I took a different route home today and passed by the architecture school. Students were outside sculpting things and, although I could not see their faces clearly, I knew they enjoyed what they were doing. (I knew, at least, they had a passion for art; otherwise they would be doing something else.) I only realized then how much I missed my high school art classes and my old art club. I wondered how different my college life would have been if I had chosen to pursue a degree in architecture or design instead, if I had chosen to turn at a different corner.
But I didn’t turn there, despite my long-lived ambition to become an architect, and despite having walked practically everywhere else. I had set off first with the aspiration to save the trees, but I was reluctant to take chemistry—I did not wish to play God in an artificial utilitarian utopia, operating on assumptions regarding particles I cannot see. At some point I was in pursuit of the truth behind human behavior and cognition, but I rather liked keeping the truth of my own mind a mystery. One road I turned onto involved numbers, laws, and dollar signs, but the road was so well worn and so bland. The system that governed it was too bureaucratic for my cynicism, so I spun around and left. Still lost, I still chose not to do major in any visual arts because I refused to be quantitatively evaluated for my imagination. Ironically I eventually chose to study narratives, a course of study that also requires quite some creative ability. I told myself it couldn’t be too bad, because at least there are only so many combinations of the twenty-six letters and punctuation of the English language (unless you are E. E. Cummings). There are no such mathematic restrictions in visual art.
But it turned out that I had been viewing everything too functionally, despite my distaste for such systems. I told myself to stop thinking in terms of probability and conjectures. Consequently I told myself to pretend, to imagine, that I had not seen today’s route as a different route and had not wandered off on so many tangents.
Today I passed by the architecture school, and I saw students sculpting things outside. The birds in the branches were warbling, and I, too, felt compelled to write a song about myself.