Ajatella

Today is “Holy Saturday”.  I only know that because I asked Google.  I am not a religious person, despite  the great lengths many people went to in order to make me one.  At my last job, I was described as a “Free Spirit” which I far prefer.  I’m not a follower.  I do not accept the conclusions of anyone else.  I watch and I listen.  I sift as best I can, and am willing to…. no… I revel in throwing away the tailings.  I think I was one of the lucky ones, to get this untrusting brain.  It has saved me from swallowing agenda hooks even when that worm or leech looks so tasty, and I am hungry.  Among the uneconomic fractions to dispose of, are toxic people.  They stomp their feet, warning me with threats that come from their church-drunk stupor.  I don’t really care to tell other people how to live their lives, or what to believe.  I am busy enough trying to discern the valuable ore that is right there in front of me.  It is so easy to ingest the poison.  You can just sit there and accept what someone else claims is best for you.  I am not bitter.  Not angry.  I’m not sad.  What I am is grateful.  I don’t mind being offensive, especially to those who I find offensive.  I will happily follow my own heart… I will accept what makes sense to me even if it leaves everyone around me gasping and fearful for me.. or more likely, envious.  Understand that I grew up in an extreme belief system.  It wants everyone to conform.  It wants to obliterate everything that doesn’t follow its dogma.  It wants to wipe out culture and convince you that you are bad, unworthy and wrong.  Why do so many believe that about themselves?  So I’m not trying to convince you what to think,  only to think.

Authentic

I do not want my art to be perfect and fussy.  I don’t mind if a circle gets a little warped, or a surface has bumps or divots.  I don’t mind drips.  I don’t want my paintings to look like photographs.  I don’t care whether they sell.  I eat off plates I made.  I serve meals to my friends and family on dishes that you can’t see anywhere else.  Before I retired, I took my handmade coffee cup to work with me, and it was a touchstone.  It reminded me that I was an artist, and that there was a place in this world where no one was looking over my shoulder, telling me what I should be doing or how I should do it.  In my art studio, I get to be me.

People criticize what I do, but I don’t care.  One friend liked a bowl I made, except for a small imperfection on the rim.  Not a chip, nothing sharp, just a slight irregularity that made them reject it.  To me, that was the thing that told me this is a handmade bowl.  It is mud that took its shape from my own fingertips.  That same friend also said they would never read my writing.  They are an avid reader, and I even remember them reading great volumes, one entitled Dirt, another called Salt.  I have nothing against dirt or salt.  I can’t live without it.  However, if someone I love is passionate about something, I will not dismiss it without at least taking a look.  I certainly will not reject it to their face when they try to share it with me.

Everyone likes different things.  That doesn’t make one person right and another person wrong.  If I wanted perfect, uniform dishes, I would buy them at Target or Walmart.

I don’t say any of this to justify my art.  I say it to celebrate my art.  I just hand washed a load of new pots (actually, I had reglazed old pots that were not satisfying, but now they feel like new pieces), and in the sunlight coming in from the window over my sink, I saw so much more in the glaze than I did in the ceiling lights of my studio.  Golden flecks sparkled , and colors played together in ways I hadn’t noticed until they were in the sun.  Imperfections underneath make the glaze do interesting things, creating a landscape you will not see in factory mass produced tableware.

I create for me.  By being authentic in my artistic voice, I might speak to an authentic spark in someone else.  That’s a side benefit, because it doesn’t work for me to try to please anyone else.  I’d love to bring joy to other people.  I think that has to spring from the joy I get from being creative.

More! More!

When I find a tv show that I like, I binge watch it. I finish an episode, and say “one more!”  Then I do that over and over, clamoring for more of the story.  

With movies, I tend to get bored. They’re too long.  There are a couple of movies I can watch over and over and never get tired of them. Ask my kids. They know the ones. 

Recently, I had a houseguest who brought her sleeping bag into my room, laid on my floor and listened to Flash Meridian. 

At the end of each episode, she called out “More!  More!  One more!”  She wasn’t familiar with the story, and through her, I was able to hear it in a new way.  I got to be an observer.  

I have said that the story writes itself, like the Ololian book does, and I found myself swept up with her.  The questions she asked brought a new dimension to the adventures, and I was moved by them in a way I didn’t expect. 

You know how I say that I can’t see a painting when I have a paintbrush in my hand?  I have to hang it on the wall and look at it casually, just seeing it for what it is, and not thinking of what I can do to it. That’s how my friend let me see my own story, and what a gift that was!

I recently recorded the audiobook, and you can listen to it if you want to at flashmeridian.com by clicking the audio files tab in the header… or bring your sleeping bag to my house, and I will listen with you. 

Waiting

I’ve spent much of my life waiting for my ship to come in.  I don’t mean a boatload of treasures.  Today I was thinking about so many wonderful things I have owned in my life, and let slip through my fingers.  Maybe I didn’t realize the value of some of the possessions… cars in particular.  But we can’t keep everything.  I’ve owned four houses, and have filled them with things.  I couldn’t move it all.  No, the ship I’ve been waiting for is contentment.  Peace, maybe.  But these are feelings, and change often.  So I will enjoy them as they come.  All the objects are temporary, as well.  They can enhance our experience in these physical bodies, which are objects.  I think our ship comes in to carry us away when we’re ready to leave even our body behind.  It’s only natural.  Until that ship comes in, I’ll enjoy the physical environment I’ve built around me.  This space I’ve assembled is conducive to creativity. In my fortress, I’m safe to think and express.