In November, we start our second month's courses. The focus of last month's was training in drawing. This month, we are put into groups with graphic art majors. Last weekend our assignment was to see as many interpretations of the play Romeo and Juliet. We were asked to jot down themes and notes so as to have class discussions today.
Sometimes I don't understand myself. I can't tell when I don't feel like talking, but that does happen. It occurs to me that when I was studying literature back in the US more than 10 years ago, one of the professors gave me the critique that if I'd like to work in the academic circle, I had to talk more. After having been a teacher for 10 years and saying all kinds of stuff on silent occasions, the desire to be invisible returns. Today I should have said something, but I couldn't. However, the British students around me kept coming up with ideas. In the end, Derek sorted out ten themes for each group to work on.
My group got the topic of "language." But last week Jake strongly advised us not to read the original play because it is meant to be performed. He hoped that we would read comic or watch 3-D interpretations. Though Ruth had the play, it was a challenge to have a good look at the use of the language in the play and summarize it in terms of images and visual language within two hours. I bet this was one of the most difficult topics of all.
It would be too much not to say anything since there were only five people in a group. I thought of one point in our earlier class discussion when Derek mentioned that many characters play on their use of language which actually hides a lot of connotations and symbols. I thus told everyone about the imagery of roses. Visual language is about using a symbol or image that people can identify easily to represent one idea. Afterwards, we went to the library to do more searching online for images. However, we didn't quite figure out our direction, so some of us felt stuck and frustrated.
When time was up, every group put up their A3 sheets on the wall and gave presentations. After having seen others' works, my inclination to escape got stronger and stronger. Upon hearing people's being complimented, I felt like hiding. Tatiana's super lovely hand-drawn images made me feel so inferior. She actually did the sketches while watching the movie The West Side Story. Last night when watching it, I was doing my hand-shaking exercise. This is the DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US. When it was our turn, we were the last group. The sky was already dark and everyone was eager to go home. Our host Sam gave a very brief introduction and let everyone do their own talking. As soon as Derek gave the feedback, he started by saying, "I like your rose image!" It was a very nice surprise for me because I felt rather at a loss for a whole day. Because of his words and my self-introspect, I think I'll be used to such forms of discussion and brainstorming soon.
On my way home I told Elie that I often compare my life at this moment with the life that my parents think I should be leading. From whichever angle, I feel blessed. I believe that in the future when I look back, I will definitely find a long discussion day like today totally unforgettable...