Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why do people blog?

Lately I have been distracted with current events and not focused on new blog posts. I use to feel like blogging was an extension of my artistic development. It represented another venue where I could share my creative process which helped me to develop and grow as an artist, and possibly help my blog followers too. I have not been able to focus on making new art these past few weeks...

Yesterday I was a substitute teacher for social studies at the high school and it happened to be the same day there was a special school assembly regarding the new chemical health policy for the student body. Students were disturbed at the concept that their "extra curricular" activities away from the school would be a factor as to whether they could participate in school sports and clubs. The new policy states no student shall be caught either using or present while other students are using illegal drugs or alcohol from the time they complete middle school until the time they complete high school, 365 days a year. There have been a stream of 17 tragic deaths in the past four years, all were graduates of the high school, all were alcohol or drug related that started at some point when these students were in the public schools. I guess for me as a parent and teacher, it was upsetting to see so many students having issue with the new policy. My biggest concern was that any illegal activity no matter what time of day or night it occurs, is still illegal. Why were students so outraged? Substitute teachers usually are given a simple lesson plan which students usually don't take seriously and I have to admit, being a substitute can feel more like babysitting for the day. I was encouraged that I could discuss with my students the new school policy and felt like we really did accomplish some "social studies", but at the same time I was saddened by their negative reaction.

Last night the parents were also required to attend another assembly so that they could sign off on agreeing to the new policy, and this was the school principal's way of forcing parents to be involved. Some of the parents resented the policy and were angered by the school's need to watch over our children 365 days a year. Police were present, and there was a media circus being restrained outside the school property. Why?

The other current event that tied into my classroom topics from yesterday was the tragedy of the shootings in Arizona and congresswoman Gabby Giffords. It feels to me like a sign of the times, both on a local and national level, reflecting the depressed condition of our great nation. Politics has never been something I have felt connected to following and I admit my artwork has always been the tool that allowed me to detach from the craziness around me, leading me to a place of peacefulness and serenity. When will I be ready to reconnect to my art making? maybe tomorrow when we get a foot or two of snow!

Why do you blog? and why do you make art?


  1. The amount of drugs and alcohol ingested by our young people has reached tragic proportions. I'm not sure what the answer is and it sounds like your school administrators are frustrated also.

    To answer your question, I blog as a way to hold myself accountable for finishing at least one painting and posting it to my blog each Monday. I love to paint but life tends to get in the way and before I know it, days have gone by without me even thinking about painting.
    I've been blogging for 2 1/2 years and really enjoy it. I've met so many interesting people and seen so much beautiful artwork. Blogging is very inspiring for me. I've really enjoyed seeing your artistic journey and how you have pushed yourself to experiment with new ideas. Keep it up.

  2. Robin, like you I'm mystified by the reaction to the school's new policy, especailly by the parents and given the accidents that have happened at that school already. You'd think they'd be glad there was something being added to their toolkits to help keep their kids safe.

    My reasons for blogging are the same as yours and Nancy's... to share my creative journey with as many people as possible and to 'take part' in the journeys of others. Life certainly gets in the way of making and sharing art, but we have to accept that everyone's priorities change from time to time.

  3. A very thoughtful and well written post Robin. Thank you.
    I think kids will always be upset by any rules set down by adults. Probably only a certain percentage of kids are upset and everyone else goes along because it is what is expected by their peers. The parents are probably just upset at having to take on one more commitment. This is all pure speculation on my part. But the school is in a no win situation. To do nothing is to condone the action. Some kids will appreciate the message and take it to heart- even if they can't express it.

    Why do I blog? I ask myself that all the time! Nancy's answer seems most appropriate- so I'll second it.

    I hope you get to reconnect to your art soon.

  4. I think I blog to connect with other artists and, by following other bloggers, I have learned a lot. Why do I make art? I've never felt that it was a choice--more a need, a way to stay semi-sane.

  5. Robin, I now blog to meet, connect with and develop relationships with artists like you, who I would have otherwise never met. I started out blogging as just an exercise in communicating about my work - never realizing at the time that it would blossom into the give-and-take I now enjoy so much. As for creating art, I second Hallie - I have to, for the very reasons she mentioned.

    My wife works for the local school district. Knowing what she deals with on a daily basis, I would venture that a large portion of the parents who were upset about the new rules were mostly disgruntled about having to be involved at all. Many parents seem to think of the school system as a glorified baby-sitting establishment which should take care of their kids without bothering them or upsetting their kids in any way. The old adage that education starts in the home seems to have fallen by the wayside in these modern times.

    Both of my children came home over the past couple days talking about discussions they had in class about the horrific events in Arizona. We had already discussed it in our home over the weekend as it was unfolding and both of my children were prepared to be active participants in the discussion. It's easy to get caught up in the political rhetoric following this event, but the bottom line to me is that an idiot with a gun decided to kill helpless people with no regard for human life. There is no legitimate excuse for murder - and to bring politics into the conversation is to give him an excuse. As is their job, the media has turned this into a circus and the best way to keep the people in their seats is to bring out lots of clowns with outrageous observations and ideas.

    Both of these issues are the types of things that help fuel my need to create. They generate an angst in me which can only be relieved when poured onto a canvas.

    Happy Creating!


  6. Parents angered by this new policy are the same parents who wonder how and why their kids are doing things they shouldn't be. They expect teachers to do the parenting and then get ticked off when the schools take a strong stand (that they should have taken themselves). If parents force the schools into this role then they need to be prepared for such steps as this one. I am proud of your school for taking a hard line on this. Wrong is wrong is wrong and why anyone would be upset when not being allowed to do wrong on school property or in school events is beyond my ability to understand. I don't know if I'm making sense but teachers have a super hard job these days. A fine line has to be navigated each and every day. I ultimately quit subbing. Frustrating and heartbreaking and teachers everywhere have my greatest respect.

  7. I appreciate all of your comments and it reconfirms for me why I am here. Life and current events impact my art whether that means I can't focus on new work or I am inspired even more to create.

    Nancy, it is scary to me too, the tragic proportions of young people abusing drugs and alcohol. How do we change that?

    Deborah, some parents do seem to expect the schools to do the disciplining that traditionally comes from a home environment, it's a real conflict today.

    Pam, I agree, it's a no win situation for the schools, and it makes me so sad.

    Hallie, blogging and making art is the way I stay semi-sane too!

    Don, I thought of you when I wrote how I am not able to make art because these current events are so distracting and upsetting to me, and then I thought of your art and how you use your art to make statements about life and conflicts... I respect your art so much.

    Autumn, I am so happy to hear from you (and I am so happy to hear you are back in a home/studio). If you have been a sub you know exactly how hard it is, and how much respect that needs to go out to those teachers that really try to make a difference.

    Blogging is not just an extension of my creative process, but it also has also contribute to mental health. I am so fortunate to have people like all of you to share with and receive feedback from. Thank you, everyone.

  8. Hi Robin - there's a lot of meat to digest in your post and some very important issues. It's sad that parents have relinquished so many of their responsibilities these days. Someone has to step in and, unfortunately, it's often left up to the schools and government. This is a sad commentary on our society and the selfishness of many parents who put their desires before their children's needs. Why do I blog? I began it to teach myself about art theory through discussing books/topics with other bloggers who were interested. I've learned a LOT! I still do the same thing, but have found the added benefit of long term "friends" who I admire and care about. It's been great. Why do I create art? For the same reason that I breathe.

  9. Kathy, The common theme for everyone seems to be the "need" to create art, and blogging becomes an extension of that. We all need it, we all learn from it, and from each other. Isn't blogging wonderful?!