I am a true believer in education.
I am a also a true believer that in some instances and educator can kill an artist.
When I was in High School, all I wanted was to become a writer. I journaled and wrote poetry and stories I never shared. I did my assignments in English class with such fervor. In my Senior year, my English teacher went around the room and asked everyone what they wanted to be “after graduating.” When it came to my turn, I stated that I wanted to be a writer. My teacher smiled, nodded his head, and said, “that’s a lovely idea Sunshine (his nickname for me), but in reality, I don’t think you have what it takes. Though you have a very vivid imagination, you rebel too much against the form and rules of writing. That is required in order to succeed.” I believe him and stopped writing. That was in 1976. I didn’t delve back into writing until 1998. Though I don’t stand on the debilitating mindset of “I wonder what could have been,” I do have those moments of reflection when I wonder how an educator can be so reckless.
I’ve been doing some soul searching and mind cleansing to figure out what caused me to feel such an intense need to be validated by someone other than myself over the past 16 years.
I suppose I can always use the easy route and attribute everything I do today to things that happened in my past. The reality is, I do what I do today, because of what is going on today. My past is not my reality now, it’s just a measure of where I’ve come from. Needing validation seems to have been one of the many crutches I used as an insecure artist.
The only validation a creative person needs comes from the self. When you reflect back on your work and it blows the top of “your” head off…Well, need I say more?