Thursday, July 09, 2009

both ends

It's Thursday.  I'm in the finishing zone of a three-day intensive of bisque, glazing, firing. Three rounds of glaze loads as I get ready for the Palo Alto Clay and Glass Festival, my biggest retail show of the year. 

It's been a very dark place in my head the past three days.  I basically did it to myself; I've had so many regular orders to deal with that I kept putting off glazing and firing the more complicated and expensive pieces I make for Palo Alto in favor of quick kiln loads to get
my orders out the door.  In the end, everything is riding on good firings, no room for mistakes or re-fires because each kiln load is packed tighter than a Japanese subway, all space sold out.  Each night I go home, drink one beer, just one beer, eat dinner, and pop an ambien that I don't have a prescription for.  I read until I pass out, and the ambien makes sure that I don't wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks.  I fire during the night, and even during the best of times I usually wake up around 3 AM, sure that something is going wrong in the kiln or I forgot to do something.  Sometimes I can't go back to sleep until I pad down the street to my studio and check that everything is good.

I always think I can do more than I really can, or what is good for me.  When I plotted out this schedule, it seemed perfectly do-able.  Now, I feel like I've been run over by a clay truck.  And when I get tired, the voices from Radio K-FUKT start.  Man, those voices really know all my weak spots.  By the end of yesterday, I had decided to quit pottery and write a book.  I decided to stop wholesaling and only make work for people who can make it through my vetting process.   I wondered how long it would take a neighbor to call the police on me if I just started throwing pottery into a pile on the sidewalk in front of my studio door, just got rid of everything in my studio.   I thought about getting a job.  A job where results don't matter, and I'm not responsible for anything.  The DMV sounded good. I wondered what kind of price I could get for my work if I put out the word that I was quitting and not making anything ever again.  And then I wondered how long it would be before I forgot about the pain and got back on the wheel.