I may have thought today was Tuesday…

Sorry about that! Anyway, I hope everyone is having a good day. Some people may already be getting ready for Thanksgiving, which now that I know what day it is, is tomorrow. Trey and I decided to try it on our own this year. It’s the first time we’ll be trying a lot of this on our own, but I think we’ll be ok. We went for a ham instead of a turkey because our store only had massive turkeys. I don’t even think we would have gotten done with the leftovers until next month. So, ham it was, and since ham is one of the best things ever I’m thinking it was a good decision.

I got some time off from work because of the holiday, and I thought that I would get all this stuff done. I didn’t achieve nearly as much as I thought I would because I was so worn out from work. I’ve always thought it was a little weird that we have to work ourselves thin just to just time off and be exhausted our whole break. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me, but I know for certain that I couldn’t work a nine to five job for an extended period of time. Some people work really well with a set schedule, but I think I need mine to be a bit more varied.

Since I’m on the subject of work I’ve been thinking a lot about what exactly I want to pursue for my career. Writing will always be a priority, but I can’t really make a steady living off of that income. I always loved my creative writing classes when I was in college, and I’m considering what it would take to try and teach others how to better their writing. I need to see what kind of credentials that would take, but it sounds like a fun opportunity. Even if it was just as a part time thing and I did it for children or something I think it would be fun to help people better their self expression through writing. Any thoughts?

It’s a rather new development, and it’s been bouncing around in my head for a few days, but I thought I’d see if anyone had an opinion on the matter. Even a “good luck” or “sounds cool” or “…maybe not….” would at least give me the push I need to see if people would actually be interested in this type of thing.

Anyhow, I have to go to the laundry that I needed to get done yesterday. I’m down to one pair of sweatpants, and they are the color of Barney. You probably didn’t want that much information…oh well, you have it now!

Happy Wednesday, dear Readers!

Discovering a new artistic future

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Today’s topic comes from a friend and follower. I have inserted the prompt so that readers can have an understanding of where this post is headed:

For a blog topic, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the arts and whether or not we are constantly progressing our artistic designs in both a visual, musical, and performance sense as a human race, or whether we are slowly but surely leaving behind some of the most artistic generations and creations which were the pinnacles of art form (for example Beethoven, Picasso, etc)

Initially, when I first read Jordan’s question I thought that we have slacked a bit when it comes to progressing the artistic mind of our generation. I’m sure the majority have seen in the news that we are constantly cutting funding for art, music, and dance classes within our schools. The need to advance areas such as math and science have left the artistic areas falling short of funding. I’m not saying that all areas aren’t feeling the pinch, but the arts seem to have been hit the hardest because these areas don’t fit within the core of a students’ learning.

Many schools require a student to at least take an introductory class in some way related to the arts, and that could be painting, music, or theatre. Take your pick. However, it rarely is pursued beyond this required class. I think that there is blame to be placed on the way we manage our distribution of resources in our schools, but I also think that we stunt the growth of our artistic children in middle school and high school because our culture does not place great emphasis or praise upon these children.

As a child who loved acting I pursued it throughout middle school and high school, and while I went to a small middle school, we had no real place to designate for acting. The theatre doubled as our cafeteria, and the only lighting design that we had was to turn off the light at the back of the cafeteria. images (1)We used our imaginations, and for the most part, we did just fine. And yet, we had nice lockers and a decent field for many of our sports.

We have long since praised the athlete for his achievements on the field. We see this in movies and how the athlete is always admired while the artistic child is generally the one attracting the negative attention. If we continue to let this type of stereotypical treatment of our artistically inclined children to go unchecked by his or her fellow students, but also by the school’s distribution of resources, then yes I do think we have let our structured teaching of artistic students to fall by the way side.

Unlike other countries who seem to have a better understanding of artistic importance (some have gone so far as to place their nation’s best artists on their currency) I think that the U.S. has not had enough time to develop its own artists. Do I think they will appear on our currency? No, because as previously discussed, our culture does not praise those who seek artistic endeavors. Even if our structured pursuit of artistic betterment is falling by the way side I think that we are still finding ways to grow.

It does not take classroom for a person to know that they are passionate about art. We have privately run studios, acting workshops, and a multitude of small business that are dedicated to pursuing the advancement of art. It may not be so evident in our school systems, but outside of that sphere growth is still occurring. By leaving the academic frame behind I find that people are more inclined to find those who share similar interests. People are growing artistically because there are more opportunities outside of the traditional norm that allow them to pursue their passions.

Moving to the second half of your question, as to whether we have left the most artistic generations behind, I think that we need to stop living in the past and placing so much clout upon those who came before us. Granted, Beethoven and Picasso are names that should be admired, but not elevated to the point of near godliness. If we continue to live in the shadow of those who came before us and state that those people are empirically the best artists of their field, how does that translate to the mind of those trying to become great themselves?

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Those people may be great, but their greatness was not earned without a great deal of hard work. We should celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of those artists, but do so with the understanding that our generation is equally great. We may use previous artists as inspiration and motivation to do the best we can, but we should not assume that we can never equal their greatness, or even surpass it one day. If we are to live with the assumption that we will never be greater than those who came before us then we will never grow.

So, I think that we need to explore other avenues of artistic development outside of traditional norms because I think those traditional avenues are slowing becoming ineffective and more detrimental to our artistic achievements. I also think that by assuming the greatness of previous generations’ artistic achievements to be the pinnacle of a certain form we are cutting down our budding artists without giving them a chance to see the potential in themselves. It may not be the same type of artistic growth because we have a larger range of creative awareness now, but we are certainly growing none the less.

Time is the truest indicator of greatness, so doesn’t the judge of what is great today fall on the shoulders of those after us?

So you have a degree…now what?

what_do_i_do_now__by_ashlinfaySo this post is a rather selfish cry for help from those who have succeeded with an English degree. As a recent graduate I have struggled to find what exactly I want to do with my degree. I imagine that everyone else who has invested themselves in their education comes out of college planning to use that education to survive and thrive in this world. I am no different. My school (a microscopic Jesuit University) taught me great things. They taught me to care for people regardless of their past history. They taught me that if I strive to change the world for the better it will return the favor. All of these things are what I believe in, which is why I decided to fork out the extra money and attend. It certainly was a great four years, but one thing that college did not prepare me for was discovering just how I wanted to use my education to do something meaningful with my life. Sure, some of my friends that graduated have plans and they knew just what their dreams were when we turned our tassels on graduation day.

As I’m sure people have noticed from reading some of my other posts I absolutely adore books. Do I know where this obsession came from? Books allowed a severely shy and introverted child to have adventures in the safety of her own room. I’m sure that’s why millions of people love books: because they allow us thousands upon thousands of adventures. They give us characters that we fall in love with, and role models that we can carry with us for the rest of our lives.

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While that’s fantastic, I have trouble understanding how books can have a greater impact on the world around us. Books are such a mental exercise that it is sometimes hard to see how those words on a page can change our outlook on life.

Does that mean I write for my living? I have taken a few swings at writing, but I certainly don’t feel as if I’ve hit a home run. There are many famous writers who have harnessed the power of writing to say something about the world around them.  I would want to create something that says something about the society I’ve grown up in, and how, in a broader sense it shaped the minds of a generation. But can one person make that kind of an impact? At my age? At any age in my life?

Anyone who hears that I have a Bachelor’s in English assumes I will teach.

English teacher

Honestly, children terrify me.  I don’t understand the way their minds think, and I tend to lose my patience very quickly. So, unlike some of my friends who want to teach I don’t have the serenity in myself to handle children.

Another dream that I had was to own my own bookstore. That was before I met my fiance and signed up for military life. I don’t regret that decision. It just means I will have to wait about twenty years before that dream can become a reality. What I’m concerned about is the time in between now and then.

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So for anyone who loves literature and tried to make a life out of it, what have you done? Have you succeeded? Or did you end up doing something you didn’t think you would do, but you love it anyway? Or am I just a young hopeless dreamer who is too blinded by her dreams to see the reality of life? I desperately want to retain my optimism because I believe that you shouldn’t throw out your dreams just because you grow older. Although, a little perspective would certainly be helpful, because I certainly can’t change the world with a pipe dream unless I have some drive.

 

“What Do I Do Now” photo courtesy of: thisisbeirut.wordpress.com

Peanuts photo courtesy of: moskeda.wordpress.com

Teaching photo courtesy of: www.asiapundits.com

Bookstore photo courtesy of: mysterysuspence.blogspot.com