“Don’t we dream impossible dreams?” – TS

And here’s me after just two days back at ten:

David Carr, whose passing I still lament:
“Hope is oxygen for someone suffocating on despair.”

And he knew, more than most, about real despair. I’ve had my taste, and no thank you. Not anymore, if I can help it. I’ll go to the doctor, go to the mountain, look to the children, drink from the fountain — you name it. (Well, OK. Pretty much anything except American Jesus. I’ve also had more than enough of my share of that, and no thank you. Seriously, if it works for you, great. But I’d rather try Taoism or or rock climbing or Gluten-Free.)

When the afternoon tiredness hits — and it hits hard on a wake up cycle in the 4am hour — I am either just tired or I am despondent. At five, it was the despair; the old, well-honed mental machinery cranks up again, glad to get a chance to work. Every possible pessimistic thought, every denial of a hopeful view of tomorrow or next week or ever, every excuse to find some momentary wrench to shove in those gears and make it stop.

At ten, I can see those gears — giant and looming over my landscape like artifacts from a long departed, indifferent alien civilization — and hear them shuddering, as the hidden underground boiler tries to churn itself to life again. At ten, I can turn my back on that, and put in earbuds and listen to All Too Well or New Year’s Day and find some comfort. It also helps if I’ve got enough clear space to take a nap; which has been happening lately and is gonna be difficult come Monday.

I spoke too soon. _Now_ it's a party!

A post shared by Scott Cooper (@stearth) on

So I missed my first firing window, and I was sure I was going to be despondent about that, too, yesterday. But instead it felt weirdly like relief. Relief that I didn’t have to be out on the first 25º morning of the year; that I didn’t have to keep rushing to an automaton’s schedule; that I could indulge myself the slack of putting up those lights. (Which, at mid-day, seemed like stupid folly, once I was wiped out and hot from being up near the styrofoam ceiling and with the bright cold day sun glaring in the windows seemed to add almost nothing. After blessed dark again — and a rare chance at napping, eating dinner, and then going back into the studio — they were… Wait for it… Yep, you guessed it: incandescent. [There’s something else I dearly want to say there, but I won’t. At five, I might have. Which is fan-tastic. Call It What You Want To.]

Every day, while I wait — to fire, to see if I’ll actually be able to pull off the sale, to see what this batch of brain chemistry will spawn — I hatch little plans. Mini-Dreams, to see me through. As if I need to learn how to grab a Dream, and savor it for a while, and then let it go just as easily. Cycle through them, instead of getting fixated on a single one, with a 10 or 20 year horizon. That’s too remote for hope. Too far to really see with anything other than wish fulfillment. A good dream would be intrinsic; something I can visualize in all its complexity and with the grit and texture of daily life on it. Not a city on a hill. Not a lottery-winning utopia. Not getting saved by some deus ex machina.

{Someone notify the Autocorrect Department that “machina” is correct, and should not convert to “machine”. (Although, deus ex machine is funny, in it’s own way, especially when composed by a robot. Oh — maybe I’m not giving it enough credit, and it was trying to make a joke? Hey — save comedy for the meat bags! What the fuck else do we have left?) Seriously, though, the bots should totally be smart enough by now to recognize the kind of popular Latin that this simpleton is able to pull out of the air on impulse. -Ed.}

More optimism: I called in an airstrike from St. Philbeck and he’s gonna sortie his jets. Awesome. My customers really like his pots. (Maybe better than mine, but I’m not jealous. I swear.) I’ve still got a really fine crop of Phillips’s and Gillies’s, too. That’ll help. I remembered that I have a small group left at the shop in town, too, that I can raid for the big weekend. (It’s been so long since I had any in town that I’d forgotten about them; they’re pretty much the best of the best of what was left over from the spring sale there, which means they’re better than anything here in the showroom (aka writing room) now. That’ll be a good boost, both to the display and my confidence.

And Change Master encouraged me to skirt around my kiln/weather problems by just glazing up as much as I can in advance. That I’ve been doing this a long time, and mostly have my glazes dialed in, and it’s worth the risk to get them fired to take a few shots in the dark. Better than good bisk on the shelf on sale day.

And there was also some talk yesterday about actually buying a piano — maybe after the sale? — and about how, if I did get serious and actually start building a kiln, I might be able to call on reinforcements for vastly-needed expertise, as well as hugely valuable labor, and priceless comraderie. Can you imagine? Having that much fun and ending up with a new kiln?

Now that seems like an impossible dream.

“Like we’re made of starlight.”