Wednesday, April 7, 2010
"When I was no longer a child..."
Podcast audio: The White Stripes "We're Going To Be Friends" from the album "White Blood Cells".
Little wonder some of us are so f#@&*$ up.
Do you remember back in Grade Six when you wrote a story/painted a picture/made an epic film? Okay, maybe only Lucas and Spielberg can relate to this last thing, but you get what I mean.
Do you remember doing something, anything, creative as a kid and then were made to get up in front of your class to present your magnum opus and everyone thought your story/painting/epic film was all that and a bag o' "Doritos"?
Then the teacher suggested that your story/painting/epic film be entered into some sort of contest and soon you and your fellow entrants were witness to your "brainchild of a child" appearing on display at a mall or on page eighty-four of the local paper? Do you remember getting some sort of prize like a ribbon or a flimsy piece of newsprint with a big-ass silver dollar stuck to it?
Well, I remember even if you don't, though you'd certainly be forgiven. Admittedly we are going back a bit. In fact the only thing I have to convince myself that this ever happened to me is a tarnished, out-of-circulation coin stuck to a crude drawing of a giant sperm whale fighting an octopi.
The picture was entitled "Fight To The Death" if I recall.
So, what am I on about here? Just this: although I barely remember this from childhood I certainly don't recall getting very much encouragement for doing creative stuff past Senior Elementary. Wanna know why?
It's because when High School rolled around all of your teachers, guidance councilors and (perish forbid) parents told you to put away the childish bullshit and start concentrating on your hard sciences and advanced math. I can't say that I blame them; they were only thinking of a practical future for you. But what if you wanted to roll the creative dice? What if you didn't give a crap about going into Business Administration or becoming a Dental Hygienist?
Here's what what a lot of you may remember: University reps coming to your school, being herded into the theatre/auditorium and then being subjected to endless hours of...
"Come to our school to start pre-Law."
"Apply to our institution to learn about exciting careers in Organic Chemistry."
"Send your transcripts and life savings to us and we'll give you all the skills required to run an 'Arby's' restaurant."
But not once did I recall hearing:
"You wanna make movies for a living? Talk to us."
"Do you have a novel locked up in that bright, l'il noggin? Right this way, sir or madam!"
"Have a hankerin' for acrylics and comic books? Step inside!"
So what happens if shy, mentorless kids don't have attractive career options presented to them in realistic but encouraging fashion? Paralysis. Drift. Resignation. Abandonment.
And what becomes of the child-like creative impulse I believe resides in each and every one of us? For most people it just disappears like someone airbrushed out of a politburo staff photo. People erase these fulfilling, universal pursuits we all collectively engaged in as children right out of their minds. They don't even bring it up. It's strangely Orwellian.
Why clutter up the drive to towards Fitness Trainer, Network Systems Analyst or Database Administrator with pie in the sky options? It's not worth it. We're just setting our kids up to fail.
But some of us would liked to have had the option to fail.
On a peppier note, I actually drew something yesterday. Besides being completely horrified by how my already feeble artistic skills had atrophied, I present the dubious results for your consideration:
In a related point, here's today's EPIC/FAIL...
EPIC: Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 1)