Following on from my last post (of Harry's art), some thoughts have been kindled and I'm just feeling... like... the word I'm searching for has run away, but to be stark, I'm sad and scared. Many of my best friends from home have gone to University to study creative subjects - be it Illustration, Photography, Fine Art, Graphics, Music, etc - and to see them developing their styles and just creating is so inspiring to me, yet it makes me wish I'd chosen to study a creative subject at University as well.
It was such a difficult decision for me to make, which degree to choose, being torn between English, Fine Art and Photography. I chose English Literature in the end. Presently, I only have a few months left of my degree, so it's a bit late to be rethinking things now. But I can't help feeling like I could have been mistaken in thinking I would enjoy studying Literature more.
Maybe I'm feeling this way as University hasn't been what I expected it to be. It hasn't offered me room for creative growth, or steps into any particular industry. I haven't made the circle of bookish friends I thought I would, I haven't really got close to anyone. I don't live in a city I like, I feel stifled here, like there's nothing going on that I care about and that everything is so small and pretentious and pseudo cool when really it's just plain boring and self-conscious.
I think I know that in my life I want to be involved in a creative industry - writing, art, photography, music - and I know that I want to be successful, but I feel so far away from the door to get my foot in, the door isn't even in the room, it's locked and there isn't a key and it's ten stories away, and then it's in a room full of other locked doors that all look the same and how am I meant to know which one to try and put my foot through. So I feel a bit loose and detached, going around in circles, and not really getting anywhere. Not knowing how to get anywhere.
Studying English Literature has been an endless slog of pressurized reading that I largely don't enjoy, punctuated occasionally - very occasionally - by the inspiration and elation I get when reading something that sparks my imagination. I've complained about my degree a lot; I can never keep up with the reading (not that I haven't tried - it's just mentally impossible for me to sit and read something that I don't want to read, can't read, don't understand, don't enjoy, for any prolonged length of time); or, I've felt it was just ok, it's ok, it's going ok, it'll be ok, yeah, I'm ok. Any passionate advocation of my degree has been few and far between, and when it happens it's an intense relief, a sudden affirmation of meaningfulness. A sudden light showing me that what I am doing has a point. That my imagination is still there, that I do still get excited about creating. At times like that I feel so strong and so capable, but then, it goes, the inspiration vanishes, poosh, and I realise I still have that other reading to do which I don't like and know deep down that I won't do, so the guilt comes back, and I remember I have no money and it feels like it'll be this way forever, and I look at my drawings and think how small and alone they are, and I think about all the things I want to do and wonder if I'll ever get to do any of them. What do I love about my degree? I love 10% of the reading. I love seminars because we get to talk together, and other ways of looking emerge to me and it feels like we're all in this together, and it's amazing to muse on the breadth and depth of this collection of words we are looking at. I love lectures, I love the ritual of them, sitting there in my glasses, and I love lectures more now that I can be writing notes so fast my writing looks like complete shit, but I'm still managing to listen to what the lecturer is saying. I used to love getting the train onto campus when I lived near the station, but now I have to get the bus, and I hate that. So anyway, there are times when I feel like what I'm doing is right, basically when I'm on campus with everyone, with the bustle and atmosphere of learning around me. It's just the week in between where I am left to my own devices that I begin to fail and flap and question my abilities and feel no passion for this huge investment, of my life and time and finances.
I know that Literature is my object of study, and to some extent the subject of your study is always going to be stressful as it's framed by academia and hoops to jump through. So I am aware of the grass is always greener syndrome, where I'm imagining studying something else and picturing it more enjoyable and more soul-nourishing, and not imagining the real stress of it because how can I know, having never done it, what the stress would be like? I just feel, strongly, that I'm nearly a graduate, and what will I do afterwards, where will I go? where can I go? how have I been prepared by my degree to go forwards? I feel like I'm behind already, behind the starting blocks, I'm not ready to move in any of the directions I want to go. I know that I'm young but I also feel scared that I'm not that young and I haven't even started to move towards my goals, and I don't even know where to go. I haven't had the facilities or the teachers or the social group of an arts school so I don't know how to enter this world, I don't know where these places and people are in Brighton, I don't know how to get there, how to meet them.
I just love making art with my friends you know? It feels like you're part of something. I miss it. I miss working in a studio and working on big canvases, paintings. I miss sculpture, making clay sculptures. I miss colour and shapes and texture. I miss playing the piano and learning new ways of playing and expressing myself through music. I miss the darkrooms at college and the days I spent in their developing photos, all of us noticing each others work, encouraging each other, doing shoots together. I just miss expressing myself. I can't deal with not expressing myself. At the moment, it's not really happening. I can't find a way to really get into in a Literature essay, minus the times I talked about poetry and art. Ah, for fuck's sake.