Friday, February 17, 2012

Work, Work, Work

It is often said that if you do what you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life. What they don't tell you is that sometimes your loves change, or you find new projects to conquer, or doing the same thing over and over again just gets really, really boring. 

I love food. I love cooking, baking, learning about all the various items out there from around the world that I can cook with and eat. Working in grocery was a pretty natural fit for me, and fostered my love of cooking. I love telling customers stupid little facts they didn't know about what they're buying, and talking to them about what they plan to make.

What I don't love is constantly dealing with stupid, obvious questions that anyone can answer for himself if he just gave it the 5 seconds of effort it required to figure out, and incessantly asking for 9 hours "How's your day going?" Being constantly chipper and perky in the face of extreme stupidity and boredom is a part of retail, but it isn't a part of me.

You know how people say that if you work in fast food, you'll never eat fast food again? That is a much more realistic view of the work force. And I have come to realize that if I want to continue shopping at the store where I work, I should probably stop working there.

My actual ikebana creation.
When I was in Japan in 2003, the facility where I did my study abroad program had a cultural day every Friday, and one particular Friday was devoted to ikebana, or flower arranging in the Japanese style. My Japanese was not that great, and the elder ladies explaining ikebana to us didn't speak much, if any, English. All I got from the rather lengthy instructions were "make a triangle" and "keep it balanced." Well, my years in art classes had certainly taught me how to do that! So I collected my bundle of pieces and made a balanced , though not symmetrical, triangle out of three flowers and arranged the fronds and other greenery around them to make it look whole and complete (in my judgement). 

And when I was done, I heard my teacher exclaim "Coburn-san!!" My immediate reaction was "What did I do??" It turned out I had somehow struck upon some inner magical working of ikebana that was so impressive to the Japanese eye that my teacher insisted I needed to return to Japan after I graduated from my university in Michigan and go to college for ikebana. If only I could manage that. People who do ikebana for a living make beaucoup yen. 

Since I can't see myself moving to Japan any time soon, I decided to look into the possibilities of taking classes here in the US (since no one will hire me as a designer on raw talent alone). There is actually a program in Lansing that I could do and become certified (yes, they have state certifications for flower arranging), or study more or less one-on-one with an instructor outside Detroit. The classes in Lansing might be cheaper, but Detroit is certainly closer. And when I have money again, I definitely intend to pursue this.

I'm a link!
Click me to see more.
Until that day comes, however, I am pretty much stuck where I am. I have a few projects on the side to try to bribe myself into contentment, these blogs being among them. I also opened a shop on etsy that desperately needs more items posted to it, and tons of shops on CafePress that are in equally desperate need of being brought together in one place so that I may link to them and attempt to make more money off of them.

My side writing projects have dried up for now, mostly because life is keeping me too busy to spend a lot of time pursuing them. I feel happiest and the most fulfilled while being creative. So who knows. Maybe with all of these projects going the old adage that I opened this blog with may come true for me one day.

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