It's nearly 1am here in Vancouver when I'm posting my blog for Friday. I know I'll have a busy day Friday and won't get a chance to write later in the day, once I wake up.
I started a new semester with my evening students tonight. I really had fun with them. I enjoy my adult evening students more than my day students. They tend to be more enthusiastic, and most of them are already working in their profession, so they bring a lot more knowledge and experience to the class. After several years teaching, I've learned what students most want:
1. To be entertained. Tell alot of jokes. Be dramatic. Say things that are on the edge of being inappropriate and risky.
2. Challenge them to do better, but also let them know they're doing well. Treat them respectfully and with confidence.
3. Share personal experience with them, and encourage them to share their experience.
4. Return their assignments back within a week. You'll be their hero.
I got them to interview another student and report back to me about them. They also had to tell me the student's astrological sign, and then I gave them a positive and negative aspect about their sign. They loved it, and everyone shared a lot of laughs (So you're Taurus....well, they are sturdy and dependable, but...very stubborn). They find it hilarious in an academic setting.
I always have a lot of brilliant students in my evening classes. Most of them already have degrees in everything including linguistics, philosophy, sociology and psychology. Since I did a liberal arts degree(s), I can draw them in to share their perspectives from their disciplines.
I have three cute guys in my class. One is an iron-man competitor with very messy blond hair (you know that messy hair look). He's Gemini, so an excellent communicator but can't be trusted. At break I checked over his bod, and it's very skinny. I don't think he has any bodyfat at all. Then there's the very open, cute and sexy 39 year old (I found out his birthdate when he had to log into his computer) who's also very bright, has his own business and is involved in finances. He really engages people when he talks to you. He's probably married. He is Scorpio, so is very passionate, but if you betray him he knows how to extract his claws and sting you. Then there's the 21 year old, obviously gay but highly creative guy. He looks like a caucasian version of that gorgeous (shoot, just a second, I need to look up his name again...) Chrisonomicon. I can tell he's extremely bright, because he has no patience, and is capable of listening to me while I lecture and cruise the internet at the same time. He's a Capricorn. So am I. We're supposed to be very success driven and also like taking control over every situation.
When I was driving to work tonight, I passed by some very unfortunate people, who looked like they were struggling in life. It made me pause and think, "Maybe I shouldn't have so much attitude about my work. Maybe I could be greatful for the work I have, with my clients and my daytime students. Maybe I made a mistake quitting my day time teaching job for the fall. Maybe I'm going to be a failure now, because I have a bad attitude." It does scare me. But there's a part of me that says, "Fuck that." I refuse to do something I don't enjoy any more because I need money. Yes, I do love teaching the evening students, but I don't enjoy the day students. Even though teaching the day students pays a lot of money, more than evening, I don't care. I'll find a way to make even MORE money, doing something I enjoy more. I'm not willing to sell my soul for money. So that's my commitment to myself. I will not go back in the fall to teach those daytime brats, AND I will find a way to make even MORE money doing something I enjoy more, and is more fulfilling to me. AND, I refuse to give up my beautiful house. I will find a way to make the payments (even though they're high). Even if I have to stop eating out every day, travelling or whatever for while until I achieve this. I really believe that the more I think I deserve, the more I get.
I realized I have a bit of an ego. I'm really not more talented or intelligent than many people. I think the difference is, is that I stubbornly put my foot down (I learned how to do that from my two ex-boyfriends who are Taurus), refuse to budge and have doubts that it's possible to achieve what I want, and just do it and get what I want. I keep saying "no" to what I don't want, until I get what I do want. It's risky, yes, but it seems to work for me. Many of my friends are too afraid to take these risks. They're always amazed that I trade security for self-actualization. But is life worth living if you only do things because they bring financial security? Not for me.
Something that is very pressing on me is that I must return to painting. This is a big issue for me. I did art for 10 years, obsessively, winning awards, gallery exhibitions, the highest accolades, and then quit. I realized I hated the art world: it's pretentiousness. I had no sense of community. It was a bunch of phonies, with poor self-esteem, running around trying to prove themselves as being better than everyone else. The people who are successful are not necessarily the most talented - they're the ones who play the game the best. They know how to sell themselves. Make themselves look as exotic and unattainable as Gucci purses. They know how to be with the "in crowd." I sold my soul to be with this crowd. I learned how to market myself, both as a person, and an artist. I did the press releases when I had an exhibition. I schmoozed with the right people (who I detested). I professionally documented my work and exhibitions so that I could get that next grant. I experienced the politics of powerful people in control, who had no talent, did shitty artwork, and yet could control my career. I worked with curators and galleries who's main interest in life was maintaining their reputation among their peers. I kept in touch with all the latest art developments, the magazines, the art criticism, theory. And now, having had an eight year hiatus, I don't give a fuck about all this. I just want to paint and do my work.
I ended up doing work for "them." The establishment. I no longer did art to please myself. Now that I've extricated myself from this cult of art, I'm ready to return. I'm ready to do art that pleases ME. I don't care if it's up to contemporary art practices or theory. I don't care if they like me as a person. I simply want to do painting, that pleases me. And I have this nervous feeling that it will be a hit.
I'm scared, because I spent tens of thousands of dollars on my painting and multi-media installations, and other than scholarships and awards and bursaries, didn't see any profit. I promised myself never to do another piece without the potential of profitting from it. Maybe I'm deluding myself, but I feel like any work I do at this point, will be financially and artistically successful. And I can feel this tremendous thrust in me to start doing my work again. It's even deeper than when I was younger.
So I've got a direction in mind. I've got the space (I can convert my garage into a painting studio). I've got the drive. I just need to do it, and I'm scared. I'm scared of not making money, even if I enjoy the process. I refuse to do art for art's sake any more. I expect to receive financial compensation that's equal to what I deserve. Which, I believe, is a lot. Stay tuned for what happens...
Wow, I didn't mean to go here tonight. I'm sorry I'm not entertaining you with sex-capades. Actually, I did call Ahmed today. He was in the middle of a social worker emergency, so he'll call me tomorrow. He sounds sweet. I'm only interested in friendship at this time. I have way too much to deal with, so I don't want a boyfriend at this time. Thanks for listening to my rant. My truth.
Also, I don't know if "dogpoet" reads my blogs, but he reminds me of myself, from the past eight years ago. He's got a much better bod than me, but in terms of being enamoured by the artworld, I think he's being blinded by it. The artworld is not "god." It's not even worth keeping in touch with, except for a few times a year. Do what you feel. Do what you want. Do what you're driven to do. Even if it's not in keeping with the contemporary art theorists: do it. Extricate yourself from the reviewers and theorists and media regarding art. I've been where you are, done that, and am committed to going beyond it. Because, if you look at the artists you admire, they all ignore that bullshit. They do work that comes from their soul. Not from popular drivel. But from within oneself.