“All I knew, this morning when I woke, is I know something now, know something now, I didn’t before.” – My imaginary musical girlfriend, TS

I‘m supposed to finish one draft before starting the next one, right? Right? Wait — ‘supposed to’? Keyword. Make sure it’s in the copy of the page.

It’s six thirty two. I’ve got on my pottery blogger garb: ancient flannel shirt, sleeves and collar cut off so long ago I can’t remember them, over t-shirt with peeling vinyl letters from some obscure brand and random sploshes of paint on it. Layers, ’cause I need protection from the Fall. Sweats, roughly the same color. Last year’s slippers, with their gaping tears around each set of toes. No hat, although thinking about it. Sometimes, like tinfoil, my fur lined Russian deal with the egregious ear flaps and dangling chin strap helps me concentrate. Tune out reality to better float through words.

(OK, I convinced myself. Now you’ve gotta imagine me sitting at the dining room table, eating muffins, drinking some of Ron Philbeck’s finest joe *, clad like the planet’s biggest jackass and enjoying it immensely.

* Get it? The name of the potter is as if it’s the brand of today’s coffee. Really, it’s all the same Starbucks generic blonde roast, but when I reach for the mug, almost every time, my lizard brain goes %pottersname%coffee%yum%. So there’s that. [This would be a footnote if I’d figured out how to do them already.][And yes, those are supposed to be percent signs; it’s an excessive affectation, but just indulge me.])

Both shirts are dark-water-blue, like ‘the color of the sky in the middle of the night’; like gang colors, just to be sure no one mistakes my granola bohemianism for Red State redneckery. (Not that there’s much risk of that. When I’m entrenched in the compound here on our little hill, the only people I see who I’m not related to are the mail woman, when she has an occasional package to bring, and the UPS guy, who already knows I’m nuts, because when he comes ’round the circle drive, he sees me throwing pottery by hand on a wheel. “This guy knows it’s 2017, right?,” I can hear him thinking.

‘Course, he also sees me in this ridiculous hat; so the pottery throwing is probably just overkill. Like a hat on a hat, yeah?

Does it matter what I’m wearing as I write this? Or as I throw the mugs that might someday become one of your favorites, before you or it (or, I suppose, both) go crashing to the floor one day and end that sweet little romance? No, not really. But it’s fun a hell to write — I think Natalie would approve. And, like the sound of Michael Simon’s voice, on some unimaginably small scale, literally getting etched into the clay as it spins on my wheel, Everything Counts. This chunk of language is subtly different for the hat; like, for example, I was about to type “because of the hat”, and then landed on the construction “for the hat”. Maybe that was the hat?

[Whew! It’s also super hot on my brain when it’s not like five degrees outside. Hat’s off!]

I like writing at night, before bed. I like writing in the middle of the night, before bed again. I like writing in the morning dark, when I’m the only one up, prowling around and trying not to make noise, excitedly flipping on the switch for the coffee carafe and listening intently to that volcano of possibility. Back when I was young and cared [#Lieutenant_Dan], I would get up, grab coffee and try to be throwing before my vision was even completely clear. Glasses, unwashed face, pumping away at the bar knowing that if I didn’t start right away, yet another ‘weekend potter’ weekend might get away from me; back when ‘weekend’ meant only two days, like for the rest of you suckers. (Kidding, kidding.)(Sort of.)

Writing at 3am is different, because it is the nadir of my caffeine curve. If those are any good, retrospectively, then shit fire, we’ve got ourselves a barn dance. I’ve often just assumed that because I have liked to write most between, say, nine and eleven in the morning, that those are the only times I can do it. Not true. Just different things for different parts of the day, different states of mind. It can be two things.

Writing three times a day helps me focus. When I am in here, my thoughts don’t go fractal (despite what it must seem from the outside). OK — let’s compromise and say that they don’t go as fractal, or go fractal as easily. Which can be really disconcerting in the daylight. Similar to throwing pots, when I’m on and it’s all good, there is a narrowness of concentration that seems more like the natural state my mind wants to inhabit, like carving a spear before the fire or drifting off to sleep to the sounds of the drums.

This is the one.

A post shared by Scott Cooper (@stearth) on

And — wait, true confession time is here again already? — it’s not just here. It might be more like five times a day, lately, including sketchbook and notebooks (plural — I think I’m up to three now). And if FB and Insta chats count, then by the love of Zeus, it’s just beyond calculation. (I’m speaking those to Siri, lately, which is more like tiny phone calls or micro watercooler chats, so I’m not inclined to call those “writing”.

I adore the feeling of being a writer; eg. one who writes. Amateur; learner; ignorant explorer. Not for pay, or tenure, or ad clicks, or the likes, or future speaking gigs. No; mostly because it fuels a much better sense of self than I am used to. It seems like that should cost so much more than just this.

[Huh. If I ‘worked’ on Fridays, like ‘normal’ people, I’d be getting in the car about now. If I switch to working on Fridays, to not miss the early drafts of the Federalist Papers or whatever, I’ll have to be getting in the car right now. Not sure I’d mind that much. Bizarre.]

Seems like a little too much bingeing on words, but words are how I process the world. My visual memory, frankly, is garbage. I remember pots I love from the stories I’ve made up and told myself about them. I can’t even visualize the pots I’ve made, which might help explain my obsessive infatuation with recording everything into Instagram lately.

Also, it’s easy to get trapped in looking forward to the next batch of Likes. I’m still mostly good for the solitary nature of following a craft, but it doesn’t hurt to have atomic bits of human interaction on tap whenever you need a boost (see, I did it again — from ‘me’ to ‘you’ in the same damn sentence!). Reflexive.

Anyways, let’s close that loop. < .span class="dropcap">X Span, spam, Spain. Oh dear, Witt, is this what if feels like when the words start to become part of the problem?

The writing feels like the best path for me to more self knowledge; which I seem to need like air; and where most of the other pathways are strangely closed off to me: meditation, vacation, inebriation. Despite perhaps verging on the manic panic bobanic Titanic gigantic — “A big big love!” — I’d rather be a hyper monkey mind than a saturnine reptile. My days of lying motionless in the bog are, gods willing and the creek and Loki’s tricks and all of that, behind me. Let’s get bananas!

i i i am not a bot

But you might be. If so, please read my robots.txt.

[Oh, computer jokes. MAJORDOMO says what?]


However, peering at all that through the other end of the telescope, all this outputting is seriously putting a dent in my passive input routines. So weird to wake up early and want to do three things, than to wake up late wanting to do no things.

My TV isn’t exactly getting lonely, but it is sitting over there going, “Dude. What the fuck? I thought we had a deal.” Sorry, old friend. My Minecraft garden, so lovingly staked out and planted, over all those hundreds of hours — Hundreds? Yes, I’m afraid so — is overgrown from neglect. Not to fear; I expect I’ll be back with the first snow.

Maybe I should fix that broken B string on my guitar, and try to get at some of this with a finer instrument than a Bluetooth keyboard. (Ha. If I really believed it was finer, I’d be writing you songs instead of… Whatever these are.)

‘Forget Scott’s Keyboard?’ Oh god yes. Predictive? Really, iPad? After all our time together, you don’t know me better than that? What did I abandon the TV for if you’re just going to start some new version of the same old shit? [To be fair, this one’s probably near EOL as a primary machine. It’s almost as old as my kid, who has a plan to be President and punches approximately four grades above her expected reading level. Those new ones with the fancy pen are like ‘a care package for my brain’, but that’s a lot of new bricks to exchange for another new, shiny distraction.

I really can’t tell if this is the work or the fun anymore.

Lorde was talking about synesthesia, which unWikipedia’ed I gather means a cognitive blurring or mixing of the different senses. Maybe similar to HSP; ha… another family curse strikes again. I’d forgotten about the possibility of listening to music, on headphones, in between the Two Sleeps. Powerful magic, there, my friend. (As if you didn’t know.) A couple old songs on loop mode and I was sobbing like I hadn’t done since my dream broke in two or my barn fell. It’s good. ‘Sometimes you have to go outside to let what’s inside get out’.

“Scars are souvenirs you never lose. The past is never far.”

Like the blue clothes or the RP mug with black glazed panels, these pink Post Its With midnight black Sharpie scribbles on them are bonkers. Layered on top of this red-oranges-yellow striped tablecloth, the little folds like a scary span across an EKG, and with the background noise of the fridge’s compressor, the darkness out the windows, the interior skeletal clunk as I rotate my neck in a circle, the sound of these quiet keys…bip blip bip bip bip bip bip. Like the start of a terrific pop song in the making, or… Or. It’s all just too much. Sight and sounds and metallic coffee taste and feels all converging, out my fingers, into eternity. And yet, somehow, like a backchannel conversation that no one else can hear, still always, somehow, never quite enough.

“Oh no, I’ve said too much. I haven’t said enough.”

Only real pangs of regret here are where I toe the line too closely; I never want to out the generosity of a friend, or accidentally say something in a way that might cause someone else pain. It’s hard, once we start telling our truth, to know where and how to stop. I wonder if this is how PKD felt, when he started ranting about Valis and the Black Iron Prison? Whew! Good thing I never tried LSD.

And I guess the implied obligation that you read it; any of it; all of it; in real-time or otherwise; in depth or skimming. I don’t expect you to. I really really don’t. I can barely be bothered to read the headlines some days — most days. [In Obama’s days, it felt like I didn’t have to. Now, it feels like I can’t bear to. Good job, concerned citizen.] But, of course, /I secretly hope you’ll read allof it; you, and you, and you; and you, most of all; exhaustively, intensively, enthusiastically; mining it like it matters and somehow we’re digging this trench together; hitting every post like a pig to the trough the moment it lands on your feeds; ing back later, or twice, to see if there’s any rind unexhumed or kernel you might have missed; making a mental note to Google some of these unknown lyrics and glancing references — maybe next weekend, or the weekend after; once things slow down and you can breathe again.

Of course that’s too much to ask, but I admit it’s what I want. That’s the problem: I want too much of everything.

“And I hope — sometimes you wonder about me.” “Everything counts in large amounts.” “If it’s lonely where you are, come back down. And I won’t tell ’em your Name.” “Come back and tell me why, I’m feeling like I’ve missed you all this time…”