Archive | June 2013

One of the reasons we should be awesome

Okay, so something exciting happened today. The back light of my laptop died. So… my computer was working, but that didn’t do me any good because I couldn’t see anything on the screen. Yeah.

Let’s back up a little bit. This last week has been really stressful. I had a huge assignment in my Children’s Lit class. I finished it yesterday, but I had to push back a lot of other sizable assignments in order to get it done so quickly. It meant I didn’t have as much time to study for my exam last night as I would have liked, so i’m slightly anxious about the grade I got on it. It was stressful, but it’s a good thing I did do get that assignment done, or today would have been a nightmare. It’s kind of funny, because this morning I felt an incredible calm, like I could take over the world. Then my laptop became… indisposed.

But it’s alright. My roommate is dating a Computer Science major, one of those guys who likes fixing things. So I was able to access my big assignment from his computer and get it printed. So, I can hold up until tomorrow when I get a new computer.

He was so helpful. As for how I was feeling… Just imagine the sense of impending doom slipping off your shoulder and floating away in a passing breeze.

And now I’m going to wax cheesy a little bit. See, this is one of the reasons why she should be awesome. Because then you might be the sort of person who can swoop in and save somebody in a moment of crisis.

Now unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with any ways that I could save somebody in a moment of crisis. I mean, I can…. do artwork. And I do hope that my art will benefit the lives of others somehow, but probably not to the same extent as practically saving somebody’s Children’s Literature grade. That’s okay though. I intend to contribute in my own unique way. Somehow and some day I will help somebody’s burdens slip off their shoulders and float away in a passing breeze.

Picture Books

So… I’ve had this assignment that’s been preying on me for the past week or so. I had to do individual write-ups for 25 different picture books. An easy task, but time consuming. But that assignment is finally done.

The problem is that I pushed back a lot of other major assignments in order to do it.

 

I could have taken certain short cuts. I know I could have. I was allowed to. But being as I am one who doesn’t like short cuts, I spent a lot of time on that assignment. Nevertheless, I should like to think it was beneficial to me. If nothing else, I became intrigued with the idea of researching children’s books to help improve my artwork and to take it in different directions. I also discovered that Lloyd Alexander wrote some children’s books, and I would be interested in having some of those as part of my collection. And… it was good to be exposed to a lot of stories, ones that don’t take long to read. I am so very fond of stories. I have also found that it’s no easy feat finding a truly… brilliant children’s books. There’s a lot you have to go through before getting those keepers. I suppose it’s important to be aware of that, because in my experience a kid doesn’t usually just check out just a random picture book from the library and fall in love with it. All of their favorites are introduced to them, and after they have been introduced, then they will get those out of the library, or others by the same author.

About that…

Sometimes I think it’s funny when I give myself pep talks like I did yesterday. Usually it doesn’t take me long before I start thinking that things weren’t so bad after all. It all seems so temporary, you know? I imagine there will be a couple of peaks and valleys going on for the next week or so. And then again to a lesser extent for the rest of the semester. But in all reality, it’s getting close to over. The end of the semester really isn’t that far away. And then I’ll find myself a whole different set of problems to work through.

Nevertheless, I think I can get excited. I can get excited for the future and the things I’m going to do. I expect art will be included in there somehow. You know, although I’ve this nightmarish assignment I have in my Children’s Literature class involving picture books, I have come to some pretty good conclusion. I can’t help but think now that reading, looking through, and studying picture books would be great research for my artwork. I can take it in all sorts of directions, because of course picture book illustrations come in all sorts of varieties. It’s exciting to think about. Yes, there will be art in my future and there will be reading. And then… who knows? Maybe I can go out and conquer the world.

Pep talk

And here I will proceed to give myself a pep talk, because I think I am about to embark on something of a nightmarish week.

But I already know there will be perks. I’ve made plans to see a movie on Tuesday, I really didn’t want to miss the opportunity to hang out friends, and I know I’ll be needing a break. Wednesday is my parent’s anniversary. Today I got an extra credit point in Spanish. There are some good things.

It’s true I’m going to be incredibly for the next week. I may even have to sacrifice some of the quality of my work in order to get it done in time. But after that, all will be well again. My school load will go back to normal, and I’m not suffering from any emotional turmoil. All will be well, if a little sleep deprived. And as long as I get everything done in time, this should really help my grade.

All is well. All is well.

Just another week or so of this.

It’s all good.

The classics

I wish I had a better idea of what this upcoming vacation will be like. I don’t know how much time will be on the road, how much time will be spent at various sites, and how much time will be spent camping or staying at motels. I figure, if a lot of the time will be spent on the road or camping, that would be a good opportunity to do some reading. I have a folder set up on my kindle specifically for reading material for that trip. Mostly it includes stuff in the public domain which I got from Gutenburg, so I can get familiar with some of the classics. At the very least, I want to try out Peter Pan. I’ve watched Hook recently, so this would be a nice way to get closure on that experience. And then I want to have a go at rereading Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass. If I’m feeling ambitious, I will attempt Jane Eyre.

But I also have other books planned, in case I’m not in the mood for classics. Mom’s written a story that I haven’t read yet that I think I’ll like, and it’s possible that I could check out a kindle book from the library. I’m hoping a copy of Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett is available. It can be wonderful reading the Tiffany Aching books… and it is so good to see Granny Weatherwax again.

I just… I dont’ want to waste dead time. If I’m going to be spending a lot of time on the road, it is best I do something productive while I do it. I’m going to regret not taking the chance while I have it.

Waiting

In previous posts I have mentioned my excitement about the release of Phoenix Wright 5 in the United States. I e-mailed my brother about it, and his response was; “I think for you the anticipation is probably as fun as the game.” I suppose it’s true to some extent, but it’s strange isn’t it? You would think that waiting for something but not having it yet would be torture.

 

There must be some sort of rhyme or reason to this, but I can’t be sure of what it is. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that I started to enjoy the anticipation partly out of… convenience. The best illustration I can give of this is with movies. I love to watch movies, and when I was young I would get excited about movies that were coming out. But going to the theatre would be a bit too expensive for a family of eight to do more than once or twice a year. So we would have to wait for the movie to get into theaters. And then we would wait for it to come out on DVD. And then we would wait for the library to get it. And then we would wait until we could check it out. Over time we’ve learned to enjoy the process a little bit.

Back home we have ‘request parties,’ where the Wielder of the Library Card would get onto the library website, and the rest of the family would list all of the books and movies they were interested in, and then they would be requested. Then, based on rough calculations of when the library would receive these requests, we would  plan library trips and possibly movie nights.

 

But this happens with other things as well, right? I mean, think about waiting for Christmas. Or Summer Break. You can… plan things. When I was a kid, I’d make really big ‘to do’ lists for Summer Break to ensure I don’t get bored. I think they included things like ‘watch movies,’ ‘draw pictures,’ and ‘do puzzles.’ Around Christmas I would plan Christmas activities, like decorating my room and making Christmas presents for my siblings. Do you know that I still do sometimes make Christmas presents for my siblings? They’re much more sophisticated, of course. Last year I made a comic for my sister. I’m still happy I did that.

 

The point is, I am glad that we can learn to wait, and even take some pleasure in the waiting. I think to anticipate something could be a good thing. We learn patience, and we enjoy it. I can… be moved to action while we wait, if that makes sense, when we anticipate something. And learning to do so… that’s a talent that’s hard to recognize we have sometimes.

Perfectionism

I really need to get rid of this whole perfectionism thing.

I thought I was done with it when I was in my teenage years, but not apparently. After all, perfectionists tend to be annoying, and I didn’t want to be like that (annoying and a hypocrite). But apparently I still struggle. I really hate making mistakes. I hate it when a presentation didn’t go the way I wanted to (like today), or I grade I didn’t want (A- or below), or my pizza crusts don’t turn out as good as Dad’s, or I say something stupid, whatever the case may be.

The fact of the matter is, It’s really not healthy for a fallible mortal to feel like there’s no room for error. Logically, it makes perfect sense. But sentimentally… I am too attached to the idea of perfectionism than is good for me and I don’t quite know how to fix it. Is it a simple matter of changing one’s mindset? I’m reluctant to do so for a number of reasons, but partially because my desire to do good has led to some pretty wonderful results, it’s only the idea of perfection that pulls me down. I consider that drive to be mostly a good thing, and I hate the thought of tempering it.

 

On a different note, let me tell you how I am right now. I’ve been working hard all week trying to stay on top of my schoolwork. It’s midterm time here in BYU-I (we have a different time table than most schools), and it’s been wearing me out. But at last I have made it to Friday, and I love the thought of  taking a break. I hesitate to do so, because I have so much work I have to do within the next week. But people need breaks.

Getting good grades is something of a two edged sword. If only I could create a little more distance between myself and external rewards.

Creative rivalry

I title this post ‘creative rivalry’ as opposed to ‘sibling rivalry’ because my sister may perchance to glance at the entry title.

It’s hard sometimes when you have creative siblings. I mean it’s wonderful, don’t get me wrong. They help inspire you and you can feed off of or bounce of of each other. Really, chances are if you have a creative sibling, you wouldn’t be at the place you’re at creatively without them. But there’s a hint of sibling rivalry in there too, which is part of why it works. I consider it a mortal weakness though, comparing oneself to others, but I have a hard time helping it. That’s why art classes are hard on me, I keep comparing my work to everyone else’s. I don’t know if I ever feel that to quite the same extent with other classes, but I know that with art at least I am sensitive.

I used to be the ‘artist’ in my family. I mean, yeah everyone else was into it a little bit, but they usually had their other ‘things’ that they specialized in. Some play instruments, some write, some are really into computers, and some are involved with multiple categories. I suppose in some ways I feel like my ‘territory’ is being threatened, then when they get to be as good an artist as me. Which is wrong, I know, but therein lies my tragic flaw (pride).

 

Part of it is that I don’t have time to retaliate. School has been occupying a great deal of time. I consider it a blessing and a mercy that I’ve been able to stay roughly on top of things, and I am grateful. Right now my plan is to revel in my academic success, continue at that high standard, not panic about how I’m going to level with my extended relatives on this big family vacation thing, and find time and ways to enjoy myself. I’ve been a bit more emotionally stable lately since I’ve been able to talk my problems out with my roommate, so now it’s a matter of getting sleep, making deadlines, getting work done, and having a good time.

Take over the world

Ah the ambition of youth. I don’t know if it’s naiveté or whatever, but sometimes one thinks one is just going to go out and conquer the world, take it by storm. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. One may as well harness one’s energy while they’re still young and motivated.

 

But I get ‘one of those days’ too, you know? I wake up in the morning and want nothing more than to go back to sleep same as most other people. I do my fair share of trudging through the day. Still… I don’t know, it just seems like there’s so much I could do with myself. Like I could reach heights I can’t even imagine. And I’ll do it a little bit at a time. First of all, I’m going to have a spanking good GPA. Then I’m going to have a game plan for this vacation thing, which so far mostly includes stock piling reading material. When the break hits, I am hopefully going to produce some more beautiful artwork, maybe find a little bit more direction regarding that. Moreover I intend to develop some of my other talents. Wouldn’t it be great if I actually wrote something? It would be a miracle if I could actually finish a story.

And I’ll be learning while I do my artwork. I know some great resources for watching documentaries and such, as well as just ‘for fun’ sort of things.

 

Things could turn out pretty amazing, couldn’t they? Why not? Amazing things happen after all. I mean, it could be like that Shakespeare quote couldn’t it? “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrown upon them.” So clearly, Greatness is no respecter of persons, and I qualify as much as anybody else. I just hope I’m willing to work and sacrifice what I need to. I don’t expect it to be easy, only possible and worthwhile. I guess I’m kinda hoping to do what I can while life is good and opportunities are out there.

Looking towards the end of the year. Again.

Well, it’s midterms here in Spring Semester of BYU-I. It’s a little stressful. It’s kinda nice to think it will be over soon though. I keep looking towards the end of the year. I can’t seem to help it. And that month or so of vacationing. It just seems so weird to me, I’m not used to big vacations and a month seems like a lot of time. It means that instead of having five months to work on becoming a better artist, I only have four. Will I be able to get much artwork done in that time? And just when I was beginning to get excited about what I could do now, presuming I haven’t lost my touch (an idea which I hold in semi-constant fear). Artwork takes me a long time, and since not all that I create is brilliant, I like to have time to do a fair amount of it, in hopes that there will be at least a couple of good ones in the bunch.

 

I suppose this’ll be the time I take the opportunity to catch up on my reading. Except that I won’t have access to a library and hate to spend money on books. So I might have to focus specifically on classic literature, since a lot of that is in the public domain and I can get it for free on my kindle. I’m thinking I’ll reread Alice and Wonderland (which I haven’t read since my last big road trip roughly eight years ago), and then we’ll see if I have the patience for… oh I don’t know. Jane Eyre or something. I also asked Mom to send me over some kindle editions of her books. One I haven’t read before, but I can  be sure it’s good because Mom wrote it (whether or not I like it is a different question, but I’m pretty confident I will enjoy it as well).

 

Who knows? Maybe I’ll actually enjoy this vacation. It’s not every day I get to travel around and to see extended relatives. Who’s to say I won’t like it? I wonder how my birthday is going to go. I’m so used to just having a small little family gathering, I have no idea what it will be like this time.

 

If nothing else, at least I won’t be waking up to go to a 6:30 a.m class. As adventurous as it is getting up that early four days a week, it will be something I will be glad to leave behind. Life just becomes all the sweeter for that simple thing alone. As for right now, I’m trying to handle life around midterms with a certain degree of optimism, and make a valiant attempt at cheerfulness. One has to keep one’s spirits up for the sake of one’s roommates and all that. Remember us well for our sacrifices, it will be we who save the world.