The weather is gorgeous this morning; sunny and blue skies, there is a hint of a chill in the air.
I am so ready for fall.
Date: August 4, 2013
Days Spent on Project: 168
Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC
Person I would have sent it to: Professor Garhart.
On that first day of Freshmen Orientation, it was scheduled that an upperclassman advisor would “take us out to dinner” at an all first year meal, then we would all walk together to meet our assigned faculty advisor, who would guide us through choosing classes and understanding college expectations.
I was assigned into a group of four. I was already declaring that I would major in Drama. The other boy in the group was an athlete, from what I remember; details about the other two students, both girls, have escaped my memory. Even the upperclassmen advisor is a vague composite in my mind; she’s now a mixture of several people I met during my time at Kenyon, nothing more or less.
But, my faculty advisor is clearly etched in my memory of Kenyon.
He was Professor Garhart. (Rowan and I would later called him “Marty” behind his back.) He was one of the long-standing drawing professors in the Art Department.
At the time, it seemed like a random group of people, but I now know that Kenyon was trying to get me used to the Kenyon experience and the possibilities of the liberal arts education I had signed up for. The four first years, the upperclassman, and Garhart were a diverse group of people, both physically, superficially, and intellectually. I know everyone there would later go on to a different area of study. We were being taught, from day one, that Kenyon was all about introducing different thoughts and opinions and intellectual and social desires.
Looking back, that was pretty great. Yes, I wished at the time to be grouped with “my” people, “theater people.” But, how limiting and short-sighted was that? I would be, and am currently, spending my entire time with “theater people;” why not branch out while you can?
Anyway, Garhart was atypical. He was a former football player who had found a passion for drawing and painting after his athletic dreams were sidelined. Meeting at his home studio that night, we saw the metal sculptures in his front yard, the works in progress everywhere, and the finished works that were stored in drawers around.
I would later find out he had pieces in the collections of the British Museum and the Smithsonian.
I wasn’t destined to be his faculty advisee for long; I majored with the Drama Department as soon as I could. But Garhart did steer me through class selection that first year.
He did remember me as the years went by too. My last semester at Kenyon, I finally realized that I should have some drawing instruction under my belt as a hopeful costume designer. I enrolled in his class; I loved it. I’m not sure it meant much to him, but the assignments and instructions on line weight (I still think about objective and subjective line ALL THE TIME), composition, shading, negative space, thumbnails, and perspective have stayed with me.
I always thought it was an interesting way to bookend my time at Kenyon. Starting my academic career going to a meeting in his studio and then, four years later, have my final class be taught by him.
Music I’m listening to while sewing: I was so infatuated with the Kyle Bobby Dunn selections from yesterday, that I sought out other musicians like him. I’ve been listening to Taylor Deupree all morning. It’s sounds instrumental, industrial, electronic, mechanical, and soothing.
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Have you ever thought about the status quo?
I’ve been thinking about the human body; it’s an amazing organism that hopefully works together to keep things at a status quo. It wants things to function properly.
For the most part, your body isn’t programmed to want itself to fail. It doesn’t choose in the morning NOT to work. It just does.
Our body knows to take a breath, it knows to pump blood, digest food, heal that scratch, fight that infection, blink your eyes, move this muscle so this arm can move. Ideally, it does this without us knowing or being aware that these processes are happening.
But we don’t always live in the ideal world. Things will happen TO us that prevent these functions from happening as they should. We get sick, we suffer from a disease or a disorder. Sometimes WE do it to ourselves: we work too hard, sleep too little, eat poorly, drink too much, or avoid exercise.
What can we do to help ourselves achieve the status quo?
And it isn’t just a physical status quo either… What can we do to find that sense of “normalcy” in our daily lives? Socially? Mentally? Creatively?
What would it take for you, or myself, to go about our lives without feeling like something is “off”?
If you figure that out, would you do it?