistant position is the next logical step up, for me — if I want to ease (as versus leap) into Librarianship. Looking for a new job in earnest doesn’t have to start until next year, after graduation.

I need to keep building the portfolio to graduate, foremost in my mind. (I can figure out employment after I actually have the degree.) That means cataloging some classes, likely producing some local HTML to map out what I might want to include, and starting to categorize and weigh evidence.

And my Learning Management System is being a butt. I’m glad I’m about to graduate.

As for things I want but don’t have to do…I’m thinking about picking up some flowers to draw and/or paint from life, possibly with gouache — just to see what it looks like. I also have the toile for the field pants going; easy to work on. Both of these may be a bit scary (but rewarding), though.

I’ve decided to hold steady at 14 gauge (14g) for my earrings, although I did lose — and find — one for the first time, yesterday. (I’m still under 12g.) I’m not sure if this means I should get new 14g earrings plus some clear O-rings, or what. But I’m back to captive-ball rings, for now, because they can’t fall out. I’m not entirely sure how my piercings loosened up, but I’m about to blame sleeping with my earrings in, plus maturity of the piercings.

Also…because I’m working more, that’s helping with some of the cost of this. I did almost forget to mention that I recently found three books on Japanese aesthetics, none of which I’ve delved deeply into, yet. But if I get too intimidated to paint or sew, I can read. Reading’s easy.

I also recently looked back into my PHP book. You know. The one I forgot I had.

There’s got to be some way to organize this that makes sense, but I’m not sure what it is, yet.

 

(Im-)perfection, planning, and process

I sat down today with the idea of writing on my own creative process. This is more for me than it is for anyone else, but I’ll try and make it so that others can follow along.

Part of the reason for doing a Final project on Zen and Art, this last semester, was that I had sensed my own inability to enjoy (or engage) the artistic process, and to plan a piece to death before actually working on it at all. The idea I had of Zen was something around engaging with the process for the sake of the process, and fully living the process. I still don’t know if that’s accurate to reality.

Planning things to death runs contrary to the way I made art as a youth, which was to sit down with my materials and see what would come out of me that day. I really wouldn’t try to explain what I was doing to myself or anyone else until after the fact, when I’d make up a reason why I made it (in order to satisfy others, and it was always to satisfy others. Why can’t it just be? Why do I have to assign it a meaning? Can’t you imagine that yourself?).

With art, as with writing…historically, I’ve been tripped up by a lack of planning. This changed when I went for my AA in Art. Basically, it’s the lowest degree I could get, aside from a Certificate. Being so near to the completion of my first Master’s and looking forward to becoming a Librarian, though…continued education at the Master’s level in Studio Art and/or Art History is actually becoming a possibility. In turn, that would open up Librarianship posts in Museums, but from what I hear, the competition is tough and the compensation not so great.

That’s an offshoot, though, of what I’ve been trying to get at, here. Let me get back to the main point:

I think that what training I did get in Art, has somewhat derailed my own artistic process. Instead of sitting down and making a mark, and then another mark, and then another, without knowing (or caring, really) what I’m going to end up with, I was trained to visualize an end product and then somehow get there. This is counterproductive for me. It works for academic exercises, but as for actually generating art on my own, it is crippling.

The problem is that a work of art, when I start out with an idea of what I want it to be, never fully reaches the point I want it to reach. There’s the world of ideal perfection, and then there’s reality. And the two don’t really meet. By engaging an idea of what I want a piece to be, or, to say, I end up envisioning something more perfect than I could ever really make, possibly something more perfect than could ever actually exist in the physical world.

I’ve run into this on other levels. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Mostly, though, I feel like I bumble along and run into things and reset my course accordingly, and the resulting path forms something truer to me than if I had set a destination of what I thought I wanted at some point, and made a beeline for it.

For example, if in 2002 I had decided that I was a transgender man and had transitioned to male, my life now would be entirely different. And it would not have been truer to who I actually am or what I actually want, than the place I’m at, now. The outside would change; the life would change. But it’s trading one set of setbacks for another. And even though it’s obviously superficial, who I would have become would still have the same core as I do now, though I’d probably be more conflicted.

The thing is, the way I envision myself now is something I’ve arrived at by a process of listening to myself, not something I tried to form myself into.

It’s like making a picture and having some teacher ask me what it is a picture of. It doesn’t matter. It came out of my living experience. Why are you asking me what it is a picture of? To gauge whether it is, “good,” or not (and why should I care if you think it’s, “good?” How does that positively impact my life)? What do you see? Because I bet it’s not what anyone else, sees. And I bet my giving a word to my experience that I’ve illustrated on paper doesn’t make it any clearer for you if you can’t see it now. Just own your experience and don’t reflect it back on me or my hypothetical intentions. Because I may not even consciously know my own intentions.

I’m sounding bitter. I’m also editing out a lot of curse words. I’ve been having mood issues since the semester ended and I started staying up way too late. I’ll be in bed before 3 AM, tonight. Promise.

Anyway, there seems to be the assumption of an intention to communicate which I’ve found over the years in academic circles. But maybe the best communication is at times, letting the work speak for itself, without trying to explain it. Sometimes ambiguity is best. Sometimes thinking in color rather than in greyscale or in black-and-white, is best.

Can I tell you why red-orange makes you feel different than green-blue? No. Do I know why I used red-orange instead of green-blue? You’re going to have to engage with that mystery yourself, just like the rest of us (including me). Don’t expect me to spoon-feed you dead words, and theory that probably doesn’t matter to anyone but me, in the hope that you’ll understand.

(No, I can’t remember anymore the source of the living word/dead word argument…I think it’s Taoist, though. Actually, I think it may be in the Tao Te Ching. I might have to look that one, up. “Dead words” are things that are spoken that can then be twisted around to say what they were not meant to say, losing their meaning; while “living words” are not necessarily spoken…they live through actions.)

To try and wind this down…I am pretty much set on trying to go back to the way I operated, artistically, before school (and grades) got in the way. This means being led more by intuition and just putting one foot in front of the other, rather than trying to visualize something in total and then attempting to make it, or “copy it,” from my mind.

After all, this is my artistic process. This is art for me,Β for my own health and refinement. Not for anyone else.

I’m not sure of the reality of being able to explain the way I work, though I’ve tried before. I also know watercolor isn’t necessarily the greatest medium to try this, within.

But what I do, doesn’t have to conform to realism. Nor does it have to be precise and tight.

It doesn’t have to be planned, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Right now, I just need to engage.

Recording this so I see it, later:

Well, my fever temporarily broke today…unfortunately, it then went back up to 99ΒΊ F. Consistent with what I’ve been doing for the last several days, I’ve decided to stay in, today. I did break out the aquarelle pencils (I have one set of “Watercolor” pencils and one set of “Ink” pencils), and tried to get a start on swatching them (again — I didn’t feel like trying to find my old papers), until I realized I was again sweating, and should give it a break. I know that yesterday, I was so loopy that I was misreading clearly written text…

There’s something to be said, though, for the “wow” factor for me in even being able to draw two lines of different width on a big piece of Mixed Media paper. I think that, now, other than times when I am just trying out a paper (like the hot-press Fluid brand paper which I found, pills), it would actually be best to go for a larger pad, rather than a small one. I usually don’t use blocks — I prefer to tape the paper down to a piece of Masonite. That way, I can work on more than one project at once, and switch them out when I feel like it.

And rulers! I have been using a large aluminum ruler for a good amount of time, to cut and draw straight lines. What a timesaver! I kind of want to kick myself for even thinking about trying to hand-draw straight lines for my swatches (mostly because I didn’t want to go get the ruler)!

Right now I’m (again) in bed, and typing like this is probably not good for my spine — but I have realized a potential twist in the story I’ve been planning out. Parallel timelines: different universes. What one character believes to be a “past life” or spirit action may turn out to be the mental overlapping of two timelines.

This will enable me to have the “spirit” character not be perfect, to tell her story at the same time I’m divulging the co-main character’s, and to tell both the stories that have been bothering me for some time, within the same text. As a bonus, the female main character won’t have to die for the male main character’s story to begin, and they won’t have to take place on the same world or iteration of that world’s timeline. But the time flow issue — and the issue of psychic “alien” life — will be all screwy, which, gratefully, I’ve somewhat prepared for.

My major dilemma at this point is knowing that I want to work this out visually, and wondering how to work such an internal story out in image + text (as versus text only).

I know the “smart” thing would appear to be not to divulge these notes, but I’ve had too many projects die without seeing the light of day because of my secrecy. And it’s not even like the execution was all that great, if I’m thinking back to when I was 12 and doing this stuff. The thing is that ideas are plentiful; but it’s the execution of the idea that makes it yours. It will likely be quite some time before I’m ready to show a concrete (non-changing/logically coherent) image of this story to the world, but what I can do with it and what someone else would do with it are two different things…