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“She felt proud beyond measure to sit beside her friend Iorek Byrnison under the Aurora as it flickered gracefully in the polar sky, and join the conversation of the bears.” – Phillip Pullman

“And she said, ‘Oh! Do you come from a land Down Under?’” – Men at Work

So: where were we? Oh yeah, my sorta-unsolicited advice. Yes, I agree that when any of us post anything slightly questioning or uncertain, it should be taken as an invitation for comment. Especially on a service that basically exists to invite comments. When I first tip-toed into Instagram, I reflexively just typed in the simplest, most direct captions possible, like “Domino mugs”. (Pretty much the same thing I used to put under the photos of the pots for sale on my website, a million years ago when I still sold pots on the Internet.) I dreaded the implied obligation to answer questions, or consider suggestions, or even just read the kind of random stuff that people (including me!) are prone to so casually throw over someone else’s transom. “Oh, is that your zebra pot?” Shit like that. As a so-called sensitive artist, those kinds of things can ruin my day.

Eighteen months and 181 posts later, I must be feeling more daring, becuase now I’ll occasionally go with an obscure phrase, or something that suggests an intent or direction. Verbs are dangerous. Gerunds probably moreso, as they imply something ongoing, which invites instruction or critique. (thinking, considering, wanting, trying). Mostly, I fight the urge to commit too much self expression/confession there, reminding myself that it encourages unwanted questions and suggestions. (Praise, of course, is always welcome!).

But maybe I’m feeling like I might be ready to take actual feedback there. Occasionally I’ll put in some words that are more of an invitation to that sort of thing. Ending with a question mark practically begs for it. All in all, the IG people are mostly other potters, and other potters tend to: a) get it; and b) be pretty fucking cool. “No fear!”

That little text area also seems ripe for burning through some of my accumulated quotes and song lyrics. That back catalog is close to bursting and pretty unmanageable, what with the lack of actual blog posts to follow them these days. It’d be nice to shout my yawp via others obscure words more often; as it stands, those poors guys are just lingering in Cloudspace, with nowhere to self-aggrandize themselves beyond the porous boundaries of my feeble mind.

(On the downside, thus far I’ve made a habit of tapping the little “Post to FB” button most of the time, so as I veer out closer to the edge of my comfort zone, I’m liable to get more unwanted crap via that channel. Risk/reward.)

(Oh, and if it seems weird that someone who has posted so many spleen-venting paragraphs on the web over the last decade worries about this stuff, I’ll point out that none of my blogs — none — have ever had comments. Very deliberately.)

If that makes any sense.

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Back to clay, I’m building up steam on a theory that almost every potter only knows enough to solve their current problem, because we tend to stop researching or experimenting as soon as the most immediate mystical flaw dissipates. So actual knowledge or experience or expertise is just a funky, disparate collection of all these half-solutions and marginal compromises, stacked on top of one another and, at best, cross-referenced in an occasionally useful way.

Which, if true, also means that we’re all only one false move from making a whole batch of fucked up crap, because we never know how close we are walking to any of the dozens of fatal boundary lines on all sides until we race over them, heedlessly. Ignorance is semi-bliss.

Also if that theory has any weight, then it means most of us are operating a lot of the time in a psuedo-scientific realm that is kinda indistinguishable from hedge magic, or Scientology or mere guessing or whatever. We think we know, and we act like we know, and then when someone else says, “Hey, my handles are cracking!” — note the fatal gerund — we go off and tell them about the time that we walked the TriFold Path of Regurgitated Evanescence or whatever and how that madeeverythingperfectforeverandever and aren’t we smart and clever and also a little too smug now in sharing that hard-won knowledge, which we maybe just acquired like 11 hours ago, with the rest of you?

So I think my recent apologetic mindset is coming from that awareness that maybe I have no bloody idea what I’m talking about, and I’m mostly jumping at the change to soothe my wounded lizard brain, and spike my jumpy monkey brain, by throwing smart-sounding sentences out through the digital rectangles before my better knowing Self can rein them in and tell everybody to just shut the fuck up and sit still for a humble moment or two.

Humility says my hedge magic just happens to work here in the backwoods of North America, but won’t have any effect in a place where the toilets flush backwards. It says I was born on third base and thought I hit a triple; that I’m standing on the shoulders of giants and pissing and moaning about it being an inconvenient perch. I often know that should probably just shut my stupid mouth and click the little heart icon and get back to grinding away on some new, likely-fatally-flawed spells in my studio, but all it takes are those occasions when I don’t know that to turn into yet another asshole on the Internet who’s helping to ruin what used to almost pass muster as a civil society.

But then, counter to this half-baked theory, every once in a while you run across some odd hermit is actually is a legitimate, honest to god level 47 Wizard, in some obscure edge of the field, or even just hidden in plain sight, who actually knows stuff that makes your tricky glaze perfect or your dumb kiln fire like butter, and who also tells good jokes or has fine recipes for soups, and then you’ve gotta go back to the drawing board on this whole “nobody knows anything” ego-bandaging/rationalization rant.

Maybe. I dunno. What do you think?

(Don’t answer that.)
(Please.)
(For the love of god; I can’t take it.)

“Can you hear, can you hear the thunder? You better better run, better take cover – yeah.”