The end of the week was a bit of a mess and then I rolled into the weekend still recovering. A lot of things came up that just…sent me to the bicycle to ride and ride and ride. Pulling together the script for the Shaman show certainly didn’t ease things up at all.
That said, the end of the week merely suffered from my first long bike ride. It took days to recover from that. I did another 30 or so miles, nice and easy on Saturday with that group and it was amazing how quickly my body shifted and adjusted. I actually wound up sitting on a stone wall and starting to write a blog but then people showed up and all that.
Which was good, sometimes what one needs is less talking and more sitting with.
In the middle of my impoverished state, life goes on. And as always the choice is buckle under and panic, or just keep going. Things are slowly getting better. I may be getting finishing funds for “the Demon” soon. Which I think I am finally ready to finish. I will be pulling the rough version off line in a week or two. I, under much advisement, am no longer placing it in the festival I had intended and am doing another one. One that the general consensus would be more open to it and a better thing in the long run. But that also means that I will be able to post the finished version, which is shorter, tighter and the sound is remastered.
I have been going through this sort of shift and realignment of late. Looking at what I am doing, seeing where things have drifted off course and making decisions about what I need to do to continue moving on. I have been involved with a lot of background things that I haven’t been talking about because…well…its just not right yet.
But a part of doing all this, a part of being an artist, heck a part of being anyone, is being able to constantly re-evaluate what you are doing and the plans you have made and recognizing that those plans were always made (for the future) from a place of absolute ignorance. One guesses and wishes for the outcome of what you choose to do, but really, making a plan only contains so much real knowledge. The rest of it is sort of fantasy. Being able to reground the beginnings of your plans in your changing knowledge is what makes things happen.
Projecting for the future is always fantasy, but developing the ability to constantly redefine your starting point is the beginning of growth. We know what soil we plant in, we have an idea of what flowers seeds promise, but how they will grow in response to weather we cannot predict is a crap shoot. Trying to cling to the “but its supposed to…” will do nothing but get you stunted plants.
I have had to cast around in the realms of higher education to try and gain yet a few more specific degrees and certifications for an upcoming project. Now, this has been interesting. I have talked with ooooohhhhhhh I think about 50 schools in the US and have been shocked and appalled at what they charge for even a graduate level certification. Even with distance learning options the majority of them want you to pay over 8 thousand dollars to take three courses.
I found out about Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and a few other countries. In these countries higher education is free. If you are accepted you only need to cover your cost of living and books. They also accept international students, and some of their programs are distance programs. Plus, their degrees are accepted in the US. So I have applied for a very specific degree in Sweden and we will see what will happen. The funny thing is the time frame. These places have a very no-nonsense approach to higher education. You do not take electives. You have one year to finish a masters and two for a PHd. One of the programs I am looking at you do not do a thesis, you have to create three whole classes that teach your thesis idea.
Camden NJ, one of the poorest and toughest cities in the US is getting ready to close all of its public libraries. Libraries that have one of the highest population use rates. But there is no money.
Education has become something that is not valued here. What we teach on a upper Bachelor’s and entrance graduate level many other countries are teaching in their senior grades of high school. Sweden and such can push for you to finish a masters in a year because not only do they not fool with non-degree electives, but they also expect that they will not have to train you in how to study or write a paper on a graduate level. Something that the majority of our graduate schools devote their first semester to teaching you.
The Pew center recently released new data and statistics on poverty and income in the US and it is disheartening. The gap between the rich and the poor has not been this wide since the Gilded Age. There is no classifiable upper middle class anymore. The middle class is going. 14,000 families in the US control 23% of all of our wealth.
The Pew center also evaluated an aspect of the American Dream for its veracity. The one where we believe that anyone, no matter where they are from or how poor they began, can rise through education and employment to join the ranks of the wealthy and influential. Not anymore, Pew says, statistics verify that unless you come from a certain history of wage earning and economic level you will never achieve those kinds of positions in the US. 14,000 families recognize their own.
And we are fed a kind of palliative medicine with the culture of celebrity.
Free education for all on all levels is the only thing that can begin to save us. And that statement comes with all that goes with it.
Lacking a national system that recognizes the importance of education there is nothing left to do but go educate yourself. It is out there. It is free. And it will even be accepted here where nothing means anything unless you have paid someone money to say it does.
I have started work on the City of Love again. I was trying to write it online so you could see more of my process but that has turned into a major little nightmare with websites eating portions etc and so forth. But it is currently pasted to my wall – with arrows and notes and all of that. I divvied it up into parts to make it more coherent and manageable. I am working on Part 1 now, taking a page from Leo Tolstoi and really going through and defining what each section is a metaphor of.
Life is good.
Life is complicated.
I found a quote I wrote down years ago (but of course, did not write down who it was from) that said “Life is complicated and difficult. The sooner you accept this, the sooner it will become less so.”
2010. Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.