Saturday, February 21, 2009

bringing a culmination of discontentia to the forefront

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Following the tour, I had the privilege of meeting with a professor Schmidt (Gary L. or Gary D.), of the English department, and I liked him. He had a crooked tooth and delicate laugh lines, and an office crammed with three or four walls of books (he's read every one). He had a type-writer, too - a plastic-y kind from the late 70's - and wrote on a certain model-'53 at home, so we chatted about type-writers for a bit and The Search for Ink Ribbons, and then moved on to things like creativity as a hobby vs. career and the difficulty in finding a balance. He surmised that if you have to create because you need to put bread on the table (a pet animation phrase, I've noticed) in order to support yourself, it sucks all the joy out of it, and I think this is my problem.

I have a love for creating. It can be a fascinating and exciting process, from the birthing of ideas and the mental stimulation of problem-solving to the final product. I want to create; it's compulsive, almost, and a very integral component of who I am, but I do not want to create because I have to, because my sustainence depends on it. The results of that would be both diminishing and draining, and the creative droughts since my studying at Sheridan are in all likelihood a testament to this. I have done very little personal work outside of school since entering the program (when I wrote in school I drew alot; now that I draw in school I write alot), and am therefore a little apprehensive as to how things would play out in a future work environment. I want to create and collaborate on things that are meaningful and relevant; something that exerts a deliberate and beneficial impact on its audience. If I take jobs simply to get by and the end results are deemed insignificant or inane, are the time and labour not in vain? If I take a job for monetary reasons but consider the product stupid or lame, where is the motivation? If I am a part of something that only adds to the noise, what is the use beyond a (questionable) self-advancement of learning-experience? After all, what is creation without meaning?

Taking jobs to 'put bread on the table' is terrible logic in itself; even hitmen need to eat. If my life (and life in general) is to have meaning and purpose, so then should my work - what I'm pouring my time into, beyond the mere reasons of scraping by. The professor, who has found a pleasant balance between writing and teaching, recounted the question of asking 'what did you want to be when you were six?' I believe I have always wanted to be an artist, but getting jobs to put bread on the table was never part of the equation in my mind. Call me a fantasizer, but whoring out your creativity for sustainence is not something I imagined doing.

Please understand - I like animation. There are some aspects of it I really enjoy. I absolutely love the process of making something move and act and feel and communicate, and the marvel of first seeing that movement upon completion. I'm just not certain at this point as to whether I could be content in making a career of it.