Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Y is a crooked letter...

The Red Headed Riter wrote yesterday about making choices and accepting the consequences of what ever those choices may be, good or bad. Well, that post opened up the proverbial CAN OF WORMS. I remember this one time when I was just 17, I was in this program called Walkabout and sweet on a guy that was the type that ALL mothers would cringe at. I liked being with him mostly because he managed to get under my mother's skin better than I could, and heck, he took flying by the seat of my pants to a new level. Everyone I was friends with waited on baited breath and worried about the prospects of my survival. Even my teachers were concerned. It was about this time in the Walkabout program that the curriculum dictated teaching about the ownership of choices. I remember this long lunch that I had with Dick (teacher) about my current predicament. I am sure now that he was trying to sway my choices to the greener side of the fence. It worked for a time, I settled down a bit. The instruction continued to reinforce those principles and I decided to use them to the best of my ability. My home life was reduced to the silent protest. After a few weeks of this, my friend Cari and I did whatever most sweet but precocious young ladies would do, we packed a trunk, ditched my car,  bought a one way bus ticket and headed for parts unknown. Ok, we headed to New Bedford, reeking near havoc on those friends and parents of friends who were so concerned for our well being. I want you to know, I did leave my mom a note telling her I would contact her when I was settled.

Cari and I had this thought that we would get jobs, and apartment and attend the Swain School. We would be living high on the hog (talk about undeveloped pre-cortexs, jeez) Anyway, our trip lasted only a few weeks. We were eventually wired money and we had to figure out how to claim it as it required more ID than either of us had. This was my biggest consequence. I was so jaded. I survived this ordeal because of the safety net of friends I had in that location. Had I gone west, to Nevada, which I almost did, I don't think it would have been so pretty. So a long awaited THANKS for SAVING MY BUTT goes out to Denise, Kevin, Kathy, and all of the McKenna's, not to mention my Mom, Dad and Cari's mom. Mind you, that would not be the first or the last bone head move I would pull in my life. There were some doozies in college. The skin of my teeth has been stripped of its enamel several times.

Interesting fact: the Swain School is now part of UMass Dartmouth, and the time I was running away to MA was about the same time my ceramic friends were too. My choice to abandon HS school at that time would not have fared well with BU who took over the School of Artisanry, however.  I  am thankful that I came to my senses and headed home to complete my degree(s). My choice to do so would prove wonderful, despite many more bumps on the road. (Kenny, Justin, Anna, Mikey, Chris)

I know, my posts have been getting a bit too nostalgic, and I think that it is actually starting to bother me. I guess I am just in one of those cycles of working through my past. It might also be that I am trying to catch some readers up to speed. Twenty-five years of absence is a very long time.

Where am I going with this? Ah heck, I am not sure. Oh yeah, back to the discussion of choices. Today I really want to discuss practice, yes, again. I have this exhibition coming up in a few weeks and 1/3 to 1/2 of my work is in the wood kiln, cooling. I am not sure how I feel about that. I wonder if I practiced my craft more if I would feel less uptight about the unknown? I know that those things that went in could have had a bit tighter craftsmanship. I am always in a rush (remember I live at 100 mph). I have this voice in the back of my head most of the time telling me that well crafted work is just as important as thinking outside the box. That voice usually belongs to someone that I really look up in my community of artists but practice is not something that I always follow through on. The choice to rush often leaves me cringing later. When they say that teachers often teach best those things that they are in need to master, well, craftsmanship is one of my biggest pet peeves in the classroom. My students come up with such great ideas and sometimes they rush through it and in the process kill it with the residual mess. I should take some time to learn from them.

Back to The Red Headed Riter and her brief discussion of Sakichi Toyota's Five Whys and how they apply to my current perdicament:

I need to pay closer attention to craftsmanship:
why#1? I don't take the time to clean up surfaces
why#2? I rush
Why #3? I need to do something else
Why #4? I am too busy
Why #5? I live 4 lives at once

Solution: add 5 more lives and become as chill as my cat

Ok that won't work, but sometimes I think that is how my brain thinks. I get so flustered with stuff to do that I eventually become numb and take on more and when that backfires, as it always does, my ambitious nature leads me down into that coal mine that has the unstable roof.

The moral of todays story? I need to slow down long enough to practice what I teach. I need to listen more (yes Chris I learned a great deal from that day of silence and I added it to my book of process- now if I can only learn to use it more consistently). I will let you know how it goes.

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