Spinning My Wheels -Part Two
Well, after reading yesterdays, you might have felt really depressed. Please don't. I am only bringing these things up as a way of looking at life, and getting my brain around things. Some people use examples from their own life, and others observe things which happen, and other still, hear anecdotal stories and repeat them. In this case, most of my stories will be from my own life. Though I know a LOT of anecdotal stories,I won't use them much. I can usually tell the Urban Myths, from the real stories. Some Urban Myths I have reheard again and again, & I know they aren't true because usually they are told be different people each time. Only they always claim they were there, and the stories are usually about different famous people who did something incredibly discussing or stupid.
You are probably wondering why I called this group of entries “Spinning My Wheels”. The main reason, is I still haven't hit the course I want to take in life. Believe me, I have tried often, and still haven't given up.
When I was at school, adults always used to ask us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My usual reply was, “Musician, Artist or Writer.” (Possible Actor or Movie Director). At present I am still struggling with becoming one of these. Along the way though, the journey has taken me far from my chosen course.
Having been the son of a RAAF enlisted man, we got to travel often to new schools (I attended eight different schools in all, not including University and Colleges. If we include those ... it's thirteen or fourteen).
Unfortunately, I suffered from being a good son. What I mean by that, is I never stepped out of line, and I always did what my parents told me to do. Part of this was probably fear of my father, but that wouldn't account for why I was good whenever he wasn't around (or even after he walked out on the family the first time). Possibly it's more due to my nature. I have often been accused of being altruistic (and I use the term accused, as people seem to use the term like I had done something wrong).
I always said I prefer being a starving artist, than a successful office worker. The question still remains, “How did I get here?” I'm sure a lot of people ask themselves this question. (Actually, I seldom ask myself this, as I've kept track along the way, so I know how I got here). To ask the question out loud in a rhetorical way though, leads to many explanations. After all, the mistakes are all mine, though they were certainly made along the way with the influence of other people. The thing which annoys me though, is that the people who influenced me, seem to deny putting any pressure on me what-so-ever.
So, how did I get to where I am. (Remember, all decisions made in my life were my own, and they were made because at the time, they seemed reasonable decisions for one reason or another). Many people in their successful careers often heap praise upon mentors or parents for the help they received along the way. I think in one way, I haven't had many people I would truly call a mentor, because I am mainly self taught. I think this is very fortunate. Don't get me wrong, I have had plenty of help. The issues I seem to have had, was that people who probably should have been in mentoring roles, never were.
Both my mother and ex-wife had problems with my independence. I think I work best when I do things on my own, and in my own time. (A great attribute for someone who is a writer, or artist). This has come across very much in my tertiary studies. I prefer doing courses via correspondence, and I have had many High Distinctions at my Theology College and Universities. (It makes me sound very anti-social!)
Well, getting back to the question, “How did I get to where I am?”
Let's start with what I wanted to do. As previously stated, when I was at school, I wanted to be either an Actor, Artist, Movie Director, Musician, or Writer. I know, some of these seem a bit diverse. Other kids wanted to be Nurses, Doctors, Fire persons (as opposed to the term Firemen), Police, et hoc genus omne. Most of my teachers, and my parents were very discouraging towards my ideals. I think the BIG thing which lead me off my path, was both my parents and my teachers always used to say, “Get something behind you before you chase your dreams.” As I point out to my mother, I am still trying to get that “thing” behind me. I still haven't achieved a proper degree.
In fact, after following many peoples advice, I have so many useless bits of paper, that they will make a great bonfire at my funeral (or will it be a cremation! Who knows! I have the fuel if it is!) Let's start with where I had planned to go. In Year Nine, I reached what I thought would be a sort of compromise with my teachers/parents. I decided I'd do an Arts degree and become a commercial artist. Seemed reasonable to me. My Photography teacher was the only teacher who backed that plan. My father kept telling me that a B.A. Stood for “Bugger All” and that's all it was worth. So I was told I wasn't allowed to do an Arts Degree. Unfortunately, all my interests lay in the Arts Realm.
Year Nine was also the year I got into 'Film and Television' studies. I was very upset at first, because I wasn't allowed to do the subject. My school didn't choose you according to how well your grades were , or if you had any interest in the subject. Most kids did 'Film and Television' because they saw it as an easy subject. I had a genuine interest in it. At this point in my life, I was delivering pamphlets for the RAAF cinema, and was allowed to see films for free (with a free guest too! Woo Hoo!) I also started a nice big film poster collection, which would have been worth a fortune today had it not been destroyed by flooding water. (I'll write on that another day. Remind me if I forget).
I lined up with the other kid s to enroll in the subject, only to find I was too far down the line. So after waiting for an hour or so, I got near the front of the line to be told the subject was full. I ended up doing French. (Which wasn't too bad) Fortunately for me, my English teacher was also one of the 'Film and Televisions' teachers. The poor man had to put up with my VERY LONG stories and essays. Most people wrote one or two page stories. Not me. I start, I can't stop (Have you noticed?) So my stories were ten, twelve pages long. In the end the teacher told me if I wrote any more than two pages, he would mark me down. (But ... but ... but ... I'm not used to getting anything less than a B, and that's on bad days!) So I did it. I wrote a two page story. (Man, sis I have to make cuts!) One thing lead to another while I was discussing where my ideas came from in the stories, and my teacher was amazed that I had a BIG interest in 'Film and TV'. He wanted to know why I wasn't doing the subject. So I told him. (Sob sob! I wanted to do the subject so bad!) With the facts that some kids had left during the semester, at the beginning of semester two, there was an opening. Yes, I was going to be able to do it! Woo Hoo!
(Thus starts my short lived film career).
Due to me doing Film and TV in year nine, I was able to do it again in year Ten. From the two classes that they had, a select few of the brightest students were chosen to form a 'Film and TV' club after school. Yours truly was amongst those. We were able to make an extra film which we worked on after school. The one we did during the day and this extra film were both entered into the 'Young Film Makers Awards' competition. Neither won any prizes, but I don't think any of us expected them to. They were both better than a lot of other films I had seen. I also got to act in the second one. Thus explains the acting/directing bug which I caught.
In Year Ten, one of my teachers convinced my mother that I was smart enough to be a Doctor or Lawyer. (Remember, I have an IQ in the top one percent ... okay, I admit, I'm not using it to it's full potential as of yet, but don't worry, I am sure I never will!) Well, my mother and this teacher loved to try to convince me this was the path I should take. I had two problems. When I was about six, I wanted to be a Doctor, but then I discovered that I couldn't stand to see people in pain. It was also the reason why I decided not to be a vet later on (I can't stand to see animals in pain either. Being a vet was an idea from when I was about ten). Let's face it, I'm a very squeamish person. I've walked out on movies during scenes which were too violent, much to the laughter of my old flatmate Paul. It took me about four or five watchings before I was able to sit through the torture scene in Reservoir Dogs. (Yes, I know they were only acting ... still, I am THAT squeamish!)
The Lawyer thing also didn't appeal to me. I saw it as a lot of reading and boring arguments. Actually, the job doesn't look as bad to me now, as what it did. My father on the other hand, thought my teacher was a flake. He was adamant I would never be anything, and he wasn't afraid to tell me so. Repeatedly so! His favourite way to express it, was to tell me that only my elder brother was ever going to amount to anything. He said the rest of us were all going to be failures. (So it wasn't just me he thought was going to be a failure).
By this stage I was at my wits end to find any sort of occupation which would be approved by my parents or teachers. I was lucky, because in year ten, every piece of art work I did, was on display somewhere around the school with several of the pieces being at the reception are of the school. (Yes, I was good at art). The thing which confused me though, is I never got any encouragement from my art teachers. Maybe they just assumed I was going to continue in art. I guess this is one of those cases where somethings are better said, than left unsaid!
Year ten was the final year of doing fun things I think. In this year, I got an A in Photography, I blitzed art, music and Film and TV studies. (My French suffered though!) There was one other piece of equipment there which also lead me astray from my chosen course. The school hired an Apple II computer. It was on this that I wrote my first game in Basic. Woo Hoo. Basically, you moved through a castle looking for the Princess to rescue. If you ran into the Black Knight along the way, you lost the game!
I found that computer programming was a lot like solving problems. I have always loved solving problems. So a compromise was made. I would do computing instead of art ... computers is what I will get behind me before trying to actually do what I would like to do. This satisfied both my parents and my teachers, who thought I had put my childish dreams of art behind me in favour of 'the wave of the future'. It was something my teachers felt was more worthy of my intellect.
How could someone supposedly so smart be SO DUMB! What was I thinking?
Year Eleven saw me do Two Mathematics subjects (as was the way back then), English, Geology, Physics and Chemistry. I also got to play the 'bad guy' in the school play. It was a year of pretty decisive action though. I had cut all my ties to my dreams. They were still there in my head, but I was basically following the plan of my parents and teachers. Getting some elusive job behind me to fall back on in case the “Artistic” endeavours never came about.
If you are thinking of following me in a similar way, DON'T. Get a job in the field you are REALLY interested in. Technology moves whether you want it to or not. The world goes on and things progress. The Degree or Job you train for tomorrow (which you want to fall back on) probably won't be there if you are intending to go down a different path. Some things of course won't matter. I know people who have spent three years out of IT, and now can't get a look in sideways. Their Comp. Science Degrees are worthless bits of paper now.
If you are certain of where you want to go, then put your effort into that field. Don't expect people to do anything for you, or for things to fall into place. (Now I am starting to sound like that Graduation piece I mentioned in Part one!) Anyway, tomorrow I will continue to talk about the path I erroneously followed ... (this is getting too long!) lol