One of my favorite books as a kid was The Phantom Tollbooth. One of the parts of The Phantom Tollbooth is when our brave character gets stuck in the Doldrums. It’s a place I feel too familiar with the past couple of months. I think it is the state of politics, the world, the normalization of things that seem purely insane, but also in my own personal development as an artist with a capital “A”, i’m burnt out and wanting to try new things. However, as my well known (and a person I consider an idol) ceramics friend said “sometimes that tank is just empty and there’s nothing to do but watch the Weather channel all day”.
Well, my solution at least is to clean the house with a toothbrush which is at least productive but the depression of having an empty tank is the same and I have been dragged into the doldrums. You don’t really care of up is up or down is sideways or if anything makes sense or if you even feel like showering. You are just blah.
So, I’ve been feeling this general malaise and moroseness (a word that spellcheck actually confirmed was a word — cool!) and then two very lovely and nice things happened to me to slap me in the face — wet fish style.
I was at my two day a week day job that gives me a steady paycheck and ensures I can pay rent and eat for the month. I was telling my co-worker how I had pack-ratted my last 6 years of paycheck stubs for some weird packratty reason and just shredded them and she said oh sometimes I keep things like that because when you apply for state or UC jobs (both places I have worked), you need exact start and end dates for your applications. So, I said well knock on wood and kiss the bamboo tree, I never have to apply for another “9-5” job again and she said (heart flutter) why would you need to — you’re a professional potter. oh *sniff*
Then, I was talking to my studio mate and saying gosh I don’t know what I would do if I lost my two day a week day job — where would I apply for another job and she also said why would you? You would probably just become a full time artist. And again I was like really? *sniff* really?
And then I realized with all of the pep talks Chris and my Mom have given me throughout the years that it isn’t just people who really, deeply love me who believe in me doing this completely insane, against society dream of making pottery all day, but people who are just friends (and also ceramicists) believe in me — little old me — to be able to live this dream. I feel like Sally Fields — they like me they really like me!
And so maybe I need to cut the doldrums cords and live outside the box a little, and clean the floor with a toothbrush less and play and have fun in the studio again.
For fun, here’s an old image of one of my first bowl designs named after my Mom, the “Rosie” bowl.