So I thought, 'well, this is optional . . . Kim said . .. everything is optional. I can skip this part and just do the photography part'. But here I am at the first assignment and already I don't want to do it. That is not good. Then I realized that Kim is right . . . writing down what we think about our creative selves or why we are here in this class and what compels us to pursue creativity does matter and it can bring some clarity as well as some purpose. And so what if it feels goofy ? So here goes:
I wanted to be be a writer .. . a novelist, to be specific . .. when I grew up. I wanted that ever since I was in junior high school and realized that I actually had to pretend to hate the books that we read in English class and grumble about the assignments with all the other junior high students, so I wouldn't be considered even more of a nerd than I already was.
From that realization and decision about what I really loved, I went with it. I was going to be an English major in college; I was going to be a writer. I never told anyone. I only told my journal. I continued to grumble about English assignments--hoping that in some small way, I, this scrawny, awkward, too-young-looking, underdeveloped and terribly unpopular girl could at least be able to be a tiny bit cool if I hated writing and hated reading . . . and if I acted a bit dumb in school in general.
So long story short, I did go to college for English/Journalism. I did well enough. I wrote. I got a lot of good feedback and I got a lot of bad feedback. I went to graduate school to get a Masters in Creative Writing. I wrote some decent stuff there. I never tried to publish anything, but I think there were a few pieces that were publishable. I wrote my thesis. I got my degree. I earned it, but I got discouraged . . . particularly by one professor. She was a great writer but not a very nice person. I was young. I felt beaten up and humiliated and like I had nothing interesting to say anymore. I felt unworthy of being a writer, too. After all, I was not depressed or an alcoholic; I was not poor. I had had a relatively easy suburban, middle class upbringing. I was just not what writers were made of. I quit writing. I abandoned my creative side. I decided I was stupid to ever have been an English major. And I thought I should have pursued hard sciences or finance. It is more practical. I got really into finance; I read all sorts of investment and financial planning books; I started taking classes in accounting.
Then I looked for work. I got a regular, well paying job in a large corporation . . . it was a tech writing job; something I could do with my background. I worked hard . . . all sorts of hours; excelled and I was happy. It was (and is) a good job. No-one can argue with that. But something was missing. I was working. I was making money. I was making A LOT of money for someone who came out of graduate school (an English major to boot) and was used to living on less that $10,000 a year. I was even able to continue taking accounting classes through work . . . free. But it was not enough.
I stopped doing the glass work after I had my kids. The chemicals and lead just were not good for me or the kids. I got into beading and jewelry making for a while. I loved that as well because, though, quite easy and not necessarily an art when you are just stringing together beads or doing basic wire work, it is pretty creative from a design perspective. Again, I gave a lot away. My sister and sister-in-laws still wear a lot of the pieces.
Then one day, my husband and I were talking about upgrading our camera. We had an old and now slow point and shoot camera that we bought about 4 months after my son (my first child) was born. At that time, it was a good camera. I took a lot of pictures of the kids with it, but always, all on full auto. We went from the idea of upgrading to a better point and shoot to getting an actual SLR camera. I had no idea what an SLR even was. Single Lens Reflex? Okay? Eventually my husband settled on a Canon Rebel Xsi. When we first got it, I had no idea what to do with it. I got him some photography lessons and thought I'd just not bother. But from that class, he brought home some books on digital photography. I read those and something 'clicked' . . . I don't know what .. . I was even hung up on the fact that the photos were coming out not with everything in perfect focus, but now I was getting it. I devoured the books and started playing around with the camera more and more and soon, the camera became mine.
From there I had a new hobby . . . it continues today. It is maybe a bit more than a hobby at this point--and I toy with the idea of making it even more someday; can I do it? Is it even possible? No matter what it can be, for now, it is a creative outlet and it fits me . . . more than anything else I have tried; I like it because it does communicate and it does connect with people, but it is not that hard .. . not as hard as writing. It is what I want to do and I plan to stick to it and continue to learn. This year, I want to try to stretch; to think more about my approach to subjects . . . even if I continue to do the same thing over and over. I want to be more deliberate about it all.