Friday, October 31, 2008

The End to My Adventures in Convention

Unlike most college graduates, I was somewhat happy to move home with the parents.

I, like several of my classmates from World Arts and Cultures (affectionately and aptly acronymed as WAC), had this goal to recoup from surviving our senior projects then see and experience what the world has to offer - see new things, meet different people, do what we were trained to do best: starve as we lived our lives, making art (or at least talk about it)!

Seven months later, I was working at an overpriced trade school that catered mostly to talentless rich kids. I did it partly because I didn’t have money, a job, or medical insurance. Part of it was to make the parents happy. I also appreciated the fact that I'd be able to pay off the remaining of my absurd college debt, but I did tell my boss pretty early on that I would stay there so long as I wasn't creatively inhibited...and once that happened, I'd be gone.

The job actually afforded me to take classes, buy cameras, finance a trip to Europe and New York. Twenty months later, I left there with a nest egg that allowed me to stay in NYC for almost two months, take a few community college classes and live unemployed for 5 months.

I eased back into working by taking a part-time job, and when I was offered to work full time, I refused, as the pay wasn't the best for the crazy commute I'd have to do (while still at the parents'). Then I got the opportunity I was waiting for: a job at a non-profit arts institution. I figured, hey, it may be admin, which I can do, and I’d be in a creative environment that would inspire me to do my own work, right?

Wrong.

It was then I learned non-profit arts institutions prey on the bleeding hearts that fight the good fight, and the multiple jobs I worked there sucked me dry. I had a car to finance and rent to pay, so I was doubly cursed with no money to finance any creative endeavor which didn’t matter, because I had no energy to actually work on any.

When I finally left just over a year later, I should have known better, but instead gouged my bleeding heart: I signed on to a smaller arts non-profit. Though it paid a decent wage, I had no benefits, and I was working in one of the most difficult situations one could possibly imagine.

I figured I could tough out a year; give me experience, and in many ways, I did enjoy working there. It took other people to help me realize that I should leave, but the stars weren't aligned in my favor, and the longer I stayed there, the worse it became.

As I felt myself slip into a depression trying to find another means to get by while surviving my situation, it dawned on me: I’m nowhere close to what I told myself I’d be five years ago! What happened to that person? Why am I putting myself deeper into misery? I need to do something about this!

And I did.

Five years, four months and 17 days after leaving school, I’ve finally decided to actively pursue what I promised myself that I would do: follow my bliss.

So here I am. With no source of income guaranteed, I’m going to see if I can make it doing what I love. It’s scary as hell, but equally exhilarating to see what will happen next.

CORAZON

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Adventures in Writing

I’ve always loved writing. I love the way my mind races when I’m on a good roll. Alas, creativity wanes as you age and lately it’s been difficult putting words together. This was not so years ago.

I was nine when I wrote the following:

“I saw lots of fireworks

on July fourth. I had a

lot of fireworks. I

stayed up all night

lighting fireworks. It

was fun.”

How brave was my prose! Random line breaks and explosive repetition outlining a succinctness matched only by the simplest haiku. The date was July 6, 1993 and I received a happy face for that journal entry. A happy face! “Callooh callay, a happy face!” I chortled with glee throughout the house.

How na├»ve I was. Reaching that level of English mastery would be a feat I’d never again accomplish. The following was dated August 8, 1993:

“Yesterday I went to school

and I forgot my homework

at home.”

My reward? A check mark—of unrelenting pain! I sobbed silently for a week before returning to my journal. I felt inspired that evening, like everything I wrote would be witty and somehow solid as they say. It was dated August 16, 1993:

“First, I went to

school

Next, I went to

play.

Then, I went to

lunch.

last, I went home.”

“Is this all?” my teacher’s claws stamped insidiously on my journal. My writing has since suffered, and has since been formulaic.

It’s been years since I’ve written anything witty or worth reading, thus this new venture. My brain needs flexing! And flex it I will. Maybe. Nah, I’ll have fun instead.

FRANK