By April S. Fields
Rag-tag, jack-legged, lesser than, undefinable. These attributes are the uneven, handmade feather stitches that hold the crazy quilt of my life together.
In my younger days I admit I cared…a little. Enough to keep on keeping on, throwing stuff against the wall, hoping something would finally stick up there where it might get noticed.
I even tried to be normal once, but that was the worst two minutes of my life.
However, for all the things I am not (including what the world deems worthy), I am an unstoppable doer. I do and then, once my curiosity is sated, I move on to the next learning curve. From the moment I was able to make my fingers respond to my irrational desire to make something from random nothings, I have been on a quest to learn. Anything. Everything. As a child I wanted–no–I needed to know how things work. I needed to create, to make things that did not theretofore exist.
The medium that I use in my art form, the tools, the process, could be anything. If it is physical matter, it’s fair game for me to figure out how to use it in a way it likely was never meant to be. Kinesthetic learner that I confess to be, nothing is safe from being used to make something else.
There may or may not have been things taken apart that never worked again, during my primary education.
It has always been about the doing though, not the final reassembled product, that energized me. The problem solving, the gathering of odd bits of unrelated materials, pieced, sewn, painted or screwed together that then became a solution is what has kept my world in balance.
Thus it’s been the doing that is the reason for all the learning. And this conclusion is not easily explained.
Because of a hundred unrelated skills that I have acquired over the last seven decades, for no other reason than I had no reason not to learn them, I think I might have blown up a few web-based algorithms here in my twilight years. You know, that code that grabs your personal info every time you surf around the web and click on sites. Who doesn’t know that bits and bytes of information are gathered on us, via software, used to profile us, sort us, define what our likes and dislikes are. The benign object, of course, being to tailor advertising to our highest potential for spending. At least that’s the cover story.
But how does a mindless program create a category for a naturally curious learner/doer? I get a whiff of something and I want to know more about it. On any given day my searching online may leave cookie crumbs all over the place. I might look up a historical figure on Wikipedia that then leads to researching nano technology or the science of earthquakes or health issues or psychology or electronics, then I leave crummy footprints in a recipe site and watch a YouTube video on how to make lipstick with coconut oil and crayons.
Who am I then? How can I be defined/categorized?
Well, I am a doer who lives in a perpetual state of learning new things with no other goal than to do. Not unlike someone who is diagnosed as being on the spectrum, I do not understand some concepts, such as being bored, for example. I have too many things left to learn, too many things to figure out. On any given day, I am likely to have a list that might include five unrelated projects in various stages of educating myself on and creating.
Even so, I don’t live to learn, I learn so that I can do and, odd as it might seem, I’ve never thought of myself as a professional anything, even during those times when I punched a time card and earned a salary. Product designer? Seamstress? Muralist? Musician? Photo stylist? Entrepreneur? Web designer? Columnist? Author? Publisher?
What am I?
Peculiar, that’s what. I finally made peace with that and my only regret is that I didn’t realize sooner that there’s nothing to hide or make excuses for if you are driven to keep adding to yourself, even if the results don’t make sense to the world or net you anything but the satisfaction of having learned it and done it. The trade-off is that you probably won’t be able to talk about it. All those things you did. You won’t earn any titles either.
The upside is that no title or recognition is necessary, I just am what I do. Good enough for me!
About April Fields: Mother, wife, grandmother, I have many titles. I do Print-On-Demand publishing, web design and graphic design. But none of these tags matter much, in the big scheme of things. When a little voice calls, “Meema, I want to show you something”, I answer because that is my best job so far. 🙂 I’m just Meema.
April blogs at bagsallpacked.blogspot.com.