Monday, July 27, 2009


Did I mention it's my birthday today? It's my birthday. I'm 39 now, and I started this new year with unloading a glaze kiln, which is sort of like an birthday un-present. Some good stuff, more small disasters. If you follow this blog, you may have noticed that the breaking point seems to be around the corner, or maybe you think I'm on the verge of losing it all the time. Well, to a certain extent, I am always on the edge because of my work. I think I have a pretty good sense of humor about it as a general principle, and I have my coping strategies, but I'm usually about one bad firing away from being locked up in jail or the nuthouse.

Last night, bad dreams. I dreamed I was at a show and my booth was filled with ugly work; pots I was trying to pack for clients were breaking in my hands; kilns were splitting open in the middle of firings. That's just a normal night for me. And I'm thinking: here I am, almost 40-- a certifiable adult, not a kid anymore--and I'm totally sick of the stress, of losing sleep because I can't get a cake stand to fire out, and of the dread I feel before I open the kiln. Is this a sane way to live?

I was having a discussion with an old friend who asked the question, "How did my life get so complicated?" My response is that it is always about the choices we make. I think part of being a fully realized adult is recognizing that our choices have consequences. And then figuring out a way to live with it, or change it, and having the courage to do either.

Last week one of the show managers for the wholesale show I do in Philadelphia called to see what was up with my application for next year-- am I in? I told her I was having serious thoughts about dropping wholesale, adding that I thought I was at a point in my career that I didn't see why I should be doing anything that I hated, and I really hate wholesale. My dilemma about whether or not to continue with wholesale has been my concern about a loss of income, but then I suddenly realized that dropping wholesale represents only a choice about the direction of my career, not the direction of my income. Quickly following that thought was that my choice about making pottery for a career is just that-- a choice. I'm free to make another one. No one is holding a gun to my head, except me. And it should surprise no one that my trigger finger is itchy.