*This post was originally written on July 7, 2017 on a different blogging platform. I’ve since made the decision to move to WordPress and am bringing those early posts here for continuity.

I am currently nearing the completion of my Masters and have been wondering where I go from here. I have been thinking deeply about my desire to pursue research at the Ph.D level and realizing that while I want to very, very much, life isn’t stacking up that way for a while. I credit Mirna with helping me realize that there is no need to put off exploring my areas of interest simply because the logistics of immediate academic participation are sketchy. That conversation happened a few weeks ago and I’ve been thinking on it ever since. I am interested in how society views creatives and creatives view society, themselves, and each other. I am particularly interested in how creativity intersects with other areas of social identity such as community building, individual identity, self-help culture, spirituality, commerce, religion, and mental health among others. I’ve decided that I want to start playing in the sandbox, so to speak, and seeing what I come up with. To that end, I am going to start working more with digital media platforms, which are not my forte, such this blog and *gasp* a YouTube channel.

I picture the channel and the blog as two parts of the tripod I want to build a different kind of creative practice on. The third part consists of the visual journals, written journals, and sketchbooks I already keep. I’ve enjoyed sharing my work on Facebook and Instagram, although I have handled both with relative shyness not wanting to clutter up other people’s feeds. I feel like creating my own digital spaces will give me more mental freedom to post as frequently or infrequently as I’d like, creating a kind of interactive archive. I want to use the blog to share thoughts on what I am reading, writing I am working on, as well as having it be a place where I can put links to articles and websites I am interacting with, currently a major limitation to my usual analog practice. I want the YouTube channel to help me gaining confidence by putting myself and my work out there, including learning the tech skills needed to do so. I am not the most tech savvy person. I also think that interacting with YouTube more regularly and deeply will give me insights into online community building that I would like and don’t currently have. Part of all of this is that I think this trifecta will come the closest to approximating what it’s like to share my creative practices with others in real life, which is something I really enjoy and have been encouraged to do more of. Hopefully the end results are bricolages of things that help me think about how and why we create in different ways.

I feel like it is important to start this adventure with some kind of introduction, so here goes:

Hi, I am Shea. I am gaining confidence in calling myself an artist and a writer. Those practices have been a part of my life for a very long time now. Despite having written a thesis, I am still not convinced I am an academic, which I suppose is hardly surprising given the high rates of Imposter Syndrome in the ivory towers. I am old enough to have grown up without the Internet in my pocket and young enough to have been on Facebook for a third of my life. I draw, write, bake, cook, and read voraciously. I love music and singing. I miss lifting heavy weights. I live with mental illness and while it has had strong impacts on pretty much all areas of my life, it does not define who I am. That said, I get really tired of dealing with it on the regular. I am pretty sure anyone who deals with a chronic illness knows what that is like. I believe in being honest, although that does mean at times that I make people uncomfortable because I am the person who will tell you if there is broccoli in your teeth, your fly is down, and even more difficult things. I’ve been married and divorced, and ended up remarrying again to everyone’s surprise (including ours). I identify as queer, am sex positive, and pro-kink. I think a lot about how different kinds of privilege and marginalization work in our world. I am a pacifist married to a soldier. I don’t believe that being honest gives anyone licence to be cruel—there are respectful ways to have conversations on very difficult issues, and I believe we are all capable of engaging this way. I try my best to operate from a place of compassion for others and sometimes struggle with extending that compassion to myself. I am currently in a place where I am full of the wonder and trepidation that comes with transitioning from one major life project to another. I never want to lose my capacity for joy or my appreciation of whimsy. I see faces in all kinds of inanimate objects and they lead to some of my best cartoons. I have almost no practical knowledge of television as I hardly watch it. I am trying to figure out how to be less of a perfectionist and procrastinator. I don’t want kids of my own and like hanging out with other people’s. I recharge best in deep forest and mountains. I greatly dislike fishing and will read in the boat instead. I frequently put down my glasses and then have to look for them. I collect old thesauri. I carry a fountain pen in my bag at all times. I would like to have a greener thumb. I am a nerd, possibly a geek. Probably both.

It’s nice to meet you.

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