I've finished my first grad school paper!
And more importantly for the purposes of this blog, I've been working full-tilt on the Kohelet papercut project I mentioned in The Megillah Project.
Like I said in that post, this might just be one of the most difficult paper cuts I've ever made. It's absolutely nowhere near finished, but I've been making a lot of headway, I think, and covering lots of ground. I can't remember the last time I worked so quickly on a project, and yet taken so long to get through it.
Recently, a new friend asked to see the project I'd been working on, and so I showed it to her, in all of its half-finished, unglued glory. Her immediate reaction was, "that's a lot of pain."
"Yeah," I agreed, "it's a pain to make this thing, but-"
"No," she corrected, "I meant, I see a lot of pain in it. You must have been screaming while you made this."
I thought about that. Maybe not screaming, but freaking out on the inside, quite possibly.
Like I've said so many times, it's been a tough couple of months. But ever since taking Neil Gaiman's advice to 'make good art' to heart, I've been pouring out my frustrations and stress into this thing. So yes, I suppose it is a product of stress. But that's the first semester of grad school for you.
My mom asked me the other day whether it's still in black and white. I answered that yeah, but now I've got some gray in there too. Been considering a little patch of yellow.
She told me, "Keep doing it. But don't make it too big, or you'll never get past it."
So far, this thing is 31/2 feet long with four layers. And I have to say, I do find that every time I finish a long session of sketching, cutting, and separating layer by layer, I always do feel a little lighter than when I started. I just have to hope that this will turn into something fulfilling to be born of my stress, not a long-term reminder of how I was feeling when I started. I think it'll be fine. That's something I'm strangely confident about. On to the next layer.