Monday, November 21, 2005

little landscapes, mail, and other rambling thoughts...

After several months of thinking big (48"x 60" oil on canvas) I took an exciting detour and painted a little-iddy-biddy 6"x 6" landscape with acyrlic. It was wonderful. I painted sitting on a stool holding the canvas in my hand. I was rough with it and painted quickly. Normally I hate painting small. It makes me feel constricted. But not today. Today's painting felt a little like hiding out. I shut the door to the studio (something I never do), listened to music, drank coffee from a to-go cup, and indulged myself in a miniaturized world.

Afterwards I went to Nina's Senior show in the Talley, "On the Line," where I chatted with friends and began to notice that the more I paint and am surrounded by interesting people, the more alive I feel.

Which leads to my next thought: mail. Today I received a package of sorts. Package meaning it was big, flat, rigid, and didn't fit in the mailbox. It was a packet from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (ooh--that's a mouthful!) on their MFA in Writing. I've gotten stuff from them before, but today it especially pleased me because I have been thinking a lot about what the hell I want to do with myself next. Art or writing? Art or writing? Art? Writing? artwritingartwritingartwriting???? I've also been thinking a lot about the defunct energy that seems to be pervading the English department lately. No matter where you go there are highs and there are lows. As an undergrad I was surrounded by some extremely talented writers who were serious about their art. And I still am. But where's the energy? I know I don't have it. Nor am I getting it from others (generally speaking). I'm trying not to step on toes here because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. There are truly incredible people here. But man, I feel a deep need to move on. Actually, I don't even want to. In many ways I love it here. But it's hard to grow in (what feels like) a stagnant environment.

After long deliberation--I'm taking next year off. It's been an intense year and a half both in my personal and academic life. I need a break and I'm going to take one-- a year to work on my writing as an art form rather than an expectation, to experiment and travel and to work without the usual pressures.

Oh yeah, so back to getting mail...a program that allows me to write and to paint at the same time. Good god, could there be anything better? I've looked into interdisciplinary programs before and some seem a little hokey, but this one, not half bad. The problem lately is that I feel caught in a box. A big, fat, lethargic, dumb box.

And damnit--I want out.

2 comments:

Paul said...
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Renee said...

You go girl! You'll love your time off, I sure do. Breathe, breathe, breathe.