Thoughts on My Professor: AKA Why I’m Crying Three Years Late

I’d like to share this moment that I’m crying. This may seem, at first, an odd moment. But for the person I write about, please read.

I recently updated my LinkedIn as a way to encourage myself to make steps towards new opportunities. The information hadn’t been updated in at least a year, more likely two. I still don’t even have a picture up yet. As I updated the dates on my jobs and moved my education information around, my eye caught something.

In my recommendations, there is a lone comment. A wonderful comment from my art adviser in college. I’d like to share it with you:

Bohne Rec

Now, I’ve known this comment exists. But coming upon it years later, I cry.

The spring after I graduated, Professor Bohne passed away from cancer. Half a year before he died, and half a year after I graduated, he made that note.

I didn’t know during my time in college, but Prof. Bohne was a very well known and respected artist.

I only knew him as the man who convinced me to go to a school counselor when I was having social trouble in my first year, exchanged Italy stories before and after my semester abroad (making sure all my classes would transfer, too), and encouraged me in the only 3D art class I took in my college career. Headphones weren’t allowed in the classroom, so his pick of a Toto album was our normal jam in that class.

He encouraged me after college, too. As seen with that note.

His ability to be fully present touched many people, and I think that’s what made him such a great artist. Why people loved and esteemed him. It’s that personable trait I think is why I never fully grasped how great he was on a larger scale than my college adviser.

Instead of a wake, a public gallery was set up with Prof. Bohne’s artwork. Mixed media of found objects and paint told stories that the watcher could interpret themselves. The reception had wine and hors d’oeuvres, all selected by him. His favorites. So many people showed up. There was a lot of crying. And a lot of laughing. Many clicks of the wine glasses. He had touched so many people in the art and college community. Many people, including the college president, shared stories about him.

I didn’t cry at the reception. I don’t think it was real yet.

He was 73 when he died. If you looked at him, you couldn’t have guess it. He was still teaching, too! None of us students knew that he had been in and out of his cancer for years.

I finally understood why he commented that my grandfather had tied so young at 68. Prof. Bohne was already pass that when my grandpa died in my junior year. That information returned to me like a lightning strike when I learned about his battle with cancer. He was still alive after so much. And he knew life could continue longer.

So I’m writing this post because I’m crying. It’s finally real. Three years later, a glance at my LinkedIn profile, and I’m bawling my eyes out. I’ve already gone through half a box of tissues as I’ve tried to find the right words to describe what I’m thinking and feeling. In reaction to a few words. A few kind, immeasurable words by a man I respected who thought way too highly of me.

I want to work until I embody the standard he saw in me.

Thank you, Professor Bohne.

Hugs

 

Advertisements

Reply vs Like: It’s Okay to Retweet

like vs tweet01

I’ll admit it: I rarely talk on social media. I “like” on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter all the time, but rarely have enough confidence, even with a screen and the entire internet between me and the recipient, to send out a comment or question.

How’s the quote go? “Introverts unite! Separately. In our own homes.”

I chuckle at this, but the problem with the sentiment is, as a creator trying to build a following, it doesn’t work. Being active and engaging the audience is what brings people in and keeps them.

Truthfully, I do engage. I have long conversations on my YouTube videos nerding out about Ghibli and art supplies. My problem isn’t about engaging those who interact on my post or videos.

My problem is not engaging on others’ content.

I’ve had a Tumblr I’ve used for in-progress and sketches for years. Like, since 2011 years. The main purpose of the blog was to just put out art. Specifically, my art. Only. I have under 150 followers–a byproduct of only posting original art and no fandom affiliation.

And not really interacting with anyone.

This has become painfully obvious to me since I started posting to my YouTube channel earlier this year. Engagement isn’t a one-way street. I make fantastic content, but I don’t connect on other people’s content. I like and then scroll on by. I don’t reblog it because it’s my sketch blog. My art. Others’ content doesn’t “belong.”

It’s really difficult for me to “allow” other people’s content in my space. A space I wanted people to come and want to see only my art.

Recently, along with posting videos to my channel, I started a Twitter account. I hit a ‘restart’ switch on my ~it’s my space!~ attitude and started retweeting content I enjoyed on top of posting my sketches. Replies are still my preferred method, but if something speaks to me, I convince myself into retweeting it. No harm done. Deep breaths, Mikaela!

Instead of viewing others’ content as not my art, I’ve tried to think of it as an extension myself: my likes, what I hope others might enjoy because I enjoy it. This totally sounds like I’m some inconsiderate human who is ‘allowing’ others into her *superior* space. It’s not that at all. It’s more of a misplaced understanding of what I thought should work for me, and now intruding into the spaces other creators have made, resulting in the anxiety of being too forward, too direct when I do more than acknowledge/like a work (“notice me senpai”-feels comes to mind).

The reason I’m writing this inner-rant is because I’ve seen immediate effects of interacting with others. By retweeting or commenting on their post, they’ve gone and retweeting my work. Rather than just giving of myself, my artwork, helping those around the interweb-space, a little bit comes back. I haven’t grown exponentially in any means of followers (and I don’t think I’ll ever have a copious number) on any platform, but I feel like I’m moving forward, rather than staying still.

And maybe, eventually, it’ll all pay off.

Hugs

Audio Book vs Music When Being Creative

mucis blog.jpeg

What works best for you to get in the zone?

When I’m working on art, whether it’s painting or drawing in a sketchbook, I will listen to my highly-modified Colbie Calliet station on Pandora or an audio book. I’m not really listening to the words. It’s more like white noise, blocking out the distracting noises of a cafe or house so I can focus on what I’m producing.

But when I’m writing, I can only listen to instrumental music. Words in the song or audio book distract me, taking place of the words I’m typing on the page.

How do you get into the zone? Do you need to listen to anything at all, or always need something to block you into focus?

Picture process: video