Art Is My Superpower

I have this pool vacuum that sometimes tries to climb out of the pool. I’m listening to it now, realizing it sounds like a wild animal devouring burgers in the backyard (sorry, neighbors…I don’t know how to make it stop doing that). It doesn’t seem to bother the ducks…they avoid it, but they don’t stay away because of that. Nor do they stay away because of the Golden Retriever who swims in the pool and barks at them. Halfheartedly. Like, “get outta my pool bitches…eh…stay awhile. I don’t really care.”

I’m barely awake, despite the shower and a reasonable (for me) amount of sleep. My sleep app tells me 4 AM was troubled sleep. I don’t doubt it. I already know I have to be up early on Saturday, my normal morning of rest. Oh well. Sleep is wasted artmaking time. Might as well rejoice in what little I get.

The plus is that the tracing is going well…

DSCN0003 small

I traced over 150 pieces last night in less than an hour…because they’re small pieces, so they don’t take as long to draw. Duh. That’s a plus. So there’s only 600 pieces to go. Too bad grading is competing for my time. I did grade papers last night. I might sort of get caught up (maybe). Don’t hold your breath. I don’t think teachers are ever really caught up. Even in the summer, we are prepping for the next year, how are we gonna change things or fix things, or in the summers that follow for the next THREE years, how do we transition to new science standards with no curriculum. No problem! say the districts. There’s the INTERNET. It’s like magic. Curriculum just appears. Well, it appears after hours of searching and tweaking and messing and collaborating. It’s a giant time suck. I know because we started doing that kind of stuff this year.

So why do I do this job? Well, it is creative and requires most of my brain. I don’t like to be bored at work. It’s also cool when kids get stuff, like holy moley, so that’s what a heart looks like. And they can see the muscle. And middle-school kids can be funny and loving and all that. But it is an incredibly stressful and demanding job, like no other job I’ve had, and sometimes I just need to talk about it. That’s always been an issue with non-teachers. There’s a difference between complaining and venting. I vent and it’s out. I don’t have to think about it any more. Frustration released. Moving on to the next daily challenge.

Maybe that’s why I’m still in counseling. Because I just need someone who listens and lets me get it out without taking it on themselves. You can’t fix my students. You can’t fix my school (and next year, based on the plan we’ve heard about, is gonna be hell on wheels with no teams). You can’t fix what’s wrong with public schools. Seriously. It’s unfixable as long as parents don’t care and politicians are involved. Or parents care too much and are ignorant of how a school or classroom actually run, and politicians are involved. I can handle my job…most days…I just need someone to say uh huh, that sucks, have a hug. Or a glass of wine. Or both.

My joy in life doesn’t come from my job. It comes from my art. And I wish I could make more of it.

Today I’m running a lab that requires 17 towels. That should be interesting. Labs are exhausting, especially with water or chemicals or dissectable things, but the kids get a lot out of this one, so I do it. I’m still trying to prep for next week’s project, so I’m a little behind. Hoping to get caught up by the end of the weekend. Might not be socializing much between grading and that. Ugh.

All this is why I make so much art, people. The job sucks my brain out and spits it on the ground. The rest of life is somewhat stressful and often lonely. Art makes it all OK. It’s my superpower. Certainly doing taxes and financial aid apps and going to the store and cleaning out the litter tray and trying to analyze the tire pressure light in my car all just make me crazy. I need something to tip the balance in the other direction.

I was interviewed for San Diego CityBeat. You can see the article here. I think he did a good job of capturing me and my art. And he didn’t mention my grandmother’s quilts, so that’s a win.

One thought on “Art Is My Superpower

  1. Hey, that sucks. Have a hug and a glass of wine! Also, your superpower is fabulous, And also that was cool article. 🙂

    And yes, making art is essential. Lifesaving. The opposite of despair.


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