Thursday, September 20, 2012

Artistic Resuscitation

Four score and a couple of blogs ago, I was in a bit of an artistic funk.  Despite a dear friend telling me just to "be creative again," the wall was up and wouldn't budge. 

The longer I'm not creative, the more time I spend away from expressing myself in that way, the more I feel a sense of loss.  Even though I was far from the mood, I forced myself to get back "out there" and do something.  After all, this year is supposed to be the year I reach out of my comfort zone and explore different avenues, possibilities, and opportunities.

Last week, I was talking to some theater students after class, telling them how I missed being on the stage.  They told me to check out the theater department and try to get involved again (simple, and yet, it was something I had shied away from).  Right after class, I decided to go to our theater department's website.  I read through various profiles and chose one professor that I could talk to.  I wasn't entirely sure what the discussion was going to be about.  I mean, I had some general ideas about getting back on stage, maybe seeing my play produced professionally, etc., but the plan was just to move forward...with anything creative.  We did meet for lunch just a few days later, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an upcoming production of my work.  But really, it just felt good to "talk theater" again.

Tonight was no different.  I had the privilege of driving a visiting professor to dinner.  His specialization is in both Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed and in LGBT young adult lit.  The connection makes perfect sense, but it is not one I had previously made.  I have taught Boal to my underclassmen before, and on separate occasions I have taught LGBT drama and film.  What excited me is that there is still room for exploration on the stage that has yet to be discovered.  Why do we have films, TV shows, and plays about the LGBT community but little, if any, that deal directly with, and feature, the youth?  Simply put, it's the controversy that surrounds this subject matter.  It's alive and well.  But the possibilities...the possibilities are, too.

I don't know what will come out of either of these meetings.  What I do know is that the wall is finally beginning to budge.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Roses for Bobby C

I've often told friends of mine that I have a hard time remembering my teachers during my time as an undergraduate student; this is not the case when it comes to graduate school.

I learned today that one of my former professors, Dr. Barbara Cicardo, passed away.

Now, Dr. Cicardo was a pretty amazing woman.  It seemed that she had read just about everything, and her memory was unlike anything I've ever seen.  Unless I've read a book more than once or taught it, I'm lucky if I can detail the plot for you a few months later.  But Dr. Cicardo could remember what she read during elementary school and tell you details as if she had just closed the cover...well into her 70's. 

I took a few classes with Dr. Cicardo to prepare myself for my early American literature comprehensive exam.  One such class was on the American Eve, an interesting study in women's roles in 18th and early 19th century texts.  The class was once a week for three hours.  Filling up a three-hour lecture is no easy task; but if you were Barbara Cicardo, this was done with ease.  Not even laryngitis stopped her.  One night she actually wrote the lecture on the board in between whispers. 

If you needed to stop into her office, her door was always open.  Joke was, you would need to pencil in about an hour of your time.  She wouldn't just want to talk to you about literature.  She'd want to talk to you about life in general.  About her sister.  About her youth.  About her day.

A handful of graduate students affectionately called her Bobby C., but you knew better than to address her as anything other than Dr. Cicardo in class and in the hallways.  She told us that she had earned her title and she was proud of it.

So, Dr. Cicardo, here's to you.  I hope my career in academia lasts the length of yours, and I thank you for the time you dedicated to us over the years.




Monday, September 10, 2012

Artistic Insecurity

Tonight I found myself googling:  "artists and insecurity."  Yep.  I'm having one of those days.  And it led me to wonder how people overcome this, because I know I'm not alone.  One blogger posed the question:

" what extent [does] insecurity drive creativity, and when [does] insecurity actually undermine creativity"? (Ross).

I know the "when" answer to the latter part of that question...what I am still searching for is a solution to the "how."  (Love the line in The Beatles song "Something" when George sings, "You know I believe in how.")  How it undermines creativity is that it can stop it from happening altogether. do you fix that...stop that from taking hold? 

I am surrounded by truly talented and overwhelmingly productive artists, and somewhere in that space, I question my own creative movement(s)...slow...and resting.

So...I welcome your thoughts.