My Road to Creativity, 18: The final University years

Spring semester, I submitted a request to teach an elective studio in creativity and it was refused, which made me angry as I had been promised that studio before I left for my sabbatical. The chairperson reneged on her promise so I did the next best thing and integrated creative development into my regular studios as best I could along with doing the projects dictated by the syllabus. This seemed to work.

I didn’t teach meditation or anything like that, but just the basic premise of not paying attention to those critics, especially the inner one which is the worst of all. I encouraged them to essentially design without thinking. gert an idea out, then come back and polish it. It proved interesting to see what began to happen. These kids caught on quickly, let go, and started having fun with design. They became more confident and, consequently, their projects became more daring and much better. 

I was finding the way the Department of Art and Design as well as the University as a whole becoming a place I didn’t want to be anymore. I loved teaching and the students but university and faculty politics were becoming more weird. My wife’s work was changing as well and we were finding there was increased stress in our lives neither of us wanted. It was getting to the point that, more and more over the last few years, we were both dreading going back to work after our breaks.

In the meantime, I was still journaling and writing poetry. I continued to do experimental typographic creations using my own writings. I was also having fun and playing with design. With the help of the computer, I was creating some design I never would have tried before.

In the summer of 1989, I decided to go to lutherie school. I had played guitar since my twenties and with my woodworking skills from when I worked as a carpenter, I decided to learn guitar building and repair. I found a place up in Big Rapids, Michigan that offered a two month course in early summer that would work into my schedule. After two months of eight hour days, five days plus a half day on Saturday, I had built both an electric and an acoustic guitar. The school was awesome and I loved it. I had another new skill set. 

Our financial advisor was advising us that we could retire and maintain basically the same revenue that we had working full time. Then the final straw came for me when tenured faculty were directed by the Board of Regents to submit post tenure document to maintain tenure.

As scary as it was, we decided to take early retirement and did so in May of 2001. We moved to Durango, Colorado that same August.

In retrospect, I sometimes missed the University and wish I had stayed on for a few more years, but my life has done nothing but gotten better ever since. 

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