~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~Lyric of the Day:I see you've got your list out
Say your piece and get out
Yes I got the jist of it
But it's alright
Sorry that you feel that way
The only thing there is to say
Every silver lining’s got a
Touch of grey
I will get by
I will survive.
- Grateful Dead
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Look to your left ... Now look to your right ...
... One of these people won't be here when you graduate."
When the president of the college said this to us at freshman orientation, you could have heard a pin drop. As loud as a knitting needle.
There was talk afterwards that it seemed a pretty lousy thing to tell us this at orientation. Very discouraging. I agreed somewhat, but the guy had been at the school for about a hundred and twelve years, and I figured he knew what he was talking about. Not to mention, we were in the big league now. The bar was significantly raised. While we were all once the best artist at our school, we were now with every other best artist from every other school.
Still, we were sure we'd be one of the ones who would still be there at the end. We all were sure.
I remember one night about ten of us piled into my roommate's Escort, Keystone Cop fashion, and headed to the dance club for a little steam blowing. It was midterm time and we were all hyped up on a liquid diet of coffee, Mountain Dew and Jolt Cola. We were feeling particularly light of heart that evening, and were ready to have some fun.
"Touch of Grey" was popular that year, and as we sped down the road it came on the radio. The volume of our chatter was much louder than that of the box, but our ears picked it up and we all resounded, "OHHHHH YEAHHHH!" It hit the mood perfectly - my roommate turned it up and we all sang along. One of us said, "This is our song, guys! We'll all make it, forget what the Pres said about us!" We piled our hands together, playground pact style, and sang at the top of our lungs like it was a pledge.
WE WILL GET BY ...
We grasped each other's hands in affectionate high fives for the song's duration, grinning our fool heads off as we bellowed.
The President was right. At graduation time, our class was only half the size it started out. Of the four of us who roomed in the dorm together our first year, only two of us were walking the stage. I remember looking back on the night in that car, and it too delivered only about half of us in the pact to earning a degree.
Some of us ran out of money. Others ran out of drive. Others ran out of confidence. Art school is not the fun and games everyone thinks it is. Creating art on demand is tough. Draining. Exhausting. Those of us who did make it through were vastly different people from whence we started. Of the friends I've kept in touch with from college, many don't even work in the art field now. It's a rough line of work - demanding much and often giving monetarily little in return - and many of us put it aside, because the term "starving artist" is not funny when you live it.
When I hear "Touch of Grey" now though, like I did yesterday in the car, it simply takes me back to that night in the late eighties ~ when ten kids who were sure they had life by the package were absolutely, 100% sure that it would happen for us just as we dreamed it would.
It was a great place to be.