Friday, May 19, 2017

do the work

Over the past 6 weeks or so I've been getting back into a morning routine. It's not the same as my old routine before my mom died. For one, it starts much later in the morning since I can't seem to get out of bed before 7 AM. And that's a vast improvement over my 10 AM wake-up that I was in for a while. Actually, I wake up around my normal time, 5:30 AM, but I just lay in bed instead of getting out of it.

My morning routine is pretty regulated, because it keeps me moving and sees to all of my needs, and I don't have to waste time having a conversation with myself over should I bother washing my face today, do I need to eat breakfast, what should I do for exercise. I just do what I did yesterday and don't overthink it.

My routine has been leading me into my studio after lunch, and I've been spending at least a few hours in there every day. That's where the overthinking starts.

I'm trying to get work together for the Clay and Glass Festival, the one big show I do every summer. There is no way I'm not doing it. I actually made so much pottery in 2016 that I already have a good start on work, but I have a lot of holes. Like I have no small or medium sized vases. There is a bowl deficit. And only a few mugs left.

But I just keep freezing up. I'm sure it's the grief and depression, but I have lost interest in the loose, painterly, scratchy work I've been into for the past 2 years or so. I don't want to make it anymore. So then I say to myself, "You can just make what you want to make, just have fun." But I have no desires, I have no ideas.  It's like trying to light a match underwater.

I left the studio yesterday kind of hating myself and pottery in general. I kept thinking about a dream I had the night before, where I was in a watercolor class being taught by my friend Rae. I was painting all over this sheet of paper, and it in the wacky way that dreams go, all over this room that we were in. I was having fun, and it was a magical dream that made me happy all morning. I made some time to paint that morning to try and live out the dream a bit, and it felt good. But my "real work" with all of its loaded expectations and judgements, is like the opposite right now. I just feel like I'm falling short all the time.

I know that's not fair to myself. And I know that in many ways it's not even true. It's just how I feel.

I was bitching about my day to Big Brother and he basically told me to Just. Do. The. Work. Don't worry about stretching myself, don't worry about feeling creative, just make some work, make some money, and get inspired later when I'm feeling better. Copy my old work if that's what it takes.

Big Brother kind of knows what he's talking about because by horrible coincidence, his father died 2 weeks before my mom, so we've been going through the same kind of shit these past few months. I hung up the phone thinking how much I need to dial it back on myself right now. It's just way to much to ask to come up with fresh inspiration. It's absurd to expect. It's rude to even ask. My old semi-stale inspiration will have to do. Wow, hear how judgy that is? It's hard to stop.

I'm taking a break from the studio today and heading for the beach with my watercolors.

I'm a blank slate-- what are you going to make out of me?

Meanwhile, I don't judge my watercolors for a second.

Friday, May 12, 2017

this mother's day

My mom was not big on Mother's Day. In our family, it was considered a commercially manufactured holiday created solely to play on the guilt and obligation of children (and sometimes their partners too) in order to generate sales of cards, flowers, chocolates, and brunches at restaurants. My mom let it be known she did not like to be the recipient of this kind of attention on Mother's Day, but any other day of the year was just fine. I was not really comfortable with letting the day go totally unremarked upon. After all, I am an American citizen and to completely ignore a finely tuned machine of consumer manipulation is downright unpatriotic. I would always call my mom on Mother's Day to wish her a happy day, and now I am wondering if she really did think Mother's Day was bullshit.

I have been going to a grief support group for daughters who have lost their mothers, and everyone in the group is a daughter who loved their mother (not always the case, as we all know) and one of the ongoing themes is regret. There is not one of us in the group who does not have some level of regret that we didn't spend more time with our mothers, do more for them, show them how much we loved them, tell them how much we loved them. My mom knew that I loved her, and more importantly to her, that I liked her also. We always had a good time together. There was never any holding back when it came to expressing love. My family is very fortunate in that way.

I would give anything to have just one more minute with my mom, to hug her, to tell her I loved her, to look into her eyes, to laugh at her jokes. And I just think that the biggest problem with being a person is that there is never enough time to be with the people you love. No matter how much I gave my mom and received from her, I'm always going to want more of her love and companionship. But everything is limited. Life is limited and what we can do while we are in it is limited. Feeling that regret is part of the process of grief, it's a reckoning with our limitations, and I can just barely stand it.