Sunday, February 3, 2008

Pondering the Future

I followed up on a movie tip I received recently and checked out Christian Bale in Equilibrium, a 2002 flick about a society in which everyone is "dosed" with a medication that renders them unable to feel any kind of emotion (though they certainly seemed to have snaps of anger). Anyone suspected of "sense offenses" was arrested and exterminated in the city incinerator or shot on sight.

It had very good martial arts moves that reminded me of The Matrix. Though sci-fi isn't my genre, seeing the cleric and the police discovering and destroying artwork (the Mona Lisa) in the opening sequence touched a deep part of me. What if there was no art?

Part of me has really struggled with this during my life. I don't come from a family of art appreciators, or I should say fine art appreciators. But my father was a guitar player, which is an art form. He played country music, which some would argue is not an art form :-) He also loved to doodle and sketch. He used to draw political cartoons on his legal pads while talking to clients (for his construction business). His whole life became something he never intended for it to be. He swallowed his art and instead worked like a madman to support a family of seven. My mother liked pretty but simple things. She loved to read, mostly romance novels. They were her escape. One of my brothers had the talent to turn a phrase neatly and was a favorite of his high school English teacher, but he went into the computer industry. My other brother has an immense talent for art and has done some amazing sketches and scrimshaw. He never pursued it, though, choosing to spend his 20 years in the USAF and suffer with Gulf War illness for his trouble. My older sister has an amazing eye for design, and the younger sister - well, she fell far from the art tree.

No fine arts, though. No opera, museums, etc. No ballet.

I was told at a young age that I had a talent for writing and should pursue that. Oh my, how long it has taken me to accept it! I have pursued everything except writing for most of my life. I wanted to go into the Navy and be the first woman allowed into male fields, such as nuclear energy. I got married instead to a Marine. (Love you, honey!) I wanted to go to college but couldn't find the money. I considered being a doctor or a therapist. Instead I had my two children and went on to work in the computer industry. Writing kept breaking through, though, and at every job I seemed to find opportunity to use my skills. Eventually, I wrote two engineering books and moved into technical writing. Yes, Stephen King would say that isn't really writing from the heart, but it puts food on the table.

Since going back to college at age 40, though, I've started hauling my inner writer to the forefront. I got my degree in technical communications and, after one false foray into grad school, have applied to American University's MFA/Creative Writing program. One of my letters of recommendation (from a former professor) points out that this is a sign that I am able to take risks, because although I could pursue technical communications (or psychology, as my major started out), I have chosen to go with my artistic talents.

Now I'm contemplating what it is going to be like to be back in school, this time in face-to-face classes rather than online. I'm contemplating working full-time and going to school full-time again. I'm thinking about things like where I'll squeeze out some time to clean house, write for pleasure, or just hang out at the book store. But I know that no matter how difficult this might seem here at the starting gate (actually...I'm waiting to be I guess I'm not at the starting gate just yet), it is the right path. The world needs more art.

This violent, hurried, stressed-out world definitely needs a good book waiting on the nightstand. It needs the whole range of human emotions. It needs whatever we humans are driven to create.

And so I'm off to drink another cup of coffee and maybe write a page or two before the household is up and about.

Have a joyous Sunday....Peace - D

1 comment:

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Yeah! Glad you watched the movie! It always upsets me to see artwork/books destroyed in movies and stories. When the Taliban blew up the Buddha statues in 2001, I was heartbroken. To see history and art destroyed so heartlessly is disturbing to me.

Keep writing because you do it so well!