Monday, March 18, 2013

Sometimes a great notion...

Okay, I'll officially admit it: Taking 9 hours this semester at Texas State was a bad idea. No, not just a bad idea, but rather a horrendously disastrous train wreck of an idea that is now and will continue to inflict untold suffering on me for the next two months.

I'm regretting every moment of it.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Four years ago I took nine hours. Loved it. Pulled a 4.0. Yes, I worked hard and put in long hours, but I came out of classes enthused and inspired. Now, I come out of classes drained, beaten and exhausted. To make matters worse, I'm not learning anything. Well, I'm learning a few things, but nothing of any real value to me. Basic Drawing, one of the fine arts prerequisite courses I have to take, is killing me. I took the other one, 2D design, four years ago and did well. It was fun, if time consuming. Drawing class is not fun. In fact, it sucks all the fun out of art. It is entirely technical, repetitious and utterly non-creative. It exists to instill theory and the use of various media and techniques on art students who will go on to use these in more advanced classes. Which I won't. This class is grinding me down under its relentless onslaught of out-of-class assignments, and in-class assignments are just as demanding. Despite it all, I have a B average in the class, which is okay, I suppose, but my goal is to make an A. That may be out of reach.

The other two classes, Digital Photography and Advanced Traditional Photography, are significant disappointments as well. We're not learning any new skills. The prof in digital seems intent on training everyone in the class to become photographers in the mold of William Eggleston, whose work I absolutely loathe. And the assignments and grading thereof are growing increasingly vague and arbitrary. The advanced traditional course is little better, with vague and ill-defined assignments being the norm, but with a heavy dose of fortune-cookie philosophy thrown in and repeated every time a significant question is raised. I'm carrying Bs in both of those, despite spending hours in the development lab and in Photoshop to get the prints perfect, only to be dismissed by the prof saying, "It doesn't look like this took much effort."

I didn't need these classes. I wanted them. I wanted to learn, and become a better photographer. That's not happening. The only growth I'm making as a photographer is coming from within, forcing myself to experiment and try new things on my own. Which, you know, I was doing already before I took these classes. I'm taking 9 hours, which are making me miserable, while maintaining a 40 hour work week. I did that four years ago, but the classes made it worth it. Not this time. My kids are four years older, and all are involved in extra-curricular activities. So there's much rushing and racing to get them where they need to be after school. And The Wife's photography business was just a crazy idea four years ago, whereas now it's one of the busiest photography studios in the tri-county area with her working more than full time and needing me more and more to second shoot as the busy wedding season kicks up. Hell, I'm so pressed for time with classes that I'm missing the George R.R. Martin "Deeper Than Swords" shindig at A&M this week--and that's something I'd normally have a front-row seat for ordinarily. And then there's the whole guardianship issues with my grandmother who's suffering from late-onset Alzheimer's and has been robbed blind by one particularly sleazy con artist. So I've had to deal with those legal issues--which decided to come to a head this semester--whilst simultaneously having all parties bitch at me about all the mistakes I've made and how I'm doing it wrong.

Remember my writing? Yeah, me neither. First reader feedback has come back on the Chicken Ranch book, but I haven't had time to do more than cursory edits on chapter 1. Forget about any fiction, or magazine article proposals. I'm in a state of continual physical and mental exhaustion. My back and shoulders are in a perpetual state of knotted constrictions, so much so I expect my bones to begin crumbling any day.

So, yeah. Big mistake, these classes. The sad thing is, the courses I took four years ago were not only fun, they taught me a lot and made me a better photographer. Somewhere along the line, I outstripped what the university offered. Wish I'd known then what I know now. If I survive these next two months, rest assured I won't make this mistake again.

Now Playing: The Kinks Kinda Kinks
Chicken Ranch Central

No comments:

Post a Comment