Don’t snicker! It’s a platyhelminth!
WBR - STOP, COLLABORATE & LISTENWhole Beast Rag, whose two founders are resident artists at the Think Tank, host Mondays on the Think Tank blog. Their audience flirts with fringe, and you can find a link to their editorial at the bottom.My thesis, my thesis, my thesis…keeps coming up this week (I apologize in advance for being that person). I haven’t thought about it in a couple of years, since I finished it, really (it was an exciting concept, poorly executed), but all kinds of related interactions and media breaking news flashes (especially from Boston) have been cropping up. So it’s been on my mind.
In addition to the bombing, I discussed a potential collaboration creating a post-apocalyptic scenario adult day camp, pushing people to and past the edge (I hope it becomes a cathartic enterprise). At Whole Beast Rag, our newest columnist Diego Báez submitted for publication a piece titled, “The Blind Watchmaker’s Near-sighted Timepieces,” on intelligent design and artificial intelligence. It was excellent, and obviously was part of the inspiration for this blog post (look for it soon). My boss, earlier in the week, sent me something and I was transported to an Internet press release vortex (the worst kind) where I found some info (in press release form) for ‘Sirius,’ a film that, “introduces a DNA sequenced humanoid of unknown classification to the world and sheds definitive light on the scientific reality of UFOs, ETs, and Advanced Alternative Energy Technology.” All interesting things. If I’d tried to put all of that into a thesis, though (just pretend with me that all of this had happened three years ago), I would have been institutionalized and probably wouldn’t’ve finished college, let alone my thesis. I didn’t know how to process that sort of thing back then. If I was coming across these things consciously, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But it’s not—it’s me learning to pick up on patterns which, in an environment such as the one I’m living in, become more and more apparent as you learn to look for the cues. This is something that isn’t a particularly new idea—the pattern thing—but sometimes it takes a while to understand.
I was in a science fiction literature class my last year of college. It felt dated, especially because the professor looked like Garrison Keillor, though the Arthur C. Clarke was good. I wish I’d taken the class before I’d finished my senior thesis; the senior seminar “theme” or “title” or whatever, was “Modern Materialities” (I’d applied for the nonfiction seminar). I could have figured the thesis out after the sci fi class, made it into something it wasn’t. Would have made for a less rocky and terribly-cited thesis. In the end, instead of using my otherwise-complete English degree for this thesis, I decided to go with my gut and talk about reality television for an academic paper. Thanks roommates (really).
I don’t remember the title of my thesis, and I don’t have any copies of it in Los Angeles. Things would have been different, I think, if I’d focused on hands-on post-apocalyptic projects such as the ones I’m now pursuing (I also thought about joining the Red Cross, though this was not quite right for me). But I’m not any worse off for having written a poorly-constructed thesis, I was busy doing what eventually made me want to do WBR; that semester, I was the Editor-in-Chief at my college’s literary magazine that no one read. When we were working on the magazine, it was visceral enough for me to engage in actual conversation about the heady seminar—less specifics, more big-picture things. It helped a lot.
I work to display patience in integrating different mediums (academic, creative, event/project/collaboration-based), which is an ongoing process for me. But I am too eager to know, in my own way and to the best of my ability, about the world around me to perpetually disengage if I don’t immediately understand in one medium; I’m still interested in these ideas, even if I’m not writing an earth-shattering/culturally revelatory piece on it. I want to know. I want to know I want to know.
I know now that I can edit a piece like Diego’s and WBR can throw an event at Think Tank Gallery in DTLA in the same month, and all the while I’m experiencing a thematic, integrated approach to the subject matter (in this case, WBR’s CTHTHONIC Issue) and to my life. There’s only so much the liberal arts college system can do, and sometimes we just have to look the average American graduate experience in the face and say, “Fuck it. I’m gonna do my best to grow.”
It’s tough juggling the intellectual, the mundane, the manual creation. What’s vital in the development of creative potential is knowing which of these is best suited to channel ideas. Or, as it was with my past week of post-apocalyptic conversations, wait for the right opportunity to share your knowledge and passion. (Even if it takes a few years or longer, you’ll be able to step back and learn more about how to fit work or a concept into a fresh framework.)Personalized horoscope from me to you: ball’s in your court.
Written by Grace Littlefield, WBR Executive Director & Co-Editor-in-Chief
1960 | JIGOKU | Nobuo Nakagawa
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