Saturday, August 13, 2011

As Summer Fades Away

You can always tell when summer is coming to a close - there's a certain look to the sky, a certain feel to the air; night comes quicker and the cicadas stir up quite the racket in the process.  It just feels different than it did in July and it looks different too. It looks and feels almost like summer is packing up and getting ready to go having enjoyed its visit but knowing that it's time to move on and let another season take its place.

Not that I mind one iota as I'm just not a summer kinda gal.  I much prefer the crispness of autumn and the fantastic foliage of fall.  Granted, I wish that autumn stuck around longer before it got rudely shouldered out of the way by Old Man Winter but still, it's my very favorite time of the year and it's fast-approaching.

With it, though, comes the big question of what to do about Amanda not being able to return to Montserrat this year?  It was our hope that she get the first year behind her and hopefully things would fall into place after that but alas, that didn't turn out to be the case at all.  Still, it just doesn't seem right that she not pursue her love and study of art in some way, shape, or form as the kid has talent but her options are pretty limited at the moment.

That said, I'd like to ask  you all to keep your fingers crossed that perhaps she'll be able to at least take a few courses at the local community college.  I got in touch with the FAFSA people yesterday and had her information sent to Three Rivers Community College which does offer a few Fine Arts classes though not as many as a regular art college does.  Still, something would be better than nothing and if we can work out the financing, I'd rather see her go there then not go anywhere at all.  It's not cheap - at almost $500 per 3 credit course plus the cost of materials the State of Connecticut won't really be cutting her any breaks but with any luck maybe she'll qualify for enough to at least get her into a few classes while she also tries to find a part-time job.

It might not be ideal and it sure wouldn't be the same as going to Montserrat but I refuse to give up hope completely that she can't do what she loves and what she's good at.


  1. I hate that she can't go back to Montserrat. That just sucks. But if she is determined, she can get a job, save up and go back.

    LOVE the sunflower photo! And Autumn has always been my favorite season, and I just can't tell you how much I am looking forward to this coming Autumn!

  2. Mega Comment ahead - perhaps go and make yourself a coffee...

    Good luck with the fall registration for Amanda - of course, as someone with a degree in Film who is now happy as a pig in sh*t that I'm scanning documents in a government office because that means I have a steady paycheque and benefits, my personal feeling is that maybe Amanda could get some other money-earning training and THEN pursue her art so she doesn't have to suck on dry macaroni for ten years.


    When I was younger, it was all 'follow your dreams, follow your dreams'. But the arts is a cruel mistress. Don't forget, Mozart was buried in a pauper's grave, for heaven's sake.

    My cousin's husband is a doctor who only started following his film dreams AFTER he had a medical degree, a wife, a house, a car, a beautiful and talented daughter, and the ability to buy whatever groceries his little heart desired. I think my cousin's husband is frankly BRILLIANT.

    Me...I followed my dreams...I live in my mom's basement with my bi-polar agoraphobic husband...we have a lot of used books...a handful of bus tickets...clothes from Value Village...our third used computer monitor...

    Of course, this year things are finally turning around for me. I finally walked back onto my own film set as a director to make my book trailer. Which was a mere 16 years after I graduated university with my Film degree. I finally went to a writer's conference and got requests for two of my manuscripts, a mere 8 years after I joined my local writers' group.

    I'm happier than I've been in years.


    So I'm definitely feeling for Amanda's true calling. I'm also feeling for Amanda's bank account/living arrangements/transportation/prescriptions/grocery orders.

    Take it from One Who Knows. The arts is a sickness from which there is no cure except to create. Working in a job that stifles this creativity makes your soul wither until you can't recognize it anymore. But standing in the grocery store trying to buy a week's worth of groceries for $25.00 is something I wouldn't wish upon your lovely daughter, either. From my vantage point as a 46-year-old writer-director who works a Clark Kent job as a document scanner, Amanda would have a MUCH easier life if she got training in a job that will support her first - THEN she can segue comfortably into a job that both pays bills and feeds her creative soul.

    Although, I do have several friends who have only worked in arts jobs: Mark Morash, who is a choral conductor at the San Francisco Opera, for one. But my other friend, Michael Downie, has his Clark Kent job at the bank while performing in the Canadian Opera Chorus. All of my writer friends who are very successful actually have husbands who bring in good salaries, or their own Clark Kent day jobs. They couldn't make it easily on their writing income alone.

    Just wanted to share this with you, as you and Amanda try to make some decisions. I have every confidence that Amanda's creative life will find its footing - and if she takes the time to consider my experiences, perhaps I can save her some of the suffering. Creativity is a gift from God, after all - not to pursue it seems like some sort of weird slap in the cosmic face. But there are paths and there are paths - just make sure she's wearing the hiking boots and not the strappy sandals.

  3. You know your buds want the very best for you and Amanda. Hopefully this new plan will work out for both of you.

    Big hugs, honey...

  4. It's such a shame that Amanda can't go back to Montserrat, I do hope the alternative works out for her and you. x

  5. Anonymous8:53 AM EDT

    Hope it works out. it will at least keep her in the "going to school" mode.

  6. completely agree with julia smith. d#1 didn't go to nursing school until her miid 30's. i tried to get her to go out of high school but no, she had other interests then. it took quite a while for her to know that was her life's calling but finally she knew (like i always did). anyway the reason for that is not that amanda doesn't know what she wants but rather that she doesn't have to have it all now. good luck.

    smiles, bee

  7. I'm also sorry that Amanda isn't able to return to Montserrat..but I know she'ill always be doing her artwork, no matter where life takes her.

    Taking art courses sounds like a great idea for her while she looks for a part-time job. I hope it all works out for her. She has so much talent.

    School is so expensive, I know. Cameron had to take three courses this summer to get enough credits to qualify for financial aid this coming semester. We still don't have it nailed down.

    Good luck with your new plan.

    P.S. Love the field of sunflowers I know what you mean about the different feel in the air. I'm not a summer kind of gal either, as you know.

  8. Colleges -all of 'em -are ridiculously overpriced! And financial aid is incredibly difficult to contend with the myriad of forms and such to get, what often is a drop in the bucket towards the expenses incurred. I sit here now, 17 years after getting my B.S. (Rehab Ed), now "retired" but the retirement came as a result of being disabled -no longer physically able to work -and never being able to even get interviews most of the time, in my field of study -which I've watched closely in this area and seen places hire kids, fresh out of college with majors that aren't in line with the jobs (that my major was in line for but I couldn't even get an interview for -ARRGH! but they got hired!) Now everyone tell me age discrimination doesn't exist. Hah! Sometimes I wonder if college degree requirements aren't often just a joke, ya know. Embittered? Yes, at times I am but at the same time, I wouldn't trade that education I did get for anything because although no one thought I was good enough to actually use it, it is one thing no one can ever take away from me either! And, I do get to use it at times now coping with some of the antics of my grandchildren and their autism factors so in that respect, it does pay off at times -just not in spades, ya know! But I'd hate to think how I'd feel today, deep inside myself, had I never finally bit the bullet and gone to college as that side of me would have been stifled forever then. It's a risk -this education thing -for sure -but one that you're better of trying to take than to pass it by.

  9. Yup, I've noticed the change in the air as well and although the days are still quite warm, the nights are getting pretty chilly! Love the picture of the sunflowers, such happy flowers:-)

    It truly is a shame that Amanda won't be returning to Montserrat but hopefully she will be able to go to that college you mentioned. My oldest, Shawn, is a true artist at heart and he would have loved to make art his full time profession but he realized it wouldn't pay the bills so he turned to computer programming and worked a few part time jobs while putting himself through 4 years of university in that field. As for his art, he still dabbles in it in his spare time which he doesn't have much of! lol Can Amanda find a part time job while she pursues her art dreams? Whatever happens, I'm wishing her all the best of luck:-) xoxo

  10. Amanda and Art go hand in hand. Love this from Julia's comment novella:
    The arts is a sickness from which there is no cure except to create. Working in a job that stifles this creativity makes your soul wither until you can't recognize it anymore. But standing in the grocery store trying to buy a week's worth of groceries for $25.00 is something I wouldn't wish upon your lovely daughter, either.

    'Tis true. I didn't return to get my music/voice degree until after I had a child and was firmly established in a suburban lifestyle complete with a mortgage and desk job I hated. It drained my heart and my soul to waste my time (in my opinion) working in a day job with time ticking not pursuing my dreams. I'm not sure I would have made out as well without living some life - some hard life - before I returned to college. I appreciated my education and with more life experience, I think I was a better student.

    But the day came when I got this now or never feeling. I auditioned and never looked back until the degree was done. It was hard. The bills still came in, our income was cut in half, I took 16 hrs a semester and worked 2 part-time jobs at night. But nothing will ever take that degree from me or the feeling of finally being "me" in an atmosphere of artists and performers. I don't fit anywhere else.

    I know Amanda has a gift. And she has an artistic soul. Even if she has to begin her journey at a community college to get the basic courses first, it doesn't mean she has to stay there. She needs to gain life experience.
    I know this is hard for both of you but an amazing opportunity knocked on her door once and it will again.

    She is that good.


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