Midnight Worries 

Another night that I can't sleep all of the way through. This time, I am pretty sure I was awakened by the sound of my glasses hitting the floor, and the initial grogginess I felt wore off after a few minutes of searching for them under the bed. The culprit, as if I didn't know immediately when I heard the report of the frames bouncing on the ground, was one of the four cats living in my room at the moment. You know, cats are great in small doses, but for extended periods of time, they become like pebbles in your shoe: an irritant.

As for the Court I attended the other day (mentioned in my previous post), although it was very interesting, ultimately, it was also very disappointing. I discovered halfway through this process, that thanks to the State Legislature, if one gets a fine within a school zone, it cannot be reduced by the judge at all, which of course meant that I had to pay the full amount of the ticket, $206. The judge noted my driving record was immaculate up until the school zone ticket, further noted that my violation wasn't all that extreme anyway, and expressed his own frustration at not being able to reduce fines for cases like mine. (However, I'm not entirely sure if he was really frustrated, or if he was just putting on the show for the others in the courtroom and saying that he was frustrated to make me feel better for not reducing the ticket.) Overall, I did worse than the elderly lady who forgot her disability permit to park in a disabled space--a potential high dollar fine of which she only had to pay $20--and I did much, much better than the Mexican guy who, because of previous fines and violations, is likely to spend some time in jail. I felt bad for him because he seemed very worried.

School is going okay at the moment, but to be perfectly honest, I think I am feeling the wear of the appearance of not making any progress. It is like the hope and optimism I had for a comfortable future is being ground into a fine powder against the twin rocks of debt and my previous failure to complete graduate school as I would have liked. At this point in my life, mid-thirties, I imagined that I would be in a decent paying career, have health insurance, a nice apartment, and have a healthy savings account. Of course, I am still grateful for the continuing support that I have to actually pursue a new school path, a place where I am trying to build new hope as an artist rather than an instructor. However, all I have to do is think about the talented art students in my current drawing classes and see the evidence of even more talented students who have already completed the program to feel a lot of trepidation about the future viability of this new path. My talent for art maybe nothing more than a mediocre skill easily attained by others who have more energy and devotion. And in the highly competitive art job market, competitive as all jobs in the humanities are, you have to really stand out above the rest. I think my best hope for a career most likely lies in the ability to learn how to operate software like Photoshop, and not in the ability to create a work of art with the lyricism of craft. And as fast as computers change these days, my meager skills with Photoshop can disappear with the advent a new software standard, or more profoundly, a new technology.

I think about all the kids who wanted to be in the NBA compared the minuscule amount of kids who actually made it. Hoop Dreams, anyone? Or, I think about all of the kids I've met in the college who want to become famous movie directors. Their hopes far exceed their potential, but they don't know it yet. The film students who have any kind of experience in film making, however modest it may be, tend to keep these hopes secret knowing what an embarrassment that their foolish hopes can be. In the Literature world, it is like everyone who wants to write a novel, imagining the millions of dollars that will flood in when they do, but never put a word to page, or worse, never read a book--or if they do manage to tap something out on their laptops, cannot make even a simple sentence bend to their will, much less come to life.

I will try to get back to sleep for a little bit. School is in a few short hours. I will continue to go and put my time in there as it is my best hope for a brighter future, and I will try to remain optimistic about future success. But in the dark night of the early morning hours, optimism is a much tougher thing to hold on to than it is in the daylight.

02 May 2007
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