Take Yourself To School

 I’m certain that for as long as you been alive, going to school has been pressed into your mind nonstop. You’ve heard it from parents, major figures in the community as well as from iconic individuals on the television screen.  You most certainly heard it from the educators you sat in front of as they emptied their knowledge into your hands to use on quizzes, tests, and everyday experiences. The last thing on your mind after spending twelve to thirteen years in primary school and four years at a university is opening another text book or studying heavy material. Trust me, I know! What if I told you that just because you graduated doesn’t mean that you are no longer a student. 

That is the case for us all, especially artists. I’m certain there is one particular artist or movement in general that has influenced the way you view your craft.  There’s a standard that has been the catalyst of your personal progress, sending you down a creative rabbit hole of anticipated challenges. The question we usually ask ourselves is, how can I do that? We watch the videos, read the articles and blogs expressing the artistry of someone doing what appears to be beyond human capability. Believe it or not, you’re doing what most students do when in a classroom setting. You’re studying. Whether you are secluded in a library corner or at your upstairs office under a lamp right before midnight, you’re acquiring information.  

I’m certain that reading one hundred pages on bettering your craft may not appeal to you. That’s fine! I was watching Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull a while back and heard Harrison Ford’s classic character mention that in order to be a great archeologist, you have to get out of the library. You would assume that the library would become your home, but it’s the contrary. Reading is good, but living that which is read is better. Get your hands dirty…literally! You can’t just read about swimming. Jump in the pool! I personally love wordplay and my poetry is heavily influenced by Hip-Hop, so I listen to specific artist that have mastered that concept. I pay attention to their vocabulary usage and word placement within their lyrics. The complexity of the imagery catches my attention, as well as the simplicity. Listening to artists such as Common, Tobe Nwigwe , Black Thought and Andy Mineo encourages me to find innovative ways to illustrate thought in literary form.  

You may not be sitting in a desk for eight hours or booking a study room, but you are indeed taking yourself to school when making time to better your craft. Continue to do research on what you love to do so that you can master it. Your finished product will become the equivalent to any analytical paper published at the most prestigious of educational institutions. You will start to become a game-changer, trend-setting for the future generation to mimic and upgrade. The best teachers are the best students, for they’re always striving to maximize their abilities.  

- Calvin Pennywell, Jr.