Wolverine Stew: Same Stars

This begins with a question

How to thread a handful of years

Through a thousand words

And at first, I went for that

Sunset over Palmer Field

Over the classes where I learned about

Bioluminescence and serpent hoards

And what to do when a screw’s

Let loose through the fan of your laptop

(Which is mostly panic, by the way)

But I couldn’t quite catch the wisps of

Orange giving way to the night

So down I walked past

Two theatres, tonight with no moon,

Halls formed from paper monsters

From which celebration echoes

A courtyard of black-feather leaves

Where first this all began

Where I found a world of

Strange music and a good few

Kind words of encouragement to

Try this all out in the first place

And I kept on going

Stumbling upon the

Pothole pock-marked path

Taken in a parade of maize and blue

Trying to keep the cold at bay

I ended up before the stadium

A family necessity when our weekend came

Where I realized that the screams of a crowd

Are quite contagious

And I smile with the static

Still singing in my ears

But this isn’t quite it

So I wander a little more

And the sky darkens in

The sweet scent of shadowy lilacs

As I turn my attention upward

And there it is

How do I write a goodbye?

How could it hold

Every last thank you for the

Laughter I was let into?

I think of every

Walk with a friend spent trying to

Rot each other’s brains when

They became too full of phantoms

Every evening spent shouting at dice

Made of benevolent stones and troll skulls

With the friendliest chaos one can conjure together

Every post-it note needed to make a

Smile that stood in a window for a semester

And maybe one more that stays a little longer

Every mask I carefully made

As I joined in the revelries of

The one night each year I start to come back

From the ghost I can make of myself

Every strum and song and

Wild of words hustling towards happier trails

Every moment before the lights dimmed

And showed their rising beams of dust

Because each scene was built beforehand

And sung of afterward, the words a flash

Across a screen we all crowded around

Scenes made of plastic trees and hot glue gun thyrsi

Pinprick green constellations and roses, real and parchment

And all the days spent

Going from forests to films

To markets to midnight vaults

To arcades and on across Ann Arbor

Always with those I will be

Grateful to call my friends

All of that

How does goodbye hold all of that?

Well, it doesn’t

So instead, I’ll thread a hopeful “see you later”

Through the thousand words above

And look to the streetlight

That we’ll pretend is a sunrise for now

Because no matter what

For all those memories and people

That a goodbye could never hold

I’m under the same stars as you

Study Hal: Week 43 – Celebration Time

Well friends, this is it! The final episode of Study Hal. On May 1st, Hal and I graduated! It looked like a beautiful day, so Hal tried to watch the ceremony outside (like he would have if he were at the Big House). Unfortunately, he ran into some familiar problems… I guess it’s nice to know that even when everything seems up in the air, there are constants that carry on.

I want to personally thank you for watching the Study Hal series. I started making these videos very nearly a year ago. It started as a fun way to engage with the arts and my school while challenging my creativity. Now, Hal and his world hold a very special place in my heart. Of course, Hal and I will keep in touch, but that sort of thing is always different after graduation.

If you’re new here, you hopped on just in time for the end! Hal is a U-M graduate with a degree in electrical engineering, but he worked and studied from home this past academic year! You can find the rest of the videos on the Study Hal tag. I am also a U-M graduate, but with a degree in art and design. If you’d like to keep up with me, you can find me on Instagram @lrmull!

Follow your Passions and Never Work Again

In anticipation for my final Arts Ink posting, my mom asked me what I was planning on writing about. I confessed that I hadn’t thought about it (and frankly had too many other things on my mind that took priority over this post). She went on to reflect on what a great opportunity it has been for me to have this job for my last two years of college. And she’s right and she’s wrong.

Writing for Arts Seen and then Arts Ink has certainly given me the incredible chance to attend brilliant performances, readings, and concerts, and turn them into written reflections. Each Sunday this year, I’ve been able to sit down with my thoughts and soak my brain in all kinds of art curiosities, musings, and explorations. And hopefully, my writings have not only affected me for the positive, but also I hope it has inspired others to imagine, meditate, create, and engage with the beautiful world around them.

But my mom was wrong – this isn’t a job. Never has it ever felt like a job to me. And I think that’s the greatest thing I could hope for. Sure, there may be deadlines. I might have to say, “Sorry, no bar trivia tonight. I have a blog post to write.” But I don’t ever feel like I’m missing out on fun or working at all. And as a graduating senior, I can only hope to discover more opportunities to be productive and creative, and “not work.”

I just watched the 2011 documentary, “Jirō Dreams of Sushi” last week and within the first five minutes of the film, the eponymous protagonist tells the audience:

“Choose your occupation carefully. You must dedicate yourself to the work. Fall in love with it. Never complain. Dedicate your life to mastering the skill.”

For Jirō, that comes in the form of sushi. He dreams about it. He works from 5 am until after his restaurant closing time, living and breathing his sushi creations. And he’s 85 years old.

I find tremendous admiration in the spirit of Jirō and his constant drive and passion to always improve his own craft as well as the experience for his staff and customers. You can tell that when he is in his restaurant, behind the sushi bar, with the starchy granules of rice and the slippery smoothness of fatty tuna belly on his fingers – he is in his happy place. That is where he wants to be.

So friends, whether you’re graduating this week, next year, or graduated fifty years ago, become your own Jirō. Follow your own sushi dreams, commit yourself to your craft, become your own life’s artisan and chip away at it with love and authenticity. Turn your work into a work: of art, of service, of community outreach, of technology, of inspiration. I wish you all the best at whatever your dreams behold <3

Thank you for the wild ride,

Cammie F.