Last Saturday my friend April and I went to an art class where the instructor has a painting in mind and guides the class with simple steps (read: dummy proof). Let’s be clear: Jordana is not an artist. I remember at the ripe old age of 9 receiving my first “C” ever in school, and it was in art. Now, you have to realize that I grew up in the generation of Gold Star achievers. Turning in a homework assignment warranted a round of applause, nonetheless actually understanding the material. So to receive a “C” was traumatizing enough for me to remember it 20 years later.
For the longest time, I was completely baffled about the grade. The project that I turned in was a hanging mobile of equipment representing various sports (i.e. a racquet for tennis, a basketball, a football, etc.) carved out of a Styrofoam product. I can’t say it was Picasso quality, but it was definitely something a parent would graciously hang on the refrigerator (except our fridge wasn’t magnetic…wait, now that I think of it, maybe that was just a ploy!). Keep in mind that my mom is super artistic, so she was probably shaking her head as she accepted the poorly crafted creation, wondering when the artistic gene would reappear in the family. Even so, I always thought it warranted a higher grade.
However, I think I might finally understand why the teacher bestowed the “C” upon me. My theory is that giving a “B” is like saying, “You obviously know what you’re doing. You just need to work a little harder,” whereas a “C” is like saying, “Kid, I know you don’t get it now, but you should save yourself and your family a lot of heartache. This is going nowhere fast. In fact, you don’t even need to get an X-ray to confirm; you clearly don’t have an artistic bone in your body.”
And it’s true. I absolutely don’t. I can crochet because it requires counting loops. I can cross stitch because it requires counting threads of a needle. But when it comes to visual input, I can neither transfer what I see to paper or canvas, nor can I really highlight the nuance of color and light (without step by step instructions).
My friend Melissa is very artistic. She spent several years working in set design in L.A. before switching careers. When she and I are traveling or hiking together, she’ll always point out visual details in the landscape that I’ve inevitably missed. I just can’t seem to take it all in like she can.
So where am I going with all this? Well, this is all to serve as an explanation for my blogging style. I love to add pictures, but I am in no way an artist. That’s why I tend to pull pictures from online to emphasize a point instead of as a way to amaze and inspire. And I’ll scatter a few pictures from my various hikes, but if they’re in any way beautiful or majestic, it’s just a happy coincidence.
I guess this will also serve as a word of warning then. When I head out onto the A.T., I plan to continue to publish blog posts and to include photos along the way. And I do hereby solemnly swear that they will be more function than form. I just don’t have the artistic flare to pull off a breathtaking view. And if a picture happens to take your breath away, chances are that either I asked someone else to snap the shot or the scene is actually ten times more amazing than I’ve portrayed. Truth be told, I’m kind of OK with that as long as I get to see the real thing. And if you stick with me, I’ll do my best to wax poetic and make you wish that you were there (or maybe even grateful that you’re not).