new thoughts, and caffeine psychosis

October 18, 2003

I have overdosed on caffeine, and it will take DAYS to get back in order. I feel awfully tense.
We had our first day of training for the new cafe – basically we had a cupping to try some Brazilian coffee, some Kenya, and some Atlatil or some other Aztec-sounding word from Guatemala. Then we proceeded to jump on the bar for the first time in two months, and make lattes.

The machine was different than what I’m accustomed to, but I was really fond of it. My results were just lousy in terms of latte art, and only 3 out of the ten drinks I made would I serve to a customer – and that’s only judging criteria on taste, not presentation. However, I have a year of Starbucks experience to reverse, and haven’t been on bar in far too long, so my overall grade for my performance today is a solid C+.

Many of you know I never went to college. When I was making money early on as a web designer, it didn’t seem like I had missed anything – wasn’t I doing well? Most of the people I worked for specifically told me that in new media, college degrees really meant nothing, since they needed experience and the universities hadn’t caught up yet. So I figured I had already established my career as
a web designer & developer, and made my decisions from there.

Three years later, I was running from LA as fast as my leased vehicle could carry me, hoping to god I never had to build another fucking website for a vast, soul-numbing corporation. I even thought, for a little while, that I had succumbed to the burn-out I had witnessed so many of my online friends go through and now hated the very medium of the web itself. This disturbed me – my youthful visions of myself as a crusader for personal web art were based on my innate love for the intricacy of the connections and beauty that spun out in all directions from every site or chat room. Anyone who told me they were trying to build a website for themselves received much enthusiasm and advice and practical help from me. I have built over two hundred websites. I have been paid to build approximately fifty. I believe fully in free(ing) information.

I had decided before I ever entered high school that my calling was as an artist, as vague as it seemed at the time. I decided at seventeen that the web was my medium. I exhausted myself by twenty-three, and when a friend asked for help on a website and I spent a week locked in agony trying to design ANYTHING, I realised it was over. Believing that I was no longer capable of even the most basic web design, let alone web art, I branded myself a failure and signed off.

I took a job at Starbucks after a couple of months of avoiding web work. It was a reprieve, a respite and other words that start with “ruh”. I didn’t quite comprehend it fully at the time, but I knew I was giving myself a break to gather up and start the long push forward into my adulthood. Maybe I’d actually get to sell some illustrations or some of my photographs from my archive. I didn’t know quite what I’d do next, but I had options.Nita had given me a book before I left LA that gave me ideas I had never considered, and I have never told her how grateful I was for it, or how her encouragement was one of the few good things I took out of a very bad time in my life. Indeed, the friendship and encouragement from The Rubberites was always ceaseless and enduring. So thanks guys.

This seems like a lot of exposition unrelated to my going to college, but I’m getting there.

Fast forward to now, please. After a year of working as a barista and making tentative steps in several directions, things began falling into place. Planets aligned correctly, twelve-year curses were broken, growth occurred and something in the brain of Brianna Privett that had been misaligned for far too long suddenly clicked back into place. I began to move forward again after foundering for nearly half my life.
At first I was disinclined to acknowledge small accomplishments. I ignored the fact that I had been exercising regularly for a year without noticing, all the small things I had previously considered benchmarks of being a normal functioning human that I wasn’t ever going to be capable of. When it hit me one day that not only was I happy, but had been a charming, capable girl for almost a year, I decided I was finally at a point in my life where the grand ideas I’d had two or three years previously could become a reality, because I was now able to put the work in.

So I’ve been working. It’s going well – slower than I would like, but still moving forward. I have been writing, and painting, and researching researching researching. I have been budgeting and I have been daydreaming. Slowly, I have been reaching back out to the people who have always been important to me that I shut out when I believed I was seperate from the world.

Many of you know that I have never been to college. The idea has been planted in my head to change that, after years of believing I didn’t need it. I am realising that I could benefit from it, feed my inquisitiveness and even benefit my fledgling publishing company with it. It would open up a whole network of relationships and opportunities for me.

It would put me into debt and set my life goals back about three years. It might prevent me from ever building the house that I desperately want to own. Or, it might make it easier for me, I don’t know. It’s a heavy decision for me to weigh, but I’m going to take a few steps and see if it goes anywhere. I am going to apply to the local university to major in Studio Art for a B.A. I am going to apply for financial aid. If I get accepted both ways (and that’s the only way I can go forward with this) then I am going to run at it for all it is worth, and get everything I can out of it, consequences be damned. As long as I keep moving, I’m in less danger of failure.

Thank you all.

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