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Three-headed Chimera on my shoulder

Chimera on my Shoulder - The more interesting side of a self portrait oil painting I did in one of my college art classes.

Alas, college got the better of my attention last year. And as a college student, I was faced with roommates with whom you may or may not share anything even remotely similar in habits, likes, dislikes, quirks, noise levels, sleeping schedules, languages, or adherence to natural laws. Faced with the mobs that stream in toward the campus every morning, in careening vehicle or absent pedestrian or–the most terrifying, the bicyclist. Whether you’re walking or driving, the bicyclist is the one you have to watch out for. Fast, silent, and completely unpredictable, given to sudden veers into traffic; or the stealthy attack from behind, shooting past you as you begin to execute a turn in the direction of their flight path. It made for a very exciting, nerve-wracking beginning to each day. Then there was the food. Cheap food, which fills the belly but leaves the body hollow, making the mind sluggish as it tries to fill the empty sack of nutrient-deprived body. That alone can make the world more daunting to confront and conquer.

Then, of course, there were the actual classes. Those weren’t actually so bad. It was the homework that was the killer. Killer of time, enthusiasm, sleep, circadian rhythms, hope, and brain cells. It’s homework that makes college truly notorious. That and the ever-present, ever-growing hole in the bank under the sign inscribed with your name. But that’s besides my point. As a senior working toward the looming and yet still illusive graduation, my classes had been issuing truly nefarious homework. Much of it was in the form of studying, which is even more painful because of its self-inflicted nature. Worksheets you can complete and turn in to be graded, but studying depends on how much you yourself believe you know the material. Even once you know it, it doesn’t hurt to go over it again–and again–just to be safe.

Then on top of it all, I moved across town in the middle of a quarter. Amidst the classes, the homework, the part time job. Amidst a whole lot of other stresses I thank God to have passed safely through and shaken off my feet. Then more classes, and a spring break that was delightfully void of anything that could be considered scholarly productive.

But I prevailed. I reached the illusive day of graduation on three blinks of sleep in a finals-studying after-haze, stumbled through the walking and the smiles and the pictures. The fact that I was done with school wouldn’t sink in for a few days, and then it was drowned out by the daunting task of finding a job in a less than stellar job market. But God provided, and two months later I moved to another city and began working as a microbiologist in July. Then, of course, was the brain consuming exhaustion of learning a new job and settling into a new life in a new city after a lifetime of going to school. One of those perfectly normal turn-your-world-sideways-for-a-few-months sort of experiences everyone goes through. But really, it wasn’t bad. But it didn’t leave much time for blogging.

2011 was the year of changes, for sure. But now things are more settled, and I hope to pursue more of my artistic hobbies. I’m also writing a book, which also takes up quite a bit of my free time, but there is always the call inside me to create something more visual. Especially when it comes to creating the images from my story (like the chimeras in the painting and my banner above). Which is pretty geeky, I admit. I write “speculative fiction,” which is a sneaky, literary way of saying I write fantasy. In addition to creating art, I also like to create new lands, people, cultures, plant and animal species, myths and legends, languages, and whatever else a world needs to be convincing–or at least somewhat functional. Someday I will pursue publication, but at this time neither my story nor my writing craft is ready to be read by anyone but the poor but amazing souls who are kind enough to read bits of my story or listen to me ramble about it.

Anyhow, I hope to be posting some more things soon. I did manage to do a little in the past year, so I’ll try to get a few of those up. A few painted rocks, a few paintings, and I’ve started making bookmarks which I’m pretty excited about…

God Bless,