This speaks more of illness than of faith.

There are a few things that have happened since last post.  One of them is my wondering whether slipping into a more “masculine space” is just me being a bit manic.  It would explain the increased energy and the somewhat “high” feeling I got when doing that most recent Creative Writing piece…which I was uncertain how to tag, at the time.  It is basically fiction, but it’s fiction with years of gleaned experience behind it (though I would not go so far as to say, “years of research”…looking things up on the web [and, yes, once in a library reference section, but that was one time, out of years] isn’t exactly research).

It’s just that the older I get, the more knowledgeable and experienced I become with regard to my mind, and the more thoroughly I can see my illness’s impact — from a young age.  Things which were with me from the age of 12 are still here, but amplified to the effect of becoming a problem.  (and this is on medication.)

I was planning to stay home from one of my groups in order to attend a webinar, but at this point (after looking over the “mental health” tag on WordPress and seeing the prevalence of “demon” posts), I’m thinking that maybe I should actually prioritize my mental health over career development.  My psychological development doesn’t follow that of a Satanist so much as it follows that of someone dealing with mental illness.

The fields overlap, but I don’t fit in with Satanists, overall.  I checked the Reader tags relating to this, and found exactly the same thing I had left behind and recalled exactly why I had left.  It’s a realization that I came to several times before abandoning hope that I and this enclave would be a clean fit.  Much like Sociology — introduced to me as “the study of groups of people” — the cultural body of Satanism is not accurately referenced by the official definition (or by anti-Satanist propagandists).

(Sociology is, rather, the study of power dynamics within groups of people, and how power constrains and shapes society, and how those living under power find ways — called agency — to negotiate being, granted these systems of power which they cannot directly confront, which grant them some fulfillment [if not, entirely, the freedom they desire].)

Chances are that in the future, Satanism will look appealing to me again; and then, if nothing has changed, I’ll — again — remember why I left.  If, that is, I look back at the community for reference.  If I don’t, I would be in the majority of Theists, as solitary, and also pretty much in the vein of, as I’ve heard, “do anything you want and call it Satanism.”  (One of the reasons I don’t fit in as a Satanist is that I’ve never been Christian.  Because of this, I have no base to start from, other than being negatively blasted by scattershot propaganda in a religious context.)

In fact, if I hadn’t been able to do anything I wanted and still feel included as a fringe Satanist, I probably would have decisively left a long time ago.  Instead, I had a prolonged period of time in which I was able to develop an attachment to some Deity (not Satan as defined by any Abrahamic religion) whose name and larger context I didn’t know, but whom I felt comforted by and grew fond of.  They say that God comes to you in ways that you can accept and deal with, and I think this was an instance of that.  The more I think of it, the more it seems like a polar reversal, with the “bad guy” comforting me, and the “good guys” encouraging hate towards me…for nothing I had done wrong, except exist.

But in reality, I seriously do not blend in among Satanists.  I am actually closer to Neopagan, at least demographically — but I’ve tended to have an “edge” that some do not; and my lack of fear of the “dark” has…not elicited the most helpful responses.  Moreso when I was younger, though the Pagan Reconstructionists were fine with it.  It’s more the New Age types who have tended to focus on, “love and light,” seemingly exclusively…which I find to be dangerous.

When one’s unwanted aspects are ignored, denied, and pushed down, it tends to cause a potential lack of control which isn’t as severe when one is aware of them and knows them, how they work, and one’s own capacity to harm others.  (A while ago, dealing with this — “Shadow work” was the term used — became popular, but I was already deep into my “Shadow” and needed a light that wouldn’t shun me.)

My desire to learn more about creativity and about Deities of creativity…that stems from wanting no longer to be ignorant about things when I reference myself against established religions.  (The only thing that can end ignorance, in this case, is research.)  It also comes from wanting to find who my Deity [or otherwise, the spirit and/or set of spirits I’ve become attached to] is [or are], if they’ve ever been referred to before.

The closest framework I have is the Dukante hierarchy, but…let’s say that I kind of don’t want to deeply enmesh myself in “dark” work (by this I mean Daemonolatry).  Though from what I understand, some African Diasporic religions also tend “dark” in the sense of concentrating on emotions that are hard to tolerate/painful.  Understandable, in context…but my life, most thankfully, isn’t in that context right now.

And…I forgot what the other relevant things I could mention, are.  (I forgot to note them down before I started writing.)

I’ve decided to let the homework for tonight, slide.  And I’m not going to call it in.  It is 1.5 points, but…the grad program is intense, and sometimes it is just better to say “no,” as in, “no, I can’t do this right now.”  And, “no, I don’t want to make it up, later.”  Just to save what there is of my sanity.  I did do 20 pages of reading, in a very difficult text, earlier.  It wouldn’t be an issue if the text weren’t so hard to get through…but there is constant reference in trying to remember what all the acronyms mean, the text is generalized to the point where I actually have to think about what is meant, etc.

I did remember that I had found the fabric dyeing tag on WordPress…I have been looking at printing recently, particularly linoleum and woodblock printing, though.  I’ve also been thinking about what I would do if my creative work was not something I would hope for monetary return on.  In that case, sewing and fabric arts (hand stitching and embroidery, most apparently) come to the fore.  It could also be really interesting, though, to get back into linocuts (linoleum block printing).  I also know how to do stencils, which is a related focus…and then if my attention is still held, I might go on further, to woodblock printing.  There is just a lot of working process that I’m not familiar with and never had to do with painting and drawing, though.  For example, sizing the paper so that the colors do not bleed.

And I have realized that the art is something to keep me alive…not, so much, something to sell.  This is on a much more basic level than that.

With that in mind…I did find a nice image which I may make into an acrylic painting…another ice-plant floral.

And, right:  I mentioned the desire to find Deities of creativity, which got the same parent as before, worked up.  Apparently I’m trying to find too many answers and need to let things just be.  Like it doesn’t matter if I know what gravity is, so long as I know that things fall when they’re dropped.

I can’t say I agree with that (I’m naturally inquisitive), but I suspect the viewpoint comes with age.  That, and I think — to them — it may up the ante too much to get a Deity overtly involved in my life (at this point, I can always tell my mental banter to shut up; I am not on that kind of a relatively fearless playing field with a Deity).

But I’ll get some rest…I can feel myself slowing down, about now…

Feeling better, a bit.

So…it’s now officially midnight and I’ve been awake for 14 hours — doing required work, some of it late.  And I was able to concentrate today, even with all the external noise.  That means there actually was something wrong when I was constantly distracted.

I had decided prior to skip the Easter visits today, that wasn’t a big decision; but I also didn’t realize that I’d be cutting it so close with the amount of work I had, and the time in which I had to do it.

I did just realize that I inadvertently skipped a lecture, which — along with a project which should be relatively simple, for the same class — I can tackle tomorrow.  I can also see if I missed anything for my Research class, though I think that’s all done (except for filling in the remains of a chapter, from last week).  Otherwise, I think we’ll be moving on, starting tomorrow morning.

I’m actually pretty proud of myself for getting four different graded assignments tackled in the same day.  I’m also really glad that I’m in my Metadata course, as it shows that things actually can (!) get easier with the advent of computers!  I’m not sure what kind of grade I’ll get in Cataloging, but hey — at least now I know not to be a Cataloger, that much is certain.

My goal for that course now (as versus learning the material) is to get out with a C- or above…somewhat sadly, but not really sadly.  It’s gone there.  Right now my best option is to mitigate the damage that course will do to my GPA, and I only have one graded assignment left, so…it’s water under the bridge.  Right now I kind of wish I had held onto my test so I could check my answers with the various scattered data about this class (some in the lectures, some in the Discussion fora…), but again, water under the bridge.  It isn’t due for another nine hours, and I could have held onto it, but it would have stressed me.  It’s more my style these days to just do it and let it go, although that might be a liability (though not necessarily, as when I “corrected” one of my answers away from the right one).

And…you won’t particularly believe this, but I was able to gain access to the one book on Japanese woodblock printing (i.e. mokuhanga:  moku = wood, hanga = print) existent at my location, the other day…so I now have that to peruse, in my off hours.  It’s kind of weird.  I didn’t go there looking for it, I looked up the subject on the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) on the spur of the moment, there was one book in the system, and one copy was on the shelf — and it was filed correctly.

Speaking of serendipity, I’ve had that word strike me from three different places within what seems like the last three days.  I am feeling a lot better with Cataloging now, though; to the point that I’m considering taking an actual LIS course during Summer Session, as versus Ceramics.  D has stated that it’s hard to make a living as an artist full-time unless one gives up one’s autonomy in the process, and sometimes people have big issues with the latter.

I figure that I only have two more years to cram everything in, in regard to the LIS program, though (I think Ceramics will still be available later — and if it’s not, maybe I can buy or otherwise access a kiln), and I haven’t even factored in the class, Issues in Special Libraries.  Given that I’m hoping to enter a nontraditional field upon graduation, that class becomes an unofficial priority.  However, I’m looking at my documents now, and that class isn’t even listed as core or recommended…and why would I take that if I could get deeper into XML or another tech-oriented course instead…something that will actually help me get a job, as versus knowledge I can (or will) acquire in the field…

And yes, I…if I can stay in the program, I definitely want to aim for Web Development as an eventual goal.  It’s probably better to say that now and mean it, than to be wishy-washy about it and not tell anyone that I want to work in tech because then I’d lose my Library cred, or something.  If I’ve got an idea in mind and a direction in mind, I need to just go for it, even if someone will finance my schooling if I say I’m into Library Automation (…I am not even going to get into that).

In my Research class…I’ve been investigating why people in positions similar to mine either leave the Library field; or never enter it, after graduation…and it doesn’t paint American Library institutions as particularly healthy in regard to retention of bright, qualified, excellent candidates (as I’ve read).  Not to say I necessarily am that (maybe I am), but…it’s a known pattern, and I have some idea of why the pattern exists, because I almost never came back from Withdrawal status, and with the exception of Cataloging, I’ve been doing relatively fantastic.

Right now my degree should help with Digital Services and Digital Library work, and help me get my feet wet with programming and User Experience.  It’s not a usual use of the skillset — in fact it isn’t a traditional skillset for Library Science at all — but I like it that way.  Otherwise, I’d likely be attempting to learn how to code, however I could (if I was even aware of that as a valid employment option, and if I could get beyond the gender stigma/barrier/stereotypes I’ve read about in the male-dominated tech field).  In that sense, it is good I am in LIS, (Library & Information Science) or at least, in the IS part of LIS — it allows some comfort of being in a relatively safe, traditionally feminized field (where there are more people like me) at the same time as it opens doors into a more cutting-edge field (perhaps made more cutting-edge by the inclusion of people like myself).

And…I’ve only got two years to go (!), though I hear that in the old days, a Master’s degree only actually took two years of training…

How many days to go? …6?

I’m trying not to get too bogged down with the whole work + school thing.  Although I have made an interesting observation:  this is that Library School is in actuality having a job which I pay for which will teach me job skills so I will be able to get a better-paying job, once it’s over.

Yeah, well — maybe not “in actuality,” but it helps me to think of it this way.  Instead of having a 40-hour work week, I have an 18-hour commitment to my job, and a 30-hour commitment to school.

1 hour per unit x 3 units = 3 hours per week, homework, for each unit

each class = 3 units = 9 hours per week homework

3 classes at 3 units each = 27 hours per week homework

+1 hour lecture per class per week = 30 hours of study per week, total.

So basically, I have to be prepared to work a 48-hour week.  This isn’t as bad as it would seem, when I factor in that my commute is, on average, very short.  🙂

I do kind of wonder sometimes if it’s worth it, though.  The big reason to stay in the program is that I am hoping that I won’t have to worry about being “conventional enough.”  Plus, I actually am being exposed to knowledge that I didn’t even know existed.  As far as…working as an Information Professional is concerned, it is really interesting.  But it’s fairly evident to me at this point in my LIS career that I am not well-suited to be a Librarian — at least, not one in a Public Library system.

In particular, the classes I have taken so far which have been Library-focused (that is, service-focused) have mostly been either uncomfortable, or blatant turn-offs.  This is for various reasons, but largely…people who have been representatives of the ALA (in my classes, not in my workplace) have tended to strike me as idealistic and myopic (sorry to say).  Maybe it’s the, “American,” part of, “American Library Association,” which I’m grating against.  I can deal with the ideology so far as respecting others goes, but that doesn’t mean I want to give up myself, my own experience, my own hard-won ethics, to become it.  (this would actually tend to point a finger at the ALA’s low percentage of “minority” members…)

I do have to get going in a few minutes; I will try and find the book I checked out before on options for using a MLIS degree which are outside of the Library system; I think it will be useful.

Vacillation

I have about a day and a half in total to complete prep work on my Symbol project — but before I get to that, I kind of want to write about something else.

Namely, the entire career tangent.  It would be good to do some reading in the career materials I’ve checked out, and also in the career books I’ve already got here but have not read or worked all the way through.  Right now, I kind of feel like I’m floating.  No destination or solid ground yet.  Just, hovering.

I don’t feel like my undergraduate major is something that is really representative of me, at this point in my life.  Granted that I write well and read well, now.  But that’s not the sum total of my abilities.  I still love writing, but Creative Writing is something that can both really excite me and really freak me out.

My Creative Process prof wants us to write a short story featuring our symbol of choice (mine is, as became obvious enough to me last night, water), so I suppose I’ll get to flex those skills soon enough.  What I’ve learned is that it is a skill to draw upon the unconscious and build up something from partial information.  Though, with fiction, it’s like an iceberg:  part of it is visible, and the other 90%, I generally don’t know is there, until I start uncovering it.  The thing with this is, though, that other 90% is there, even if it’s unconscious, and what one makes out of it doesn’t have to be verifiably and factually true.

When I was really into the writing, I also had trouble with creating narratives regarding the real world out of partial information of the world around me, which I can see now is a slightly different process.  Where there were gaps in information, I would derive information from my mind, drawing from core beliefs; which often misled me.  At the time I probably needed something like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to get me to challenge my own beliefs, because a lot of them were false and damaging when put into action…but I didn’t know about CBT at the time.

The problem arises when one ceases to be able to tell fiction apart from reality (which is probably the biggest mental challenge I’m dealing with, at this point), and also when one starts to create stories which are more believable to one than reality.  One of the biggest issues by far that I can see people on the whole afflicted with is preferring a narrative to evidence.  It’s a really blinding trap to fall into, and if you don’t know you’re in a hole, it’s going to be hard to try and get out of it.

I haven’t yet learned how to balance belief with logic; intuition with rationality.  I think there is a place for all of these.  Certainly at some points the benefits of faith (and they can be very powerful) are inaccessible without silencing the inner Scientific Materialist.

And don’t get me wrong; when I talk about faith, I’m not wholly talking about religion.  Religion plays a minor part in my reality, and my primary philosophies do not stem from the Middle East.  I decide what it is that makes sense to me; or more often than not, what might be an explanation for reality that isn’t entirely dogma or propaganda.

Most of my inner life; what is driving me to stay alive and have a life purpose; what is giving me a reason to continue; what is driving my art at base; is based in things that cannot be proven to exist, let alone to be true.  I know that there is no solid ground here.  It would be easier if I thought less.  If I were less intelligent than I am, I might not be questioning just where this will all fall apart and when I’ll see that I’ve wasted my only chance at life, chasing delusions.

However, the qualities of my mind that make me who I am and enable me to keep living, are things that have no logical basis.  Without them, my creativity is basically cut off at the knees.  Without my creativity, I don’t have a life purpose.

I feel that my spirits have saved my life and my mind several times; or rather, helped me to adapt in such a way that existence was tolerable.  My belief in rebirth is the largest reason I’m still here.  To me there is no oblivion — there are only cycles where one may or may not have the best time of things, and this is largely out of my hands.  At least so, as a child:  I don’t want to be reborn yet because I haven’t attained my purpose in this life, and being a child is a relatively powerless position.  I am only now coming into power in this lifetime.  It’s just that I’ve been in the role of youth for so long that I have to be taught how to be an adult; how to live when circumstances are not forcing my hand.

What do I want to do with my life?  What kind of question is that?!

I don’t have a lot of experience with this.

I have a college degree, though I do not see how that makes me any more skilled or intelligent, or better than, anyone else.  It might be because my family was working-class when I was a baby and eventually made it into upper-middle-class.  My parents wanted to make sure that I would not be forced into a working-class life.  But at this time, “class” is something that doesn’t entirely make sense to me.  If I look back on it, I suppose it never did:  when I went into Sociology at my first University, I recall not knowing what the term meant.

I have a bit more perspective now, but I still think the idea that one’s job, upbringing, and area of residence makes one somehow “better than” others is ridiculous.  I mean, it’s entirely false.  Right now I’m dealing with someone who seems to think they are better than I am because they have attained a level of education and “higher” status within the hierarchical system that is the library bureaucracy.

I work.  The other person works.  If either of us weren’t there, the rest of the staff would be screwed.  But why am I valued less (in pay, in benefits, in power, and in status), even though I am doing an essential task?  If “anybody” could do my job, then why are there so many mistakes, and why do some people in higher ranks refuse to even attempt it?  Because they’ll mess it up?  Because then they’ll have to appreciate the “lower ranking” staff more?  Or because then they will see themselves as, “no better than me,” and they see me as inferior to them — therefore they will then take a self-demotion?

I’m told that to get out of this status, I need to attain the MLIS.  I am told it is this way everywhere.  But I don’t need a Master’s to work at the majority of those other places.  I’m sure that people with MBAs probably get the top ranking jobs, but seriously, why would I want to supervise other people???  Why would I want to do that?

I am not sure that I want to go through with the MLIS.  It will likely cost me somewhere on the scale of $17,000 (which a number of people have been shocked at; however, this is for three years — I incurred $13,000 in debt for 5 quarters at my first University).  The upshot of it is being able to work within a system which is known for being more socialist than not, though I’d say it probably falls within Social Democracy territory.  That doesn’t mean it works.  It’s still flawed.

I’m thinking that having the capability to say things like this is going to be key to my being able to feel comfortable within the Library system.  Kind of like having the ability to take or leave the MLIS has been key to considering going back for it.

The major problem I’m dealing with is trying to suss out what I would do if I did not go back for the MLIS.  I’m suited for Information Science; I can see that pretty clearly.  But then there is all this interpersonal and hierarchical madness to get through so that I can get to the place I want to be at.  Something that would have me doing more than fixing electronics (though if you ask me, I do think that I would both enjoy and be good at, that — major problem is that mostly men do the job, so I’d have to deal with bros).

Stuff to think about.

About that naivete thing, Part II

Anyhow.  I’m back, and have just re-read my last post.  The most obvious part of this appears to be political, though politics cross paths with economics and society writ large…

It’s really only been very recently, with the possibility of a Sanders nomination, that I’ve heard the term “Socialist” be mentioned in public, in a non-damning manner.

When I was at my first University (I had to withdraw for health reasons), one of the things they had us read was The Communist Manifesto.  I can’t say I remember most of it at this point (it was a decade and a half ago), though I get the gist of the information it contained.  I also get the gist that it arose during the early stages of the Industrial Revolution.  Which we are not in anymore, at least not in the U.S.

But because I’d read that, I had a bit of context when listening to a classmate talk about Marxism and how it was different from Leninism or Maoism.  Of course, she was from a place where students were actually taught about Socialism and Communism.  I had hoped to get something like that in Microeconomics (compare/contrast), but to my disappointment, that class was entirely about Free-Market Capitalism and why and how it theoretically was supposed to function.

(Which, it was acknowledged in the class, is not actually how it functions, because people do irrational things, sometimes.  As, for example, when one is selling a piece of jewelry for which demand is low; then one raises the price of it, which causes people to believe it to be more valuable, which increases demand.  This is totally not how the free market is supposed to function; it’s actually opposite to it, even though sometimes this very thing happens.)

Most of the information I’ve seen, in passing, on the topic of Communism is about how it fails.  Aside from Marx & Engels, anyway.  We were never taught about Leninism, or Maoism, or Stalinism, or the differences between the variants — let alone about the economies of places like Sweden.

It could be interesting, though, to try and do some research on this.

In my case, I’ve realized — at this point, and from conflicts I’ve gotten into with either very young or very immature people, which have reminded me of my own younger years — that dissent is essential.

In a program where we’re tapping the knowledge and wisdom of the entire populace (as versus when we have a small set of leaders who make supposedly wise decisions whom we are all then told to follow — which misses out on the total brainpower we could be employing), dissent is necessary.  Dissent is the only way we know we are harming members of our community.  In a community where dissent is tolerated and encouraged, and where it is not attacked or crushed when it pops its head up, we can help build a world where “least harm” is an ethic.

The greatest problems that I’ve seen with groups that I have both participated in, and helped run, is that 1) voicing dissent or anything else the majority didn’t like was seen as somehow tearing the group apart (or “being divisive”), and 2) the groups were organized around either semi-wise or very “privileged” leaders, who lead the group in the best direction they could think of.

The problem with the latter case, however, is that once that leader is gone, what happens to the group?  In the meantime, are we being free and following of our own choice; or are we seeing someone we want to be like, or whom we agree with, and emulating and following them?  To what extent does peer pressure cause us not to bring up problematic tropes within our own systems?

I’m not certain at this point where things would go if we were to tap into the collective power of the minds of the populace.  Without agreed-upon ground rules and controls or precautions (education and ethics), it wouldn’t work, because there would always be people demanding to be followed.

But it seems as though a focus on diversity as a positive power, and on dissent as a way in which we might see where we’re doing harm (should the logic be accurate — even if based on principles different from the ones we ourselves hold), this might be something which could prevent or circumvent a “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

Because the point would no longer be to agree or to be the same.  The point would be to take everyone’s voices into account — especially where they differ and do not parrot each other.  Parroting a position without change means that either 1) you think it’s a really good idea, and it agrees with your values, or 2) you didn’t think about it very much before you repeated it.

Unless I’m mistaken, the entire problem with the “dictatorship of the proletariat” is that a mass of people are saying the same thing and pushing for the same end, even though that end in some way is a negative one — as regards the violation of human rights, for instance.  Or, which oppresses one or more minority groups.

A big problem which exists in this country is that we have what is supposedly majority rule (though I’m sure it’s obvious what a joke that is, at this point, with certain groups trying to keep certain other groups from voting), but nothing aside from the courts to ensure that the majority is actually ruling wisely.  It’s assumed that a popular stance or a popular person will be more or less correct, and that, from my perspective, is certainly not true.

What we need to be seeking is veracity, not popularity.  What causes a totality of less harm, not what makes the majority feel safer.

That having been said, I can see that I wandered away from the initial point of this post.  The seed of this post seems to have originated within being annoyed at the U.S.’s current economic system.  Many other people are more than annoyed, they’re starving because of it; but they don’t have much power.

When I was in my 20’s, I was afraid of being rejected from every job I tried to apply to because I was both disabled and non-heteronormative.  I also didn’t really want to contribute to capitalism.  Guess why I took a job at a Library?  Well, besides the fact that I was an English major and that it would keep me around books; and also that the library had been one of my major supports as a child.

After having begun the process of getting an MLIS, however, I could see that the Library, too, just insulated the public from economic processes; it did not entirely do away with them.  The American Library Association, as well, is a very political entity.  Shockingly so, to myself, as a first-semester student.  It reached the point with me where I realized that running a library is a business unto itself, and if I would have to deal with business anyway, why choose that one:  where we are publicly funded and thus have to answer to the public?

(One of the first classes I took had us do an analysis of a library which would let us see their Strategic Plan, which is the same thing — fictionalizations and all — that I had to do in Intro to Marketing in the Business program at community college.)

I’m sure that eventually I’ll learn what is meant by the term, “selling out,” which was a concern my sibling had themselves, in their 20’s, though I have an inkling that it is essentially giving in to market forces.  I’m not sure what the alternative would be — living on the street like Basquiat?

In the meantime, I probably shouldn’t worry too much about it, because — I’m thinking — it probably won’t be an issue for me.  Whether that would be because I have different values, or a different mindset totally.  I mean, I’ve never heard anyone else in my family talk about Marxism the way I have today, so maybe I’m pretty safe, you know?

Why college?

It’s a big shift from going from just working part-time to doing that and schoolwork on top of it.  At a certain point, one does question why they’re still in school…like, why put oneself through the pressure?  But as writing this has shown me, I actually have gained a lot from being educated that, I suppose, I haven’t seen the absence of in others to the possible extent it may exist.

On the Art topic?  I have five days to complete what I will complete for my first portfolio in Special Projects in Drawing.

I’m in the process of finalizing a pretty beautiful mandala, and am kind of itching to post it online, once I’ve presented it.  The reason I haven’t posted it yet is that I’m not certain whether what I turn in has to be work which is not yet copyrighted, or not, though as I’m the copyright holder…yeah, you can see where I’m at.  Probably the only thing I would need to do to clear that up would be to log into the platform at which I published it, but I’d rather just…wait.  I guess.

I also (!) just realized that instead of embarking on a third design, I can polish up the first one.  With the second mandala I am in the process of making, I’ve begun to use colored pencil to alter the hues laid down from the watercolor paint in the background.  It’s turned into something I never really considered or dreamed of making, though this is a good thing.

I’m thinking that both of my Painting sessions next week will be taken up with field trips.  I meant to confirm today whether they would both be to the Arboretum, or whether one slot goes to the museum I visited last week (with a different class).  I know we have to visit both; I’m just uncertain of the timing.

And, really…something’s been on my mind, recently.

This has largely been the, “why am I still in school,” question.  Right now I have a Bachelor’s degree — after Spring I should have an Associate’s — and after that, within three years, I’ll need to obtain my Master’s (if I don’t want to repeat my original classes at Library school).  I have also been working in the career workbook that I keep mentioning here — which is honestly really helping, even though I’m 10 years away from the awarding of my Bachelor’s, at this point, so I don’t have a clear idea anymore of what my specialization specialized me towards.  Literary analysis?  Critical thinking?  Attention to detail?  All of these things factored in.

What I’ve had to do as regards this is factor in all of my postsecondary schooling, not simply my “English — Creative Writing” degree.  Before I was an English major, I was a Social Sciences major, specifically within Sociology, so I had to take Statistics, and there were other Soft Sciences courses in there, as well as courses that had me doing things like reading The Communist Manifesto.  (This was more political than not, but then, Sociology is really very political, as it examines how the mechanisms of power constrain a society and how individual agency can morph it within those constraints.  Probably because it causes people to question the structures of power, there aren’t many well-paying jobs in Sociology.)  Before that, I believe that I was aiming for Geology.  I was into Earth Sciences as a kid, but ducked out when I realized that the high-paying jobs in Geology were with Big Oil.

I wouldn’t say that my time in school has been wasted, though my own gains have likely taken place through understanding better the society that I live in.  I think I have, and am gaining more of, a view of my society which causes me to question things like the centrality of television, and the prison-industrial complex, and politics writ large (and small).  If I hadn’t tried to major in American Indian Studies (I couldn’t, it was too painful), I wouldn’t have known about all the ways the U.S. government has %#$&ed people over, and not cared that they were doing so.  Then, I would not have been prepared to hear the voices of Latinx people in my own society, or prepared to have heard stories about the U.S. involvement in the politics of Latin America, which is very likely the key reason why people from the U.S. aren’t respected very much there.

I’m not even going to get into the U.S. occupation of Hawaii…I seriously have no idea why the country would find the most beautiful and pristine places on the planet and then test nuclear bombs there.  It’s just really angering.

If I were going to get deeper into this, I might riff off of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and say that it’s possible that Christianity, with its belief in a paradisaical afterlife (or alternately, everlasting damnation) which is SOMEWHERE ELSE than this Earth on which we live, does not prepare people well to care for the Earth past the point at which it can be exploited for present-day gain.  That is, cultures which believe that we will continue to exist upon the Earth — or not, whichever we choose to grasp — have more of a motive to care for the planet than people who think it’s a temporary holding cell to be discarded forever after this lifetime.

Okay, so yes, I am a little bit angry.  I watched a good deal of A Fierce Green Fire in my Art class, today, and I know from having been around — especially having been around the jewelry community — that this stuff is real.  It’s the reason that the group Ethical Metalsmiths was founded, because metal extraction, particularly gold extraction, does horrifically bad things to the environment, though other metals are implicated there, too.  Particularly gold extraction, though…gods, do I even want to get into it?

It might be dangerous for me to get into it, here — but here’s a link to the organization that got me in on this.  I’ll leave it there for you, with the note that it’s possible to find a lot of information on this in library subscription databases.

But yes, my work in Creative Writing and my work in the Art program are overlapping a good deal, though there is more critical thinking done in the Art classes than was required in Writing.  Amazingly.  I should say that Creative Writing is more like a Studio Art concentration, whereas English is more like an Art History concentration — I had to take both.  Both Studio Art and Creative Writing hinge on what the author or artist brings to the table, and neither are worth much, by themselves.

What I can see happening with my current Art practice is a reinforcement of what I learned in Creative Writing, though the mediums are very different.  I’m still learning idea generation and nurturing.  I’m still practicing at bringing something to the stage where it can be presented with some modicum of skill.  I’m still practicing freaking revision, for crying out loud.  Seriously, the fields overlap.  And just as there is storytelling in Creative Writing, there’s also storytelling in Art — it’s just sent and decoded differently.  Art is on a much more primal level, and a much more immediate one.

Whether or not someone can read in English; if they can see, there is a chance that my message will get through.  If I were a sculptor, so long as someone could touch and feel, there would be a chance that the message would get through.  I can see art made by people who likely (or definitely) did not speak English, and I still feel things.  You know?  It feels much more democratic to me.

Though — as versus English — with Art, I do have an interest in the medium, itself.  English is useful where it comes to conveying ideas within English-speaking groups (who do not have the last word on what is true about the world, let me make clear).  However, I don’t have an attachment to the form of it.  Art, for me — there is a kind of fascination with the form, and how the message gets across.  It could be that I’ve just polished my English skills so much that it isn’t difficult for me anymore, and so the challenge isn’t there (except when I try to read Judith Butler, or something); and without the challenge, the interest wanes…though I am not certain.

What I know is that prose fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry (at least some of it; I’m not too well versed in poetry!) — they all hinge on narratives.  The active element is the character on the page, in their world.  The story — the narrative — of what happens to that character, and how they respond, forms the basis of interest in the story (to me, at least), and as such, it is the action of the protagonist(s) through which meaning seems to be conveyed.

Art — at least, non-sequential art — curiously, seems to divulge meanings in very different ways (and yes, very much in more than one way).  This is the major reason that I’m looking at going into Fine Art or Illustration at this point, with my main job being somehow library-related.  It doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on narrative fiction or on the idea of being a Graphic Novelist, but I am not sure I have the nerves to convey meaning through drama.  I identify too closely with (all of) my characters (though it would only be the dullest who would suggest that I actually am them.  I am actually them in the same way as I am actually you).

In contrast, conveying meaning through art draws me into a more peaceful space, as versus the agitated one I seem to get into when I try and make everything about “action,” and every action about “conflict.”  Because then, what happens is that I am putting myself into imaginary conflict to make an imaginary choice that has imaginary consequences, and I have enough to deal with without engaging that engine.  Seriously, I don’t know why anyone would do that to themselves; like just living doesn’t have enough problems on its own, gotta make some more.

Not to insult the authors on my list.  🙂  But I find I can’t tolerate it, at this point.  Maybe others have different understandings of the dynamics which are not so harsh.

But anyhow, I’ve gotten to the age where I’ve realized that I don’t have to engage this engine, just in order to say something.  And maybe, just being more direct about it is the superior option, for me.  At least then, I will know what I’m doing, and why, and what my actual foe is, and why.  And the battle will be real, not imagined.

I’m going for the Library Science Master’s in order to be able to obtain long-term gainful employment in a field I can believe in, though it is very apparent that it is a field that needs thinkers like myself.  Without people like me within the ranks, the system will not evolve, and it will remain a middle-class white woman’s job, with the perspective of same.  Which was, in fact, a large part of the reason I withdrew.

But what is the path laid out for people of color?  Hey, you can be a janitor or garbage man?  You can take care of my kids?

Anyone who says the caste system does not exist in the U.S. is lying.  It’s just that the rules of who is in which caste are not hard and fast, and they seem to be defined by intersecting oppressions, not simply one alone.

Not surprised that the teachers and librarians are the first to be killed in a revolution.

Real freaking work versus academia

So I got myself out of bed today with the thought to check here and spray my Figure Drawing assignment with fixative.  I’m not sure if this is related to my Studio Art work, and/or my time at the Library, but I’m seeing a difference between academia and actual work.

Of course, this could be because I have at least one more chapter to read in Art History before Tuesday bedtime…and a &$%*ing group oral presentation due at the same time…and I really don’t want to do it, right now.  At the same time, I don’t want to get kicked out of my group for slacking, come Wednesday, even though I know I’m probably one of the better-prepared members there.

I should probably go and read instead of whining about it on the ‘net, but I’m thinking that, having had about 5 years total experience in the Library so far; and taking mostly Studio Art classes this semester…there’s a difference between work which feels more practical and reading + reporting on the reading.  The latter is more enrichment and viewing how things can be or have been done; the former is labor.

And yeah, I’m getting tired of college.  Really …tired.  I do only have about two semesters left before I’ll be able to get my Certificate, though, which is the only reason I’m still in school.  (And, accordingly, the only reason why I’ve committed to a Certificate.)  This entire “protect your GPA” thing and “don’t let your fellow group members down” thing is just so much manipulation, though.  I’ve gotten to the age where I know that classes are like games.  Work is like a game, too, though at least there I get paid.  And then, well, capitalism is also a game.

I did come to the realization that the reason communism is seen as a bad thing in the U.S. (e.g. the remnants of McCarthyism) is because the companies run everything here.  Not that I’d really want to go to a communist country, but socialism (actual socialism) is something different.  But then I’d probably not be able to participate because they don’t want an influx of foreigners fleeing capitalist systems… 🙂  And the U.S. isn’t going to become socialist anytime soon — and if we do, that will be scary, because there will probably be one racial/ethnic/political/religious group in charge of the government.

In any case, even though I’m enmeshed in a triad of games at the moment which are all seeking to control what I do with my time, energy, and labor…well, I don’t have much choice, do I.

I would, though, rather be self-guided in this.  And right now I’m even wondering if I should take that crazy late Figure Drawing class in order to have less on my plate for Spring ’16.  (NO.)

Or I can hope they open another section…