Sunday, January 10, 2010


A friend of mine read my last post and asked, "Was your graduate school experience really that stultifying?" First I laughed and thought, "Oh she's been to graduate school" using big words that nobody knows what they mean. I think she was trying to be worked. Then I went and looked it up. You know when you think you know what a word means just by the way that it sounds? Do you have that? Anyway stultifying is one of those words that really sounds like what it means :

1 archaic : to allege or prove to be of unsound mind and hence not responsible
2 : to cause to appear or be stupid, foolish, or absurdly illogical
3 a : to impair, invalidate, or make ineffective : negate b : to have a dulling or inhibiting effect on

I like this word a lot...Did I mention that I love words, which makes this not writing thing really suck for me!

Now my intent is not for this blog to become one big run-on sentence about my graduate school experience, and don't worry it won't be but I did feel some compulsion to answer this question. The answer is YES!! I had surrounded myself with scholars and intellectuals (I'm surrounded by them right now) and it made me feel "stupid and dull and inhibited." My words were never going to be as smart as the ones I had read. I stopped trusting my own ideas...that's bad. I didn't believe I had anything worthwhile to say and I even convinced myself that all my friends were really only still my friends because they like my wife (she is really cool, but the real truth is that my brain borders on neurotic.) And... I didn't, I guess I should say, couldn't make art for almost a year, and that is not for a lack of trying. That's the longest period of non-productivity that I have ever had and I was really worried that it may never come back, whatever "it" is...

The answer is also NO!! The fact is that the work I made in graduate school is some of the best work I've ever made and this new "post graduate" work seems to have the promise to be even better. And I am going to find my voice and I am interesting and dogonit people like me...tehehe...My friends still love me and I think they would if I had anything interesting to say or not, if I made art or not...because they're my friends, duh!

So there you have it LeeAnn a long answer to a short question. I guess graduate school is one of those things that, if you pour yourself into it like I did, can suck the life out of you and at the same time breathe new life into you. Stultifying, no, at least not permanently, but definitely something that I've had to recover from.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, I did mean to nudge you into reconsidering your thoughts on graduate school, though that can certainly evolve over time. While I was a little disappointed at your initial response, I figured you'd chew on it some more;) You did and quickly! Blaming graduate school is something of a common trope and that is how your first post read to me. But you are uncommon and you've demonstrated that, again, here. I think you've found your voice Sue, if you ever really lost it. It's just changed a bit and is not familiar to you yet.

    I promise to shut up now.