Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Understanding Water

Golden dreams,
flow like water, 

And the water always wins for good or bad,
once you let it in

- Miss Hollywood, Carbon Leaf from their album Nothing Rhymes with Woman

Everytime this songs comes around on my playlist, in the house, van or studio,... Aurora always points out how this relates precisely to my recent capsize in Cayuga Lake.

Like I need a reminder.

The rest of the song deals with this guy's obsession with a Hollywood actress. Not really relevant to my life, for sure. But this stanza... it strikes a chord in me. Something about the effort of resistance being futile beyond some unforeseen point.

I think that describes my life in clay pretty succinctly. I never intended to be where I am today. I really thought I would make my living making movies, taking pictures, somehow changing the world through what my eyes saw/envisioned.

But when the tipping point came with clay, there was no point of turning back, no resistance. It has always been all-or-nothing. I don't wish for that to sound dramatic. Yet, when I think back to what an old ex-girlfriend said in college, that clay was my mistress, ... after all this time, I think she was the first to see that I had already capsized. The boat wasn't taking on water, it was sunk.

So what's the view like once you know that you're going over? It helps if you aren't afraid of being under the water. It helps if you have a partner to right your boat when you need a hand. Best of all is having someone there to drag your sorry butt back onto shore, empty your boat and laugh as you shake your head.

When I have students or apprentices ask me why I do this, why I struggle to pay my bills, why I suffer through annoying tourists sucking up my time while not buying pots... I try to remind them that that's just the water. So is opening a perfect kiln-load of pots. So is having a young newlywed couple ask you to make their first set of dishes. So is seeing the look on your daughter's face the first time she pulled a plate off the wheel and it looked just like her dad's.

The water always wins, once you let it in.

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