“Now I know why all the leaves change in the fall.” – TS

I’m thinking about cancelling my Holiday Sale — again. Oh, wait… that doesn’t sound right. Isn’t it great, how imprecise language can be, even when we’re trying to keep it dead simple? Let’s try that again:

I’m thinking again — eg. as I do every year around this time — about cancelling my Holiday Sale.

Not thinking about cancelling it again, as if I’ve succumbed to that intense desire and cancelled it even once in the past. Oh no — I’ve got an unbroken streak of 34 (give or take) going, including so many varieties of reasonable excuses not to that I’ve lost track of some of them. I’ve always just kept plowing on ahead: through moving house, having a newborn, blown out lumbar discs, raging poison ivy, getting sick for a whole week beforehand, not having enough pots, working (what felt like) two other jobs, etc, etc.

‘Any 16 hours a day that you want.’ Ha.

So I’m not really thinking about cancelling it — am I? No, more thinking about how great it would be to just skip making the turn to bisk and glaze and fire, and instead linger in the wet clay longer. As I always do when it’s past time to stop. I’d kind of like to make, say, twenty or thirty more of these basket/strainer/whatever things. And more vases with holes. And more of… You know — whatever came to mind after that.

Or, I don’t know… take a month off to rest up and play Minecraft? Maybe write some songs? It doesn’t help that I’m getting my annual Fall cold; my tools are not sharp; my will is like weathered stone, ready to fracture in unpredictable patterns. I am not in a good place to start a new slog up that same old hill. It feels like I’m gonna die on that hill one of these years. Not sure that’s a decent way to go.

And sure, all of that other stuff sounds so appealing right now. It sounds appealing precisely because there’s the mounting pressure to do the other thing; to start the sale cycle. I know that I’m pathologically kneejerk about wanting to do the opposite of whatever I should be doing. I am the King of the Dogwash. Granted.

But still…

The dark angel whispers at me: Would it really matter if you just skipped one? How sweet would it be to just let the pots keep piling up? Banked those potentially-now sales into future sales? Your customers would come back next time, maybe even with redoubled enthusiasm? Right? (The OA counters, “Or would they revolt, stunned at your callous indifference to their seasonal shopping needs? How many would leave to find another potter to fill their cupboards, never to return? Do your duty. Find your bootstraps. Suck it up, buttercup.”)

Or maybe that’s not The OA. Maybe that’s whatever character I need to invent next; the third one, who carries the whip and rides my ego into daily submission.

Ugh. So tempting. So impossible.

We are ciphers, even to ourselves. Maybe especially to ourselves.

Carving at night sometimes works.

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Like I’m not sure why the holes on top and those vertical grooves on bottom. I’m not sure why slightly rectangulared. I’m not sure why in porcelain, instead of stoneware; why those wispy little lugs; why it doesn’t bother me that the slab base has all these brown flecks — molds? more contaminants? something else, new? — in it. I’m really not sure about anything; why I really wanted to finish those last two pots last night, do that carving, even though they weren’t quite stiff and dry enough for the tool to do its magic. I just know I wanted to carve some clay.

It’s crazy, the things that we can attach our emotions to. So strange how seldom we get to choose which things. Treadle wheels; barns. Clay, in the first place — rather than stone or wood or acting — then very particular clays and styles and kilns, later on. Lonely hillsides in the middle of noplace. Visions of muses and pots we can never quite catch, and ideas we can never quite express. Even when we really try. Even when we think it’s worth the risk.

There I go with the “we” business again.

“I know you’re not scared of anything at all.”