Getting Here: Writer/Artist/Designer/Activist

child-dreaming

This wasn’t planned.

At nine years old I sat in the Public Library before a Nancy drew book and decided on my career. My first decision was to be an actress. I began watching television at about 6 years old, and by nine I was thoroughly in love with the worlds they created. My closest acquaintances were the characters, the relate-able characters which were my friends. I knew these characters were unreal. My mother made certain I questioned everything. It is one of her rules. So I knew the characters weren’t the faces and people I watched. I knew those persons were actors, and I wanted to be one. I wanted to do what they were doing for me. But more importantly I wanted to do something that was exciting for me as well, and that was it.

How could I become an actor though? Even at this point I am baffled at why I thought I could be one. I have always been an introvert. I always get nervous when I’ve got to interact with persons with whom I am not familiar, and I have stage fright. By stage fright, I mean that any group larger than four or five persons makes me more anxious: I feel like throwing up; become cold; my heartbeat quickens; and I need to urinate very often. It doesn’t matter if I know everyone in the audience personally or not. Yet, I thought I had the ability to, and secretly still would like the opportunity to fall in my lap.

But that wasn’t the decision I settled on. As I sat there in the middle of reading I contemplated how realistic such a career would be in Antigua. It wasn’t. At that time actors could only be noted during holidays in a few plays. Since then the number of actors and opportunities have increased. However, the field is not developed enough for persons to make a living. At present practices are done after work hours, and actors either get paid very little or not at all. With that in mind I moved to the next exciting job I could think of which would help persons as well…being a detective like Nancy. That fell threw even quicker than the first because I knew Nancy’s world was fiction and that it couldn’t really be like that.

Finally, I settled on being a lawyer. It wouldn’t really have that much excitement but sometimes it would, just like the time when Nancy’s father, Carson Drew would get in on some of the action deciphering this and that. Yeah, right. This really didn’t excite me. But I knew my parents also wanted me to be a lawyer. So I settled with that. A few years later, in Form 3 (Grade 9), I was asked what I wanted to be so that I could be counseled on which subjects I should take. I said a lawyer, and a judge. I don’t remember why I said a judge at the time. But I did. And was instructed that English Literature, and History were necessary. For the sake of a friend I also picked up Technical Drawing as well.

After high school, I attended the local state college where I enrolled in the Law, Literature, and History classes. I learned here that being a lawyer wasn’t for me, and that high school History is extremely lacking. This is also where my journey into the arts really began. At the end of one of the Literature classes, a fellow student asked if I wanted to hangout. I did. After a walk through overgrown bush and branches we arrived at the secluded Art Room. I enrolled in Art, learned a lot, passed the class, failed the Cambridge exam, and a year or so later used my portfolio to get into another local college in the Graphic Design department of the Associate’s Degree program.

At this point I had a vague sense that I wanted to be a writer. But I had yet to commit to it. After a year of the program, the compulsory English classes had improved my writing skills, and I became more confident that writing was what I wanted to do. I had yet to make a decision on the arts though. As time continued by I began to realize more and more that writing was exactly where I should be and that designing wasn’t my fortè. Despite this knowledge I pushed to be better in graphic design. It is still a more lucrative and more acceptable field here than writing. This led me to attend a six-month program which proved to be very good in exposing me to various areas of photography, videography, scriptwriting, and editing. By the end, I knew without a doubt I wanted to write.

I’ll be really honest. Attending both of the institutions after high school wasn’t my idea. I was actually headed in the opposite direction. But once I got the opportunities I tried to compromise by doing something that I would like, and would also please (in part) the person financing it. The outcome has been quite good. These unplanned turns have left me with a basic but wide array of abilities. Abilities I am extremely happy to have acquired. These unplanned things have led me to a point which has left me prepared for the next steps I’d like to take in life.

Being a social activist is, an active complement to being a writer. As a writer, producing literature is the biggest part. But as an activist I get to reach in and physically change that which needs it. In Antigua there’s a divide between culture and arts, and the people who it should be affecting. For my Graphic Design thesis I decided to bridge this gap by creating a local arts magazine. It took forever to choose a thesis which would be perfect for me, and I am absolutely certain I’ll be returning to my earlier ideas in the future if no one else does anything similar.

The magazine, is my new baby. It’s been an emotional journey as I am move between being deflated and excited. But still it’s been fun.

This has been another long post. Thanks for sticking with me. Next week I’ll give you a peak at the magazine, and more information on the process to creating it.

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