I am trying to make good on my promise to myself (and whoever out there might care) to post on the blog at least weekly. Not that anyone wants to read an "obligation" post or even that a post needs to be such a commitment. Then again, why try to predict why anyone reads these things or what they expect? (Oh God, I think that question might be a blogger cliche!)
This week I am buried under administrivia. It's all important work and I do care about it, but it all feels like so much distraction from what I really want to do. Digital art projects and opportunities for such are popping out of the woodwork. Feast or famine, as my mom would say.
Last night, I took time to attend a Faculty Association (union) workshop about preparing to go up for promotion to full professor. Not that I am anywhere close to considering that move, but it was a meal paid for with union dues and arguably information I needed to know. I appreciated that the workshop leaders reminded us that going up for full is a choice, and one that there are many legitimate reasons not to make. Sometimes we have other interests in our lives that consume our energies and yet do not produce that which the institution values or recognizes with promotion.
This next week I'll be pursuing one of those competing interests as I head out to the woods with some graduate students (friends, really) for my annual Spring Break backpacking trip. I've written and performed about these trips before, so it's probably wrong to characterize them as only a hobby interest. Still, this time it feels like more of an indulgence as I take the time for trekking trail away from all the other things I should and could be doing. In the end, though, the mental payback for this investment in my need for time outdoors will make it worth it -- even if I don't end up publishing about this one.
Meanwhile, around the edges of these busy days I still find time to do the occasional doodle or push a stylus around the graphics pad. I tend to reach a point in the day when I just can't do the labors of pedagogy and copy-editing manuscripts (mine or, more often, other's), when the right side of my brain craves color and pleasing form. So, I push away the piles of paper and push away the guilt at pushing them away, and I click on the relevant Adobe software that allows me some escape. And then, my shoulders relax and my spirit is lifted.
These colorful panels of abstract comics could be trees, could be spring's wildflowers finally pushing through hard ground and remnant snow. They are their own path through the woods, their own commitment to breath and beauty. Whether they lead to something anyone one at this institution cares about is hardly the point. They lead me back to myself, to a sense of identification with the aesthetic. And sometimes, I think the "stolen" moments to walk this path are all the more precious for being stolen, for being that time when I reach the end of my ability to meet obligation and must, instead, meet my own needs to play and, well, re-create myself in recreation.
So yes, this is a bitching-post about how I wish I wasn't so tied down with obligation, about how I wish I had more time to do art. Yawn. But it is also a sharing of art, in words and colored pixels. Because I'm not the guy who laments he doesn't have time to do art. I'm the guy who does it anyway, in and around the edges of these very full days.
And now it's time to pack up some brushes and head to the woods.