I knit. And I cook, write, take pictures. All for one low price.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

a slice of self

Last night was the second session of my drawing class. I think I am beginning to understand how to hold a pencil. The white paper surface is not quite as intimidating anymore. ( Ohh, I am having a flashback to graduate school....I have an MA in English with a concentration in feminist critical theory. There was this article where someone likened the act of writing to perpetration/penetration, with the pen/cil being the equivalent to the male organ that begins with the same letter. White paper: untouched woman. Anyway, I digress, and it's clear to me why I never made it to professorhood. Too many disturbing images. )

The room we were in was again freezing cold, we were shivering in our coats. They did try to fix the problem. But nonetheless. (Heck, the shivering aided in the shading of my drawing.) The other problem I keep having, and I have been trying NOT to talk about this for a week, is that the absolutely wonderful and caring teacher, who is exceedingly knowledgeable, and who is blessed with a fine sense of humor, has a very strong Russian accent. This is the first time she is teaching this class in English, so the words sometimes come out in a very different sequence, her tenses are mixed up, and I cannot even imagine what it must be like for her to be standing in front of 10 people. Would I be able to teach 10 Russians how to knit? I think not.
The only reason I am bringing this up is that I am a foreign speaker myself, and I happen to have trouble listening to other foreign speakers if their accents are very strong. I am the one who cannot and will not order the Chinese food over the phone. I make other people do it. When I happen to go to an Irish/South African/Indian movie, it takes me the first 20 minutes to get used to the accent. It's like my ears (and very good ears they are, indeed) have adapted to hearing Upstate New York very well, to the point where I speak it so fluently that most people mistake me for a native.
I grew up in Germany, even taught foreign language classes for 3 years, and believe me I know what it takes to communicate in a different tongue. But in this drawing class, it feels like I am trying to learn TWO new foreign languages at the same time, drawing and Russian, while I am listening in a foreign language...and my poor little brain is fried after 3 hours on Tuesday nights.
But somehow, I had fun last night, after a while I was determined to, because heck it's only drawing and nobody is going to die if I make a mistake.

1 comment:

AlisonH said...

At 16, I once doodled a horse in front of one of my dad's friends--and the guy was a world-famous painter. He had grown up in Alsace-Lorraine, so you can imagine what his accent was like. He proceeded to give me a very heartfelt drawing lesson on the spot, which was much appreciated (while I was trying not to be tremendously intimidated.) See? It's so easy! (umm...) At least, by then I'd been around him long enough to figure out that German-no-French-no-German accent!