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Jack of All Hobbies

I’m something of a serial hobbyist. This is true despite the fact that one of my hobbies, writing, is now my job. I suppose it’s a holdover from my high school days, when I did a lot of creative extracurriculars. I cultivated a lot of skills in areas I really enjoyed. Some of it persisted in college, but in my immediate post-college years, I let go of pretty much all of it.

Since I moved to Portland and started working from home, I’ve been better able to make time to rekindle those old hobbies and pick up some new ones. This is really fun for me, but definitely has a bit of an edge to it–see, I like to be good at things. I like to be really good. So I don’t just enjoy a hobby, I actively try to do my best at it.

This isn’t always a good thing for me. Sometimes it feeds into my reluctance to share/guilt post-sharing, in a weird twisted humblebrag thing that I don’t like. Other times, my desire to be good at all my hobbies leads to jumping between them all too quickly, which means progress is slow and the nasty little depression voice starts talking about how I’m never going to be better than amateur at anything.

But most of the time, I’m excited by my hobbies and proud of my execution of them. In the interest of sharing, here’s a list of some of my non-publishing hobbies.

Art

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A recent commission, before and after painting

I always liked drawing, but my interest in art didn’t really begin until I took Drawing I in high school. I was surrounded by friends in my class, really enjoyed the work, and had a talent for it. For almost all of high school, barring the semester before that class, I attended art club after school and either took a class with my favorite art teacher, Walton (Drawing I, II, and III) or spent my lunch or study hall in his classroom working on stuff. In college, I didn’t have room in my schedule for art classes, which was a bummer for sure.

I didn’t pick up sketching seriously again until a year or two ago, when From Under the Mountain solidified in my head. My Instagram is littered with the evolution of Guerline and my drawing skills. I expanded into watercolor because I like the aesthetic and I wanted to add color to my art, but I still feel most skilled with pencil and pen. I have a long-neglected DeviantArt page that may get more use in the future.

Music

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From our Christmas party! Matt and I led our friends in some carols.

Similar to art, my passion for music came from joining the women’s chorus at my high school and discovering that it was fun and that I had a talent for it. My high school choral career was even sort of a legacy situation–my mother and maternal grandmother both went to the same high school. My mother sang with both my grandmother’s director and a young newcomer; I sang with that young newcomer, now older, and a new young teacher who was his son.

I continued to sing in choirs in college, including the select ensemble, which is where I met my husband Matt, a music education major specializing in choral direction. Outside of school, though, there are few opportunities for a non-professional adult choir singer who doesn’t attend church. Matt no longer works as a music teacher, but he and I have recently started singing together again at home, to regain both our vocal skills and his teaching technique.

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From “Charley’s Aunt” at my college, 2011

Theater

My love of music overlapped a lot with my love of theater, ever since I joined the high school musical in my freshman year. I performed in more than twenty shows during high school and college, a mix of school shows and community theater productions. I loved it, and I was good at it. But theater, especially community theater, depends a lot on what shows are available to audition for and whether you get cast. After college, the community theater I was friendly with stopped putting on shows I was interested in, and it fell to the wayside.

This is a hobby that I haven’t quiet broken back into yet. I’ve been to only two auditions since moving to Portland. The first was for a musical, but I was so out of practice that I flubbed my song. The second as for a production of Romeo and Juliet–I nailed the audition, but schedule conflicts meant I couldn’t participate.

Portland is a much larger city than my old one, and the arts & theater alliance here hosts an annual cattle-call audition that seems to be the main way to get cast. I have only a few more weeks before I have to decide whether to register for it.

Sewing

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A petticoat I made!

This is a new hobby of mine; I learned a running stitch in my home ec class in middle school, but we never even used machines. But anyone who has followed me for even a short while knows that I’m obsessed with costumes. Often I cobble them together from what I have, but I’ve been increasingly interested in being able to make the pieces instead of just hunt for something close.

Sewing interests me on an everyday level too. As my style has evolved closer and closer to boho-goth, it’s been difficult to find clothes that suit my aesthetic. Being able to just make the kind of clothing you want seems so freeing, and I wouldn’t mind cultivating that skill. It’s difficult right now because I don’t have my own sewing machine; luckily my mother-in-law is happy to let me use hers and teach me what to do. A few more projects might be enough to see whether it’s worth saving up for my own machine.

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So there we go! When I’m not reading, writing, or editing, I’m probably doing one of these things. There are many other things I want to get into again or for the first time–dance, knitting, gaming–but this is probably enough to be getting on with for the time being, haha. What are your non-book related hobbies?