“Maybe I was naive, got lost in your eyes — never really had a chance.” – Taylor Swift
Ten years ago this week ( @ St. Earth ), only 18 months into my leap to being a full-time potter, I pulled the ripcord. Still falling in that direction, but slowing the descent to a less-terrifying rate, with a parachute I’d unexpectedly found strapped to my back.
I didn’t come to realize that I needed to Kill The Dream until later — and it took even longer to actually kill it — but pulling that cord in 2007 was probably the catalyst.
And, you know… who cares? Ten years, nine, one, a million. It’s all just shorthand or placeholders, arbitrary demarcations on the Wall of Death. Good for reunions and anniversaries; habitual, often-obligatory, intervals of time when we pay attention to something that might otherwise have just slipped our notice amidst the rush of days.
I look back at the posts around that post, precisely a decade ago from this week or month, and there are some minor shocks: things that I was sure had happened more recently; pots that I had no idea I had made that long ago; techniques or styles or habits that I would have guessed had evolved more recently.
We get older, time goes faster, meaning travels along different paths, then tends to go fractal.
So after six.five years in an office, building and tending websites, I spent a mere one.five years going to my studio 6.5 days a week, then scurried back for 1.5 more years of 5.0 days a week of office work, before (gratefully) transitioning to .5 time office, .5 time studio; as it has been almost every week, for almost every year, since then. Until something tectonic changes of its own accord, that pattern will likely repeat ad infinitum.
Huh. I don’t know how I feel about that. Mixed. Blurry.
If I squint and look over my shoulder — the Left Hand of Darkness — I can see my zombie dream still hovering there — like Nearly Headless Nick — despite having tried to dispel him for good. (And mostly (or most often) believing that I had.) It’s awfully hard sometimes not to dwell on what might have been: a little more luck one way, a little better planning or determination or smarts in another. It would certainly have been different. Possibly even disastrous! Be careful what you wish for, says some bit of ancient hedge wisdom. You are not so smart. Trout below. Et. al.
Mostly I regret the potter I could have been, today, given double the working life in the studio between then and now. All those reps missed, time lost, ideas not iterated, avenues not explored. It’s mostly imagined illusion, but still. I still look with envy at the better halves of my “real” potter friends’ lives; how they make as many pots in a month as I make in six; how they tie a day or a week or a season’s worth of work together with continuity, instead of this always stopping, always re-starting shit; how they never go to meetings.
Strangely, I never envy them the lack of a guaranteed bi-weekly direct deposit.
Ha. If even 50% of that 50% of their imagined lives is true I’d be amazed. The evergreen fantasy of unearned greener grass.
“…most of the best potters write little, if at all.” - Don Pilcher
I think about tw@se, now, too. A lot, just lately. I know I stopped for good reason, and I know it’s made the intervening years immeasurably easier, and I know if I hadn’t stopped — just kept hammering away at it — my exhaustion with it would probably have devolved into some spiteful, caustic death spiral.
But still: now that I can so easy onboard my consciousness onto that decade-wide mobius strip of my own cataloged, illustrated and archived memories, I already, preemptively, regret that quitting it back then created a span that’s now more gap than substance. (This thing you’re reading now being the sporadic “substance”.) Like those pots that I wish I’d had time to make, while earning my whole keep in the studio, I also wish some other incarnation of myself could have or would have kept writing every week since November 16th, 2014. Jesus… that’s close to three years ago, now.
Someday, some tens of years ahead, I’ll look back and wonder: who was I then, in that gap? Will the archive of photos and FB comments and saved emails and scribbled notes in studio composition books (not journals) fill it in enough that I won’t hate myself later for allowing the lapse? But — if not — is it any use spending even another line dwelling on it, rather than using that frustration as fuel to ensure that the future-starting-now is fuller?
Do I want this again, and if so, why? “What is the difference that makes a difference?” Where is Don Pilcher now and what is he thinking about this morning? Would that I could know. And Clary? BP? Good ol’ Darryl? Or — let’s get really crazy — my former-clay-idol, CS? Or outside of pots, even Peggy O.?
All those voices and minds and lives, so starkly absent amongst the clutter and clamor of this virtual space. I know they’re there, but I can’t see them. Like holes in my heart.
“Holding on, the days drag on, stupid girl, I should’ve known, should’ve known.”