It’s done at last! Exams finished today and a most amazing three months came to a close. There’s a whole year left ahead, but this was the beginning and that makes it special. At the start of this week, things were so hectic, I never expected to enjoy the whole take-a-test experience. Last time I remember doing this was at IT college and it was a rush of theory and words, and honestly I can’t say I enjoyed it – although I didn’t dislike it either. (I think that’s the stodgy part me rearing it’s ugly head.)
This time around though, everything was based on the practical part of the exam – it was a test of skill rather than information and that’s what made it all the more challenging and all the more scary. Throughout the semester, all our practical work was the take-home kind. There wasn’t much that had to be fitted within a short, specific time frame. And being creative is easy when you have the time to freak out, play with ideas and discard a dozen of them before selecting one.
Having to do it withing a 2 hour time frame is whole different ball-game. At least for me. At the risk of sounding melodramtic – this was the true test of my mettle. Am I cut out for animation? That’s a question I needed to answer for myself, and while I’m still balancing on that fine line between passion and fear, I can let go of some of the insecurities I’ve been burdening myself with.
I enjoyed myself – not in that high, excited, adrenaline-based kind of way, but in a more settled, calm manner – like when you’re doing something you were created to do, and it doesn’t really matter how well you do it, or if someone else does it better than you – just as long as you’re doing it. In a way, it has an air of the Divine to it, almost like worshipping God, but in your own unique way.
Every time I put something down on paper, or come up with an idea, I can’t help but wonder at: 1) the mental faculties that allow me to come up with it and 2) the fact that it can actually be appreciated by others. The whole process of being able to have a certain effect over an audience is dependent on their ability to be effected. And the fact that you can influence people simply by suggestion is itself one of the miracles of Creation – at least I think so.
It’s like the Ghibli movies I’m watching. The lines are so simple. Sometimes just one stroke for the mouth and yet curve it this way and you have a smile, curve it that way and you have a frown and draw it just so and you can capture an emotion that will tug at heart-strings. How much of that power is in the placement a series of dots and how much of it is in the ability of perception that people have?
Is the power in the artist or in the people? Is it in the image or in the eye?
As magical as it is, even animation relies on something that is beyond our control. The whole Persistence of Vision issue is based on a biological anomaly that we didn’t ask for, create or have control over! And there again you see the Hand of God over all our actions, no matter how unique or creative we think we’re being.
In a sense, it makes you fully aware of how dependent you are on His Way. It’s His World, His Design, His System, His Everything – not only the way the things around us work, but even the way we ourselves work. And yet, it’s all designed to suit our needs best. Maybe that’s part of the all-consuming Love that exists between Him and us – that He created, but it was for us. And we were created for Him.
Except for one difference – He didn’t have to do what He did. We don’t add a richness or value to His existence. He was before we existed and will be after we cease to. Unchanging, un-influenced. We on the other hand, are thoroughly dependent on Him. Without His Will for us to exist, we wouldn’t.
Which means, we have only our Trust in Him to rely on. That He will come through with all His Promises, that if we are at His mercy, then it should be Mercy that is perfect and fair. Otherwise, we’d be living in an opressive, dictatorship.
See what I mean when I say I am where I was always meant to be? Much as I’ve thought about these things before, they seem to become clearer and clearer now. The more I think, the more I can seem to understand. It helps that I have plenty of stimulating conversation to help me along the way…and again, where would I have fouind it if I hadn’t joined this course?
So why the title of this post if everything is so hunky-dory? It’s simple. Things are too perfect. And since they hardly ever are, I can’t help but be waiting for that hidden jinx to strike. So I have a lurking pessimist within me, or maybe like the two boys in Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes – I’m the one who’s waiting for the next scrape or bruise, because I know it will come.
Life suddenly feels like this singluar, elongated sigh. It’s weird – I feel like I’m taking in these impossibly deep breaths and trying to inhale the essence and possibilities of so many wonderful things around me, and then because I simply can’t hold my breath forever, I have to let it all out in these deep sighs. And with every exhalation, I’m already readying myself for the next breath, because the emptiness within my lungs begins to suffocate me even before I’ve fully let all the air out.
So my *sigh* is not a happy, satisfied, contented one. But it’s not a sorrowful, sad, regretful one either. It’s more of a nostalgic one where I know I’m going to have to give up my hold on some of these things sooner or later, and yet a part of me is still hoping against every grain of common sense that it won’t turn out that way. It’s like that final term of high school when you know that part of your life has to end for the next to begin, but you’ve become so attached to it that the prospect of letting go saddens you before it even happens.
The question is: how did I manage to get myself into this despite all my good sense?
One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment.
– Hart Crane, poet (1899-1932)