May 19, 2012

then and now

Last week I was checking out the blog of a former professor of mine. I first encountered him at Sewanee's Merit Weekend for incoming students. I don't remember much of what he spoke about at dinner, but it involved Harold and the Purple Crayon. Four years later, I took his Religion and Ecology class. I majored in neither religion nor ecology, but it seemed like a safe bet anyway. Populated by seniors, the class was paperless and examless. We were to look, listen, ask questions, think, and devote three hours every Wednesday afternoon to tearing around the Plateau in hard hats. On our last day of class (which also happened to be my last class at Sewanee) Smith read an excerpt from an old Senior Dinner speech. He knew what he was doing, and we seniors were putty in his hands. Twenty minutes later we were all crying. Even the firemen in the back row. Class was dismissed, and we all walked snot-nosed and red-eyed through the library and out the doors.

The latest addition to his blog seemed to be a Senior Dinner speech from this year, or maybe what he read to his class to get them to cry this time. That is beside the point. A few lines jumped out at me.

I am not an academic monogamist; I am an unashamed polygamist. I have had many loves. You could never tell from my library or from my shopping history at what I teach. Nor could you tell from their careers what most Sewanee students majored in.

That last sentence rings a little true with me. Here is a little peek at what I've been doing when I'm not making art. My job is many things. Recently it has been building crates. I majored in art history, but no amount of lectures on Pop Art or Gothic cathedrals could have prepared me for this.

They're art crates.

Or this. (A little project I was a part of last year.)

I graduated 4 years ago this month. I majored in art history, but I also learned about forestry, geology, the intertwinings of religion and ecology, how to look, and how to think. I can figure anything out if I just think about it a bit... Maybe not astrophysics.

My brain-muscle got a little bigger at Sewanee. My arm muscles have gotten a little bigger with my job.

My co-worker and I are filling these crates next week. We'll see if my brain-muscle calculated them correctly. The proof is in the pudding.