Sunday, August 24, 2014

Looking Back: The Sad Orphans

Part of getting back into posting involves seeing in the blogger interface the list of all the posts I've started and left languishing unfinished and unpublished. Periodically I go through and delete them, and today started as one of those days. But, instead, I found myself reading those ever so naive words from months (and years) past and I decided to share them here in the hopes that they will help me stay on the path of enlightenment i.e., it's okay to spend a day playing Bejeweled or Solitaire if I am enjoying it, and remind me to learn from my hubris.

From 12/29/11: I have to laugh. This was BEFORE the most difficult two years of my life...

And finally, the long-awaited (at least by me) post on what's to come at Siyeh Glass and Siyeh Studio in 2012. If I weren't finishing it up (which means actually writing it from the notes and scribbles I've made throughout the week) on a day when I am struck low from a horrible cold (this is part of the post-time-warp-thing and I am actually writing on Saturday the 7th and posting on Sunday the 1st--now I just need to figure out how to trick networked blogs to put it up on Facebook. They don't seem to like pre-dated posts) it would probably be less rambling and more expansive. As it is, the ourlook for growth at Siyeh Glass and Studio is cautiously optimistic for next year.

Obviously for me personally, the book is going to take the lion's share of my focus and energy this year. After researching and writing 240 pages by May 1, I am going to need a break and a rest. I can easily see myself sliding through the rest of the year and waking up Rip-Van-Winkle fashion just in time to do the Sleigh Ride. But maybe I can avoid that fate with a little pre-planning and advance scheduling. (In my Nyquil hazey daze I am sooo tempted to jump of into the semantics of pre-planning vs. planning and advance scheduling vs scheduling, but this post is going to be long enough so I am going to resist.) So let me talk about the what of the year and the why, and then, for the first time, let's try to figure out the how IN ADVANCE.

Expanding torchwork classes
metalsmithing and jewelry-making
new teacher for kiln-forming
expanding one-day workshop offerings
regular newsletters
regular website updates
new hours
new pricing with constant specials
satellite studio in Montana

Then from 4/18/13--after the decision was made to homeschool, but before we were actually in the thick of it, smack in the middle of writing the book, and helping Mom through her surgeries:

I thought earlier this morning that I might have (maybe) just enough time before teaching a  beginning kiln-forming class to get in a quick post. I also wanted to get in a load of laundry before heading to the studio. I got the laundry in, but not the post done.

Life continues to be a juggling act. It took me a couple of years to settle into my forties and figure out that it was okay to be what I was when I grew up; I didn't need to be or want to be something definable or something other than I am. Now, as I settle into my fifties, the epiphany of this decade is shaping up to be that it

is neither my occupation nor how many hours a week I work at it that actually either define either me or my

I do not have to be defined by how many hours--and which actual hours--I "work". I don't have to be live  in eight-to-twelve-hour work-shift blocks, I do not have to do specific things at specific times in order to be effective or able to define my results as success, and I don't have to work a set number of hours at the glass studio in order for me to define it as my work. In fact, I am finally coming to see that I am defined as much by the intangibles I do as by the tangibles. My "job" is not to have an equal but separate career to Dave's and to bring in as much money as he does, and to maintain my ability to do everything he does in our life so that if we split back into two entities, I would be I *can* set some things up at some times--pottery on Monday mornings, jewelry fabrication on Friday mornings--and I can also let everything else fit into whatever time feels most appropriate.

Jump ahead to 7/17/13 when a curse turned into a blessing (thank you post facto Spruill):
Today registration for fall classes at the Spruill Center For the Arts opened up and I eagerly went on-line to check out my class descriptions... and they weren't there. Mystified, I called to see if there had been en error somewhere, but, nope, that wasn't the case.

In the spring when the fall schedule was being put together I approached the educational director of the center about teaching and not only did she want me to teach, but she sat me down right then and there and gave me a space (classroom assignment and a date and time) on the spot. She also gave me a bunch of forms to fill out and asked me to write up the class based on our discussion. So in the throes of getting ready to head out for Montana I filled out a bunch of paperwork and wrote up a survey class called "Around the Kiln in Eight Days", targeted at both existing and new students and introducing some of the techniques detailed in my upcoming book.

Today when I called I was told--not by the eduction director as she is on extended leave, nor by the interim director, nor even by the person who works on the course catalog who requested and filed all my materials... and the rant ends here. Too bad I can't reconstruct the end of the sentence.

Moving right along another six months to 1/26/14:
In the midst of everything else that's going on at our house right now, it's time to start a new semester of homeschooling. Sure, with homeschooling you don't have to follow quarters, semesters or any other defined timeframes. But Jessie also takes classes at LEAD, and they start a new semester next week so it’s a good time for us to evaluate our schedule and current classes and tweak them. One of the tweaks we are doing is adding a class on Anime Studio Debut software. I’m teaching it and I’ve never used the software so it’s a stretch, but I think a reasonable one. I watched a really good tutorial yesterday and found references to others so I think I can knit together a curriculum that will take Jessie from blank canvas to full animation (including multiple voice and music tracks) with her own anime characters by May.

The schedule going forward looks like this:
And life took over from there with no time left to post about it.

Then there were two more danglers in quick succession in the spring of 2014 as I struggled to get back to regular posting:

Standard home microwaved coffee from yesterday in the Chicago mug and energy to burn in my soul. It's been a long time since I've posted, but only lately has the creative fire pushed me to do it. The creative fire has been pushing at me a lot lately--a welcome relief after the past barren, soulless year (plus). I will not harp on the past, and I definitely learned from my choices, but I cannot express the joy I feel in having my studio back to myself. Don't get me wrong--I love the people with whom I shared it daily when it was seemingly always open to the public, but the act of sharing--of opening up my creative space to the constant presence of others--wore me down and took away every single solitary spark of divine fire I ever might have had.

Now, my studio not just messy but having descended into actual dirtiness, is my nest; the creative place I go bursting with too many ideas and too much energy to fit the time constraints allowed by real world and real life. I still share it, but not everyday and not with everyone. Bliss. The front formerly-bead-making-classroom is now the home of Finley Point Soap Company. It will also soon hold the metalsmithing tools and the jeweler's bench currently tucked into the shipping room, and a single glass beadmaking station...


Life has taken some very interesting twists and turns and meandered through some thorny woods in the past couple of years. First, I got lost in the bowels of (writing) a book and that experience truly was like being swallowed whole and spat back out covered in smelly slime. It wasn't the people I worked with that made it so difficult...

As I read these posts there is something comforting about recognizing my continuing moth-like-ness: Even though I know I can't get to the light, and if I could it would fry me to a crispy (dead) critter, I keep battering myself against the glass in search of something... more. I am still over-enthused, over-committed, under-funded, and abundantly optimistic about life. I still try to plan and end up winging everything, and whatever I do, IT'S OKAY. No point in I-could've-done-it-this-way or I-could've-done-it-betters. It's over, move on, enjoy it, learn from it. Now off to plan the rest of the year ;-)


Bill said...

OK, reading this was cool. I missed your posts, honestly, but I got the point that you were swamped with everything you had to do. It's been nice seeing you post occasionally on FB, but those posts aren't the same as your blog was. Do what your creative spark prompts you to do, and we, your admiring public, will soak it all up!

Brenda Griffith said...

Aw, what a wonderful comment Bill! Makes me feel cherished, warm and fuzzy--don't tell my husband.