Today was a good day. After coming home from campus, I discovered two envelopes in my mailbox. One had labels I purchased as farewell gifts for students enrolled in my “Bebop to Hip Hop: Music and Young America course” courtesy of Midnight Snack, a Canada-based etsy seller.
And then I saw another envelope in my mailbox. It was filled with nine cards in a baseball card holder courtesy of Chicago-based artist Jennifer Hines. I learned about Jennifer’s card exchange – which asks participants to exchange nine tiny pieces of art for nine tiny pieces of art – via a California arts website suggested by Phoebe Beasley, a renowned artist. Beasley spoke and presented her own work at the University of Alabama more than a year ago. My nine pieces were collages made on paper given to me my by one of my UA colleagues. Some of the images were taken in Chicago where I attended graduate school.
I have often turned to art to decompress and here is another example, but more importantly in this case, I have enjoyed meeting new people in far away places via their work.
It’s not easy producing art work – even as a stress-reliever. Last spring, I learned in Handmade Nation, a course taught by my colleague Dr. Heather Kopelson that some people who run stores on places like etsy often do so with unpaid labor. Sometimes the real payment is in the creating, something a New York Times article seemed to make yesterday in a story about how people are turning to clay as a way to decompress from the stress felt during today’s political climate. Creativity can enhance one’s health.
No matter what, I am glad to not only have a chance to create, but to share with other people who make art whether they are doing it as a sole source of income or not.
It’s a privilege, in fact, given the headlines. Meanwhile, next week I get to hear my students present the beats they created. They help unveil how leisure time figures into our messy postwar world. It’s an honor to work with them.
PS Today was also great because I ran into a student I met more than a year ago. At the time, he was an undergraduate heading to the University of Miami, my undergraduate alma mater to learn more about sports therapy.
He has now returned to Alabama to earn a graduate degree in sports management. It’s always wonderful seeing people pursue their dreams. I had a talk today with another student who is struggling with such a thing while managing schoolwork. I have faith that this second student will rise to the occasion in and outside the classroom. I am happy to be part of this soul’s journey no matter the hurdles we all face as we try to, hopefully, make this world a better place for everyone.