Monday, June 14, 2010

Oh crap, I need a Plan!

My husband is trying to get into the Foreign Service. (...gasp...) That is our Plan A. He left the limping newspaper industry and is now working in a soul-sucking public school district as the PR dude. Did I just say that, soul-sucking? More like soul-anesthetizing. Tail-chasing, inefficient, soul-shrinking, anesthetizing...anyway...

I read a great blog post about how I need to move the FS into a "Plan B" position and just keep on living my life. In order to stay sane. That is good advice. Except for one small problem. Okay, two small problems.

One: Who said I am sane to start out with?

And two: I don't have plans, or letters for that matter. I mean of my own.

I don't have much going on in my life right now. With or without the FS. Well, I have plenty going on: Husband, three kids, dog who eats goose poop, cat who bites ankles, gymnastics practice, cub scouts, soccer, tennis, chess camp, computer camp, summer rec, swim lessons, German lessons, endless birthday season (x 4), family reunion in missouri, house, cars, yard, laundry, bills, housework, trying to stay in shape.

Let me clarify. I need a purpose. Maybe a job or a career. A thing that makes me go Wow! I need to leap out of bed and look in the mirror and say, "Okay, good morning, Crazy lady, today is the day! Let's get this party started!"

I spent my first year of college in architecture school. Then I was really practical, and got a Bachelors of Fine Arts in... oh, you'll just love this... uh, huh... ceramics. My grandfather said I was "playing in the mud." He was right. I also like painting with oils ('cause that stuff is safe to smell). I planned to get my MFA (which is the "terminal" degree in fine arts) and work on my own work and eventually teach at the college level. I pictured myself working in my studio, my dog lazing nearby, windows letting light stream in, then teaching partially disinterested underclassmen a few days a week at some university, while an agent represented me to galleries and found public art contests for me to enter, and win! (This is my fantasy, after all.) But I only applied to two MFA programs and got rejected to both. Nobody said, "Wait a year and try again," or "Keep working on your portfolio," or "Try other programs." So I worked for a year and applied to a masters program to teach art. I got in to a great art school, the best art school, some might say. But I was in the art education program. Even though I got to take some "real" studio classes on the side (which I loved), I was teaching art K-12. Not making art full time. Then I graduated and had to start paying off the loans. So I taught for 6 years. When my husband and I had kids and we decided I wanted to stay home with the kids, I wasn't sad about leaving teaching. And I have loved raising my kids.

So that brings us to now. Plan A or B or whatever. Umm. Before this summer my kids were 5, 7 and 9 years old. By August they will be 6, 8 and 10. (No longer an "odd" year, I'm back to even.) I've been home with them for 10 years. (Ten?!) All three kids will be in school full days starting in September. What is my Plan? We thought we'd be getting "the call" by now.

I could try to go back to teaching again in the fall. Although with budgets what they are in NY, art is getting cut everywhere. But teaching isn't what makes me happy, it isn't what makes me feel alive and at my best. Making art is. At least it was, back in the "Olden Days," as my kids say, "Back in the 1900's." Hopefully if the FS plan works out, I'll have a chance to work on Plan Art, maybe for now I should just tow the line and work on Plan $.


Shannon said...

OK it has been eons, or at least years since I was in the classroom but as I remember summer is a bit late to apply for a full time teaching position. Perhaps subbing (yeah I gagged just thinking about it too) would let you work a few days a week and still put in some time on your art. Don't know. good luck!

Melissa V said...

Maybe you can do a little bit of both? I'm not sure what it's like in your part of New York, but where we live in Virginia (DC Area) there are all sorts of little stores that carry things made by local artists. Maybe you could find a Plan $, and do some Plan Art on the side until you have some pieces together that you want to sell, then find a store that will carry them.

Keep us up to date - I know you'll figure something out!

Jen said...

Granted, I know nothing about the schools in your area, but subbing could be a great way to go. I thought about subbing in CA, but any income would be eaten up by daycare fees for Little Guy...with all of your kids in school, though...

Bfiles said...

nice to learn a little more about you. I hope you can find a way to bring some art-making back into your life. It's so hard for some of us to look at the FS as Plan B, though...some of us who are planners and obsessors...good luck figuring things out.

FSO-In-Waiting said...

I couldn't come up with another Plan A, either, when I was going through the process to get in. It's so hard, when you want something this much, to make another plan. I stayed at a job I was ready to let go of, and did some volunteering to try to figure out what I'd do if the FS didn't work out. Thankfully, I got an offer and am in the June class, but it did help me pass the time until that happened. And, if the FS did not work out, I would have been somewhat closer to figuring out another plan.

Homestly, your "other plan" also seems obvious--get the art thing going. If you have a passion for it and just do it, the rest of it will fall into place.