Replied to Alex's email in the morning. He is perhaps the most suitable digital pen pal I could ever have, and I am very happy he reached out to me first. Maintaining long-distance friendships can be a struggle — letter writing, though makes it much easier.
I had my lighting class today. I was very unresponsive for the first third of class — I couldn't stop yawning, and I was retaining almost none of the information. (Very, very technical information, too! Lighting is so hard!) But then I had a cup of coffee, and it was like I was brought from the womb into the world for the first time. I suddenly felt alive, human, lucid, conscious. I suddenly felt a personality, emerging from a shell encased in sleepiness. I do not consider myself to be an extrovert; rather, I am someone who requires a lot of stimulation to maintain lucidity. I am perpetually on the edge of sleep, and coffee is the only relief I have from this terrible neurological circumstance.
So yeah, learned a lot about lighting. The awfulness of three-point lighting, the qualities of "drawing" with light, the different types of lights and temperatures and all their hundreds of uses for different situations. I've retained about 10% of what I learned.
After class, I read "The Sound and the Fury" and have almost finished a chapter. I found a nice sculpture to sit on outside — it's like a really uncomfortable metal rocking chair with a little placard on the central table that prevents sitters from casually propping their feet up on the art. (A travesty. But I did it anyway.)
I've been listening to a lot of Boby Dylan. What took me so long to start listening to him? Why is my fear of unoriginality so great that I avoided one of the greatest songwriters of all time? To, paradoxically, be cool in my ignorance? I am an idiot. I wonder what else I've been missing out on. (Not Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young — they are actually kind of boring. I guess probably Nirvana. I've never listened to them, apart from Smells like Teen Spirit. There is SO MUCH TO DO.)
After reading I explored Nicollet neighborhoods to photograph some houses in low-lighting. Photography is such a physical art. Animation consists of sitting alone in dark rooms. Almost every other form of art requires some strength, dexterity, athleticism, or at least superior awareness of the mind-body connection, and I'm not used to making art that makes my heart race, or makes me sweat. Nevertheless. Photography is so technical, and I lack the most important virtue for success in this medium: patience. My tripod was fucked up, and I was having the hardest time clipping the camera onto the tripod. It didn't help that I had to walk around with all my equipment, trying to find suitable places to photograph, and realize, only after setting everything up, that the angle was all wrong, or the subject wasn't nearly as interesting through a viewfinder, and I had to pack up and re-scout for another shooting location.
It took me an hour and a half to get one decent photo. And it's barely decent — I composed it completely improperly in camera, and since we're not allowed to crop our photos, I will probably have to go out and reshoot. What a hassle. I have to take THREE photos, god.
I do value the skills that I am learning through this class, though, and I like the teacher. So these two things are what keeps me going when I definitely have better things to do.
Oh yeah, something super weird happened to me today. In the stairwell, right after I'd gotten out of class, Katinka Galanos (my old Media 2 teacher) stopped me and called me by my name. I must have look confused when I saw her, because she definitely knew that I had no idea who she was. Anyway, she asked me how I was doing and if I was still an animation major, and then I told her that I was actually graduating this semester (IT FEELS SO GOOD TO SAY IT) and she high-fived me and said that she really looked forward to seeing my work. I didn't see her at all last year and I'm really surprised she even remembers my face, much less my name or my work. Like, wut. But, uh, the narcissist in me loves it, even though I'm kind of like...confused about the whole interaction. I guess it's good that I've made a name for myself somewhat at MCAD. Perhaps I will have a surviving legacy, like Andrew Chesworth, that sacrificial lamb of the MCAD animation department.
But anyway. I got really tired after crawling on gravel to capture that elusive ~perfect shot~ (which I never did manage to get), and I started to get really hungry. So I went to that Jamaican place again and ordered the empanada-type thing (along with coleslaw, which was a little nauseating after my fiftieth bite — fuck vegetables, you look so beautiful but taste so bad and always leave me unsatisfied, WHY CAN'T YOU BE HEALTHY, BEAUTIFUL, AND DELICIOUS???). I also listened to an episode of the philosophy podcast while eating alone. Good times.
Then I chatted with B. He was particularly funny today. It's nice being able to talk about things that we both have an interest in, like The Office, or entry-level philosophy, or Sumerians. Maybe one day I'll introduce him to the world of experimental animation. I miss him and wish we could party together.
Something I've been thinking about: after reading "Everything is Illuminated," I've started feeling much less like an artistic individual with a voice/mind that can part heaven and earth, and more like a person who has willingly joined the long line of artists and storytellers, winding all the way back to the beginning of humanity, of time. There's a lot less pressure if I assume a role instead of attempt to carve a distinct voice among the screaming hoarde of "creatives." I think it's best to imagine my favorite artists as people I would have liked to be friends with. Maybe not on a personal level, but on an enriching-level. Maybe, then, just people I would follow on Instagram. And I am not an earth-shatteringly important individual; I am part of a larger collective, a tradition. I am here to perpetuate this tradition, assimilate it into the modern world. I'm trying to express this feeling but it's a little difficult. I guess what I'm trying to say is that losing myself in the work of others, the collective art created by humanity as a whole, is far more rewarding than solipsism (which is, at times, publicly praised, but should not be). Maybe I'm just a communist. A creative communist.
I talked with B about Carlos. Speaking of enriching. I asked if he trusted Carlos. He said no. I asked if he ever trusted Ben. He said that he used to. I asked if he trusted me. He said yes. What does this mean? I asked if you could consider someone a "true friend" if you could not trust them. He said that I have a romanticized perception of friendships, influenced by television (spcifically television, I guess). I don't know how true this is. He then said that Aristotle had categories of friendship (he had categories for everything, didn't he? Did he just love making lists and charts?), one of which defines friendship as a relationship with a person that is intellectually and emotionally enriching. I suppose Carlos can be emotionally and intellectually enriching. But I cannot trust him. Therefore, I cannot consider him a true friend. As much as I would love to, as much as I want to honor our history with this label of "truth," I can't, no matter how tempting it is. Fundamentally, if I can't trust him, then we cannot be true friends. We can only be acquaintances with a history. We can be weed-smoking buddies, or movie-watching buddies, or food-eating buddies. I guess the older we become, the more likely friendships are forged as a consequence of circumstance. But even so, there must still be that tacit understanding of trust — as in, we both go bowling every Sunday, and while I sure as hell wouldn't pick up Jill from the airport, I would pick you, Janet, from the airport, or from the side of the road after an attempted abduction, or from the hospital. It's so stupid to say, but I've thought about the people who would visit me in the hospital if I was in some horrific accident. Not really in a narcissitic way, but more as a test. Like, who passes? Brian. My family. Would Carlos? Leanne wouldn't, and if she did, it would only be out of guilt. Would Carlos? Ameesha probably would. A group of kids from MCAD might, if they decided to go together. But would Carlos? Or would it be "too much pressure" for him?
I guess I'm being too emotional about this. If the interaction is enjoyable, then there is a friendship. I think this could be the last straw, though. Not because of repetition, and an arbitrary decision that this must be the final mistake. But rather because I am older and have lived through successful and unsuccessful relationships, and I must sever anything that is less enriching and more soul-sucking.
I keep referring to myself as being "older." I'm only 21. But I guess everything from here on out is just relative to the past, not a brave new foray into the great unknown, built on transcendent epiphany after epiphany. Now, things are merely successive, and the present is composed of reflections.