Sunday, July 15, 2012

Clichés and Courage

"Real courage is risking one's clichés.”
― Tom Robbins, Another Roadside Attraction

Be careful what you wish for... such a cliché. I shake my head at the ease with which I ignore a lesson my writing mentor, Marjorie Rommel, instilled in me; "Don't be cliché. Be an original."

Oh, but there are so many fun clichés out there champing at the bit and so little time, so let me bend your ear for a moment and indulge before we get down to brass tacks.

As luck would have it, I am back in the saddle again attending school and wishing the dog ate my homework.  I feel like I have hopped out of the frying pan and jumped into the fire.  Being a student is much harder than I imagined it would be. More fool I.

This week, I feel like I have bitten off more than I can chew.  The homework assignments are steamrolling over me at a hefty pace.  I barely have enough room to draw a breath. I imagine my teachers plotting and planning their next academic assault over an open fire, stirring a pot of "double, double toil and trouble; fire burn, and caldron bubble." (Shakespeare, MacBeth; The original original)
I know I can rise to the challenge and do the job right, but I do have my doubts.  Did I mention how hard it was shaping up to be all I can be? Maybe I could boost my spirits by telling myself "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger..."  Geez, I almost threw up on that one.

In all seriousness, I am thrilled and scared to my toes to be going back to school. It is so much more challenging than I thought it would be.  My fellow students seem so secure and skilled in this newfangled software we are learning.  I know I needed this desperately to deepen my understanding of the digital world, but it's moving so fast, it really knocks me for a loop.  My doubts land hard and heavy on my mind: what if everything I learned becomes obsolete before the year is out?  It has happened before.

The year I graduated from college in 1987, computers became the new black and hijacked my career. All the practical tools of the job I was an expert in, disappeared and were replaced by computer programs. No one was cutting rubylith for color separations, typesetting could be done by the receptionist, desktop publishing brought its own garish ease to the masses.  With a click of a little gray button, the computer could magically produce in minutes, documents that took me hours to create.

I rallied, though.  I soldiered on.  I bit the bullet and headed back to the drawing board!

I taught myself the programs I needed to become employable... just one year after achieving my BA in Graphic Design. I find myself awed by the power of technology. It amazes and excites me and I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to rediscover the art of Graphic Design in this shifting world of brain-bending discoveries. It boggles the mind, it does, when its not being difficult.

And now, I have come full circle, embracing the new, intricate, crazy technology within my reach. I am strong and grabbing the bull by the horns on this challenge of becoming a better designer and a more thoughtful artist. But, holy cow, its draining.

I fall in to bed at night exhausted because really, it's already the edge of tomorrow. I'm thankful to have a family that understands the total emotional and physical toll taken by creating art with passion and being a scosche of an overachiever... who rests the weight of the world on each assignment.

I told a fellow classmate that I had stayed up too late doing homework and I was exhausted.  She laughed and said "Four days into the quarter?  You're supposed to save that for the end."

I sometimes wish it was easier, wish I was easier, but that really isn't my style. I am a bit competitive.

When I hand my teacher the assignments... these are the times when it can be overwhelming to be so exposed.  To have the contents of my mind on display. To be given a value that tells me what my intellectual property is worth... taking no accounting of its value to me.

My success, when measured by me, is revealed to me when I complete a project that has claimed a large portion of real estate in my brain for hours, days or weeks. I don't always want to share the results of that residency, but I am compelled to seek out someone and wait for judgement. Some people are going to love my designs.  Some people will not. Everyone has an opinion and this year, mine isn't the only one that holds weight in matters of the art.

Living a creative life takes courage and I don't think that's cliché.

The Four Seasons © 2012 Darcy Cline             Bubbles © 2012 Darcy Cline   

1 comment:

  1. "A picture is worth a thousand words." But when I come here I get to enjoy BOTH your 'pictures' and your words. The best of both worlds. (Sometimes cliches are cliches for good reason.)
    These are two great pieces. I would love to see Bubbles in person soon. Can I? Can I? ~ B