Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Graduates Week & Art
"I'm on a boat!"...This week marked the beginning of Graduates Week--a tradition we have been and still are attempting to instill in the life of Ave Maria University. The completion of a degree at any University is arguably honorable, but at Ave Maria--a small, private university in the Catholic Tradition-- the liberal arts degree is especially honorable. The "rigorous academic life" has done great damage to my contemporary and modern way of thinking, drawn me out of myself and allowed me to see the truth through a new light. To honor those who have bravely and persistently made their ways to receiving a Bachelors degree, the Student Government Association deems it fitting to organize and pay for a series of events, "Graduates Week."
Our week kicked off with a boat cruise out of Marco Island's cruise ship the Princess. About 60 of our 87 graduating seniors made the trip, and while fears of awkwardness at being limited to such small confinements with my class were at my door, it proved to be super relaxing and very enjoyable.
I can't seem to kick this state of relaxation I've been in the last few weeks since I finished my thesis! Suddenly nothing else really carries weight enough to bring me to study and my time has been ticking away filled with random and seemingly insignificant affairs (such as naps, random letters, and what not). Recently a friend of mine has told me numerous times that this time is just going to fly by and that before I know it, I'll be where he is, "willing to give my back teeth to go back and do it again." Throughout the past month, my feelings have gone from one to the other, from excitement to be finally finishing this (the goal at the end of the dark tunnel since freshman year), to sadness and wonder about what life will be like after this. I've spent and invested so much time in the friendships I've had here, and now after 4 years--we will all be going our separate ways. I feel torn--between a call to better-ness and a carefree denial. "Now's the time," so to speak. What do I want? How will I be happy? What are my desires? ...And this brings me to Art.
All that I've read about much-loved authors lately is how lonely, sad and depressing their lives were! They enter my mind as horror stories, as I try to fathom the loneliness of the life of the writer and wonder if its true, across the board, that writers simply lead lives like these. If I commit to something so daring as writing, am I destined to that horribly lonely life, accompanied by many misfortunes and difficulties that deepend and actualize the writing of those people?! Ugh.
Mark Jarman, in his address The Voice of this Calling: Art as Vocation, writes, "Rather, the voice we have heard simply confirms our gift. If anything the voice of our calling urges us to take our God-given talent seriously. It is the happy confirmation of our dearest desires...We have the luck to follow our impulses to create, to live lives which, while we are making art, can be as a sculptor friend of mine has said, "like living in a dream." Art as a vocation, then, has everything to do with how we live our lives. For if that daily reverie we experience when absorbed in writing or painting or composing, that "living in a dream," tends to cut us off from the rest of the world--and it does, as we all know--nevertheless, it cannot be sustained. The world will be waiting, just as surely as it will when we all return to our homes at the end of this week. All of us, I am sure, have organized our lives in a way that allows for successful passage between the dream of our vocation and the world. I wont' say "the real world" because I think the phrase tends implicitly to privilege a realm where life is nasty, brutish, and short. Instead I am thinking of the world that needs our attention and our love. That's the world we must always return to, and if we think because of some privilege as artists that we hvae risen above it, we are mistaken. Our souls are connected to the world as surely as they are connected to God." (I apologize for the length).
Perhaps the lives of writers aren't that different from everyone else's lives--it's just we hear about the lives of writers, and we not only hear about them, but we read it in between the lines of thier works. And there is something that resonates, because we are a suffering humanity. I don't know yet...but before this note turns horribly too meloncholic and ruins what is the apropos mood for the last month of college life, I'm going to stop (writer that I am?!).