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Non-Blogging, Meditations on a Pin

Once, oh really even more than twice or thrice I considered seriously the business of being a writer. The key word here is likely business because I said to myself I could be a writer 'when I grew up' with either the implicit thought or the explicit statement that writing should provide my income. My Dad to be fair never said no; on the other hand, he would then point out about writing for a newspaper or a magazine and working on my Magnum Opus after hours, on my own. Oddly enough while I often considered photography seriously as another potential, I didn't talk as much about it.

I asked one of my high school teachers (an English Literature teacher) to read and critique a manuscript for a short(ish) story I'd written. When I met with this teacher after a few days I brought some of my prints with me. My teacher asked to see the photographs before critiquing the manuscript. After looking them over, smiled and said, "I don't see the Spark in this writing. Sorry, but I don't. On the other hand, I see the Spark in these," and touched several of the prints.

Not sure I would say I wanted the Spark of Genius to be there in my writing and I won't say I didn't. That comment didn't discourage me from writing, believe it or not. Instead, it encouraged me to study writing and writers, in depth. Over time, I'd say my writing improved. Still not sure I see a Spark in it either, mind you; that's all right. I've gotten better.

What this all grows out of is that things around here in the Blog-o-Sphere places changed over the rather quite a few years I've been tapping electrons into order to represent words. It feels like fewer people are reading in the places I post. I know I'm posting less often. One of the key factors in the 'business' of anything is consistency, sticking at it, and I'm feeling the absence.

Now, mind, in the past few years I've also been fairly focused at Hospital, first on finishing up the Magic 30, and due to some changes just before hitting that Magic 30 paying pretty strong attention to what I did there. Also, there is a proverb from the Japanese I like, not going to try to quote the original here only the translation: Chase two rabbits, catch neither one.

And I did make a firm decision some time back, yes, my photography is the rabbit I want to catch. Want. My Dad once taught me pay attention to Want versus Like. If one should Like to receive something, do something, and yet it doesn't quite come to pass or not in the exact manner, this is OK, this is good. Want, on the other hand, involves something deeper. There are things, many things, one is willing to sacrifice when one Wants something.

I am willing to sacrifice writing. Oh, studying writing is and has been good. Dad also taught me (my first Art Teacher) to study other art medium, stretch and grow as an Artist. Just -- I am willing to sacrifice making a living of any sort with writing.

Sound sad? Not really.

I am also very clearly in the twilight of my Nursing career. That Magic 30 represents a milestone, and now there are three more years tacked onto that, during which I've cared for others as they needed it. Time runs its course, though, and Time is coming when I will no longer provide professional Nursing care. All along, I've worked on my photography, my art fill the time when I would no longer go to Hospital. So of course, as that time approaches (Perversity being what it is, thank you Oh My Friend Jed) the economy is in the outhouse and not many people are willing to spend what little Fun Money they may have on art.

But Wait.

Herself points out to me that it is, apparently, somewhat easy to begin teaching classes in what I often think of as Community Education; those after hours classes organised (often) by Community Colleges or other educational institutions for adults who are nominally done with school. And one of the things about Nursing, as any of my colleagues will tell you, is that education is an important part of the practice. Teaching patients about their health conditions, their medications, how to cope, how to stretch, grow, heal. Something I've been doing for 33 plus years now and so, not a big leap over to Community Ed.

Recently another acquaintance asked me about studio backdrops. And, um, well, yeah I can pass along a thing or three about studio backdrops. Probably about lighting too, though I'm still studying that on my own. Then again, I think it may of been Hokusai (Japanese woodblock print artist from the Tokugawa era) that said (roughly), "I have been studying diligently the representation of shape and light for some time now, and I believe if I continue to do so another 20 years I shall begin to show improvement." And basics of composition, exposure, and such.

Some of these I've been thinking to do as blog posts, since I do see this blog as a bit of a photoblog with images and discussion strewn about. Even doing that, not much of a leap still to developing classes on this.

Maybe I should stick around a bit longer. Maybe you should too.

This entry was originally posted at http://madshutterbug.dreamwidth.org/161386.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
Just wanted you to know that you've still got at least one reader. You could always combine writing and teaching and write a booklet for your prospective classes. :)
Jul. 27th, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
I think it's the 'quietness' as it were, of just reading. Much like another reader mentions further along, I'm still visiting these blogs regularly. Now it's more often via smartphone app, which is great for reading and less so for posting. Between still going to Hospital 30 hours a week, Ranch, and then making/processing/selling (or trying to sell) Art, I'm sacrificing time on-line via PC.

Thus, likewise, I read, say about your adventures with Fezzik and such. It's one thing to be a silent accompanist in person, seen but not heard. On line we are mostly not seen when not heard.
Jul. 27th, 2012 12:59 am (UTC)
Teaching in a community college is a good path imo, Tom. I also am retiring at the end of this calendar year, and I also teach, albeit things that usually result in your current profession's way of producing income. And less violent art will also come more into my life - finally able to return to working on my music, which is as much finding mental space as it is finding time/space.
Jul. 27th, 2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
Well, there's retiring, and then there's Retiring. I've already retired, in one sense, to collect that 30 year pension. As in an actual break in service, not receiving any income from Hospital. Then I rehired after 7 calendar days. Worked full time one year, decreased my hours this year. However, that little think like Health Care Insurance... that's part of it. That and getting the Bank off our Land Title.

Mental space is part and parcel for all the Arts, eh. However much or little we actually make, it is part and parcel. One of the advantages of reducing hours this year is more mental space for the artwork, either making it or setting up to sell it.
Jul. 27th, 2012 02:22 am (UTC)
Want to come visit... got a bit of floor?
Jul. 27th, 2012 06:54 pm (UTC)
Always. *G*
Jul. 27th, 2012 02:59 am (UTC)
I've always had the creative spark, but it has expressed itself in different ways over the years. I did a little music arranging in high school (and decided that wasn't for me); later it was poetry, then filk. But when I got into making jewelry, something clicked. These days almost all of my creative energy goes into that, and I can tell I'm getting better -- I keep wanting to take apart some of my earlier work and redo it!

Fortunately, I'm not in a position where I have to make a living with my jewelry, because while it pays for itself, it hasn't really paid me anything yet. But even in a slow economy people will buy T-shirts because they're clothing (and hence not sheer luxury), so Russ' business pays the bills.
Jul. 27th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
I can (and have) looked back over earlier work and thought Yanno I could probably do that better... nah. Some of this is, even when we re-visit a concept that's all we are really doing, revisiting. We bring all that experience with us that contributes to the craft aspects of our art becoming better. This is not to say there aren't some of those concepts I shouldn't re-visit, more to say the intervening time will contribute to a somewhat deeper interpretation of the concept. Also, a few that I'm contemplating will require getting together with original models...

Much like the T-shirts our Ranch booth at farmers markets is doing better than the Art. For much the same reason. People will first make sure of shelter, food, and the 'intangibles' (power or utilities and such) before spending any Fun Money. Another lesson from another art mentor, fellow who people called a writer yet he called himself a word mechanic. Not competing for the Food & Shelter money. Competing for the Fun Money. He said Beer. That works too.
Jul. 27th, 2012 05:36 am (UTC)
I'm still reading, although it's from my iPhone more often than not with school taking up everything (as you well know)

Are you considering teaching photography?
Because I think you'd be great at it, as well as teaching at the CC nursing school.... :)
Jul. 27th, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
Teaching Community Ed is one thing, teaching Nursing another. Pretty sure even our local (formerly a Community now a College) requires Masters degree for Nursing instructors. This is actually a professional aspect, and should be something country-wide since the programs must be accredited. If a program looses accreditation, then the students are not eligible to take State Board examinations, regardless of their GPA.

At this stage, I am not particularly interested in getting a Masters.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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