Prioritization of activities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wait…you mean…I have free time?

I’m not totally sure that writing this at midnight is the best course of action, but I’ve just been going through my archives.  I actually found a very significant pattern:  the work that I had been doing which I find myself most drawn to, in the present, was work done using fineliners and watercolors (transparent ones).  Only one had any kind of pencil work over it, and at least one had opaque white gel pen.

I’m relatively not drawn to most of my monochrome work, with the exception of a couple of studies done for a painting, a while back.  Even work that I disliked at the time of creation so much that I didn’t present it, holds power for me, now.  And now I am wondering about the other elements of the series I began in Spring 2016 which I did not complete.  What would they look like, finished?

Now that Summer 2017’s semester is over, I have time to actually devote to art without worrying about keeping up a homework schedule in tandem.  It’s not something I’m used to.  And I do think that it will be short-lived.

Actually — now that I’ve checked — I only get a week and a half, off.  Well.  At least I’ve started the Bullet Journal — I’m hoping it will help me keep on top of assignments.  It is also time to deal with collecting books and supplies…not the most fun thing, ever…and I’ve got to see what to do about my work schedule, though that will likely not be finalized until the end of the next pay period.

But holy ****, I will be entering the next phase of seeing where I want to fit in, in Information work!  I’ve applied for a new position…and will have to figure out whether I want or need to take a class on Reference service because of it…otherwise…it’s kind of exciting, and kind of scary.

As long as I keep on top of my work, it shouldn’t be a problem, though…you know, there’s the stress of grades.  And there’s the question of where to fit in my own interests, in between Library work and Library school, which together make up more than a 40-hour work week (or so I’ve been cautioned to expect).

It will be weird if I end up being a Library Assistant so soon…but I think I’m ready for it.  It will just be kind of psychedelic to think I’ll be advancing on my chosen career path!

I really do still need to learn how to drive, though…and I need to figure out how to prioritize work, school, and caring for myself (which includes art).  I do have so many interests, though, outside of the Library, that I’m …trying to figure out which to drop first, if it comes to it.  The Japanese language practice has been lagging, as I’ve tried to get out of this Summer class with good grades.  If I want to work in Hawaii, however, it would help to have at least a working knowledge of the language.

On the other hand, maybe that’s best learned, there.  It’s a life goal of mine to learn this language, but on the other hand, I only have five more semesters in which to prepare myself for exiting Library school.  And if I want to get another degree after that…if I want to stay in the program, as well — I need to keep my grades up.

I didn’t realize that I only had a week and a half!  Is it even still as relevant to get art supplies, now?

What I will do (this may only be legible to me, apologies):  I’ll replace/back up my Line Painters (I may want to see if any need replacement other than Snow — if not, Snow only costs about $3), replace my Gelly Roll pen, get a white Supracolor and maybe a couple of other colors (light ones?) to test at home.  I’ll need to take in my waterbrush, a grey paper, a white paper, and a black paper, to see the quality of these.  I’ll bypass the grayscale stuff, unless it’s really outstanding.

And I’ll get the black Line Makers, because they’re on sale at 6 for $14 — they could be useful for drawing on top of waxy media without clogging.  That should be around $45, if I get the Line Painter set instead of just Snow — and around $32, otherwise.  The latter feels very reasonable.

And I think I’m set.  But I will need to get a few notebooks from the dollar store.  I think I can reuse my folders from Spring semester, and just transfer the contents of those into manila folders.  I have enough index cards.  I don’t think I need any additional dividers or lined paper or pens or expanding files (yet)…just the notebooks.

Alright, I’ve got tomorrow planned…and, right, I need to email my counselor, as school is about to restart, and make a date to go down there.  It wouldn’t hurt to set up communications with the person in charge of Graphic Design and Marketing, either.  And I should let IT know about the issue messing up what I can see of the course sites…

…then just chill until the test on Tuesday.

Recap before work, tomorrow.

As I look at what I can cover in this post…it’s a bit scattered.  While I wouldn’t say there was a lot happening…it certainly seems that way.

Particularly since the language-learning part of this just got added in, and I have been considering extending my hours at work (I will have 15 hours of schoolwork a week, as versus the 30 that was expected of me last semester; and Summer’s starting means that I have had time to spend money — and time to use what I’ve spent it on).

Also, as was just explained to me:  first we had the Hawaii trip, then my relative died, then something else happened, which were all a drain on the finances.  Then:  I’m starting Summer school, which is coming out of pocket, and then I got books for Summer school.  I’m not personally in trouble, but I haven’t yet heard back from Financial Aid.  That may happen after I see my Vocational counselor next week.

I am not sure what will happen if the Vocational program covers my tuition and fees and I don’t get a grant or loan:  I’ve been depending on having a cushion so that I don’t have to work long hours at the same time as I’m taking classes (my position is not well-compensated, meaning that if I don’t get a grant or loan, I may have to find another job…and my County, just generally, isn’t the best work environment); and I have to carry at least 7 units to get full Financial Aid.

On the bright side, I got two A’s (the highest grade possible, in my program) and one C+, last semester.  I found out, today.  Well, yesterday; now that I look at the time.  Also on the bright side, I don’t see myself having to take any more big trips to the art store, in the near future:  usually, when I’m in classes, I don’t have a lot of extra time to devote to arts or crafts, though I should certainly plan to make time, as I’ve prioritized time for the blog.  But that’s majorly because I lose my grounding if I don’t write.

I feel a bit like my vacation time is over.  Summer session starts up on Monday; I’m in a class on User Experience, and expect a lot of reading:  I had to buy four textbooks for this, though I know two of them are not difficult.

Ah, and:  I’m still archiving things from last semester.  I have until the beginning of Summer session to do this, but that’s not a lot of time.  I’ve found out that anything which is saved by a hyperlink to a webpage is by its nature transitory, meaning that now I’ve got to go and copy or take screenshots of my data (particularly Discussion Posts), before it’s lost.  Even if I don’t back it up for school, I will want to back it up for myself; because I did do the work, and I do want proof of that.  Ordinarily, I would have printouts or saved files automatically.  But with this discussion-board type of interaction, it’s just not permanent and it takes an extra step to make sure I can back up the fact that I actually did the work.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I fell asleep in the late afternoon.  Possibly because I didn’t want to archive things.  I also haven’t read very much recently, though I’m fairly certain that at this point I’m going to hold off on buying the books I had planned to (that money can go to other things — like art supplies — which I can’t access without it).

What I’ve been doing is just using the Library, and I really need to get over my “ick” factor where it comes to handling things that many other people have also handled.  I work there, I know that it is not sanitary (something not entirely clear before I became an Aide); but I’ve learned to tolerate the lack of cleanliness and just be clean when I need to (when going to the bathroom, touching my face, eating, drinking, or ending my shift).

I also have realized that the suminagashi play has kind of hijacked my original intent to work with relief printing!  I’ve got a lot of knives that I have not played with, yet, and I want to try them.  Ideally this would be sooner rather than later, but classes start next week; and I have a lot of appointments in that first week of classes, too.

I’m trying to figure out just how many; as I’m looking at my calendar, I have five appointments in the first two days of the work week.  Then I go to work again, have another group that evening, and have a phone appointment on Friday and a dentist appointment the week after.  I’m thinking that I’m going to have to really think about going to my Wednesday group; that and the other group I occasionally go to are the only things I can really cut out.  As I’m having two Psych appointments already that week — and I’m probably going to need the extra time to work on homework — maybe I don’t need the Wednesday group.

Anyway — I need to get back to my original intent of working with linoleum block printing, I feel like.  I want to get back to carving, even knowing it’s hard.  I’ve realized that a lot of what I do may be based on the conversion of my own tension into creative work; this being part of the reason I started being really creative in my early teens (early teen years were fairly horrible for me), along with the sublimation of my then-libido into constructive drives.  It explains why I feel like my works are my babies:  having and planning on no physical children of my own, there does seem to be a period of incubation, then creation, then protectiveness, before I can set them free upon the world.

The conversion of the energy of duhkha into creative work is likely the reason that doing art and creative writing actually makes me feel so good.  I don’t really understand it; maybe I don’t need to?

Anyhow, I’ll leave you with a gift, though be aware that I’m reserving copyright on this one (I have the hi-res master).  We went to a relative’s house to drop off a piece of mail, recently; and not really in the mood to deal with people, I went and photographed a bunch of plants.  Particularly, a Bird of Paradise plant caught my eye.  The flowers had aged a bit — they were starting to go to seed — but looking up Bird of Paradise plants online, it’s apparent that I can fill in the blanks.  It hit me that if I want to work with asymmetrical composition, it would be helpful to work with an image like this:

924w

I have a bunch more of these; this isn’t the best.  I’m thinking of doing something with them (I’ve learned to take tons of shots from multiple angles to help with visualization), but I don’t know what media to use, right now.

There can be things more important than art, I guess…

I’m…not being sarcastic.  I’ve spent the majority of today working on academic projects and trying to catch up on my reading.  At the advice of M, I abandoned the latter effort, in order to work on what is due later today.

Accordingly, I have two projects halfway done:  a paper with eight pages more space allowed, and a metadata encoding crosswalk which I’ll need to use my human brain power to construct (there is a reason computers can’t do it).  Right now I don’t have the mental wherewithal to trust myself in dealing with anything I have to think about, so I’ve stopped, for the night.  I have a little less than 1.5 weeks to go before classes end…I didn’t know it was that urgent.

I should likely get to bed very soon:  I have less than 24 hours to finish all of this.  After that…there will be another test in Cataloging (which I’ve been neglecting the readings for), an oral presentation (which I may just have to work with trial-and-error to accomplish), and possibly one more thing due in Metadata.  After that, like it or not, the semester will be over…and I’ll need to be sure I’ve backed up all my work.

Today has been relatively hard.  I’ve just been trying to lead myself with small steps, like:  instead of going to bed, how about opening a document.  Amazingly, I did fall asleep earlier directly after drinking a pot of Jasmine tea (I was having a lot of trouble with being cold).  I am not entirely sure what’s going on, except that the recent death in the family has put me under stress that is causing my illness to flare.  I have, however, learned not to even try to read anything substantial in this situation when I’m among other people, or with the TV on in the same room.

There’s also a birthday party tomorrow, which I don’t think is a wise investment of my energy, at this point.

What I am thinking of is beginning to play around with linoleum block printing, and getting back to painting, once school is out.  (D even found a hidden brayer for inks.)  It’s been a really long time since I’ve devoted much time to my art…the exception being that night when I was messing around with the markers (I still haven’t figured out how my little designs are exactly working, yet…nor have I uploaded any of them).  There is also a lot of material which I want to read, which I don’t have time to read, because I have assignments to work on.  I have been playing around with different handwriting styles in the margins of my books, but I don’t know where that falls in.  😉

Enrollment for Fall is done.  Nine units, again:  D is apprehensive that I may be taking on too much.  I can see what I can cut out — right now my schedule includes both Foundational and Recommended courses (basically, everything I have a remote possibility of taking), but…even though there’s more I want to take, and even though it will cut down my Financial Aid, maybe I should take six units instead — and have time for myself.  If I do drop anything, it will likely be Digital Curation.  The other two classes (Web Design, Web Usability) are too important to me.

I’ve just checked my schedule, as well — I don’t even need to take three classes per semester.  I can get out with two and still graduate in Spring 2019 — or I can take three per semester and get out in Fall 2018.  I just won’t have the entire package of classes that was recommended…and there are some, like Linked Data, which look very interesting but which are likely too new or too temporary to be recommended.  As long as I fulfill my breadth requirements, I’m OK.

All right.  My brain is checking out as I’m sitting here — I’m going to brush my teeth and get some rest…and try not to be too hard on myself, tomorrow.

Winding currents, and anxieties.

In the last post I mentioned the two non-technical electives I’ve taken, plus Beginning Cataloging, to have been a waste of time, but right now, actually — I’ve realized that they aren’t/weren’t, because they have directed me away from fields that I have found I have no particular…zeal for.

In the case of Cataloging, it’s a lot easier than I had suspected, and it’s easy to feel good about something at which one is competent.  It’s not that cataloging is tiresome; but the major crestfall about that class has been the fact that nearly none of the readings have directed us to the right chapters…we’ve just had to take it upon ourselves to look up what we think will help.

And, again, I have been dealing with intimidation around the hands-on work I’ve had to do for that class, but getting the hang of it is nice:  especially when it looks complicated, from a distance.  I’ve learned to keep scratch paper nearby to work out problems by hand, and it helps a good deal.  As does having multicolored bold gel pens.  🙂  Right now I’m using Pentel EnerGel 07 pens in bright colors (one of them is even fluorescent pink), and it actually does help.  Color coding, and smooth writing.  It’s just…comforting.

(And yes, I know that I’ve already used up one of these from last semester, but not any of the colored ones.)

I know I should get to bed, but I’ve only been awake for 12 hours…

Tomorrow I’ve got to work on more:  I will try and tackle the next two practice exercises for Cataloging, leaving the last one (which is about MARC coding) until after I turn in the graded exercise.  I’m sure that’s going to come up on the (actual) quiz, which I’ll get next week.

On Sunday, I’ll have to deal with writing a short paper segment:  a Literature Review.  Though I’m not done with my review yet, I can turn in a response to what I do have (I’ve read at least eight articles, and have two more lined up), and do more research as I look over my notes and highlights for keywords and references.

I will also have to turn in a short assignment for Metadata, though I have looked at the assignment, and it doesn’t seem at all hard (though it may require topical review).  And actually, it would seem that I should prioritize this and the Lit Review ahead of the Cataloging work, as I get an extra 10 hours to turn in the latter.  My biggest concern about that, though, is oversleeping — or being too wiped out to focus on Sunday night.  I can write while tired with little problem; but cataloging while tired just doesn’t seem to be a good combination!

Yeah — I should probably get the Metadata and Cataloging projects out of the way, then turn in what I can eke out of a Lit Review.  Plus, doing that will ensure that I don’t have a small project (or two) hanging over my head while I’m trying to focus on writing.  I can try and get both of those little things done first thing Sunday, then use the rest of the day to focus on my Research class.

The Lit Review has to be 5-6 pages, but I know that at least one of those will be taken up with a list of Works Cited, leaving me with about 2.5 pages of single-spaced text to write.  It really probably shouldn’t be that hard, given that I’ve written about…two pages, double-spaced, so far, here.  More, if I include the text I wrote earlier.  If I cut and paste both of these entries, yes, I have already written five double-spaced pages, tonight.

I suppose the main issue is addressing what is asked for…

And come Monday…if I haven’t completed my late Discussion Topic, I should; I can also try and catch back up to the next Metadata reading, and read over the lecture due on the 20th, as well as finish reading Chapter 4 for Research Methodologies and watch the three or so lectures I missed.

On Tuesday, maybe, I may be able to do something creative — or, I may have my time taken up with doing new assignments…and finishing any old ones I’ve forgotten about (like the two readings I am still in process on for Metadata, which I’d forgotten about).

And we wonder why I write…