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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Clearing the cobwebs

 I have been clearing cobwebs this week, literally and figuratively. Today I worked out in my studio for the first time all summer, cleaning and encouraging little spiders to go somewhere else. It seemed like there were baby spiders hatching as I swept, is that possible, do they do that? They were doing that!

It's been a long rough summer, and the things I have felt like writing about really needed to not be for public consumption. Just how much can one take of reading about craziness anyway? I've had a lot to sort out and come to peace with. I now understand that you can have compassion for someone and not love them, and that's enough.....

This summer for me was about dealing with aging, accepting compassion as a new way of feeling, learning more about who I am and what I want my life to be about, learning how to let go of my child just a little bit more, learning to deal with that lonely hollow feeling a child leaves in the pit of your heart, and trying to understand where my art has gone.....

We had one thing after another this summer, first Gerry's skin cancer, then his dad's surgery, then putting his mom in a nursing home, then his dad going there, then the both of them coming back home, then my mom making herself sick and going to a nursing home, then coming home. Then the worst of all for me.... Wesley went to Boston for what was supposed to be a great internship with WGBH and she got food poisoning the first week there. All alone for the first time in a large city, and she is vomiting for days. I was so scared, I almost got on a plane and flew up there. But she dealt with it like the strong girl we have raised, and managed to salvage the last week of the trip and had some fun. She was home for 24 hours and then left for school. This has been the hardest letting go so far. I think maybe because this is the last year of school and then she really is going to go off somewhere.....


I have puttered around with things to keep my hands busy, because my hands must stay busy. I have driven up and down the highways. I have cooked a lot, learning new vegan recipes, Wes is vegan now. I made soaps, I made pot holders on my mom's old loom that she never used. I love these looms for times when you need to make something, anything.  I have spent a lot of time with my chicks, they are about a week or so away from egg laying time, so excited! I am feeding them an organic (very expensive) vegetarian layer feed, because I will be eating whatever they consume in the end.  I have painted rooms in the house, cleaned closets, worked in the yard, helped move Wes back to school, looked for furniture for her, staying busy, but no art.....
why?


I keep asking myself why I have so little motivation to work with clay. I have this great studio, everything I need and yet I have felt no pull to go to my studio. Then it occurred to me the other night when I was sitting on the porch..... clay is demanding. Clay wants all of your time. Clay caused me to resent the time my family wanted of me. And I got tired of feeling that way. What? you want to eat dinner? but I'm trimming this foot, I have to do it now. What? you want to go somewhere? I just rolled out these slabs, they have to be used now or they will get too hard. What? You want to talk? I need to focus on this math so I can figure this glaze recipe out. Go away, I said in my head, then hated that I felt that way. What do I care more about, my clay or my family? Well, of course.... my FAMILY! so I just stopped, because I can only focus on one thing at a time. I can multi-task like crazy, but it has to be multi-tasking within one project, not several at one time. Clay just asked to much of me. There is only so much of me to go around.

I have done no shows this year, sold no pottery, made no pottery. And my world didn't end. My art bank account has $80 in it, but it never had all that much to begin with. That's the other thing. I worked my ass off, made A LOT of pottery and made very little compared to a salary "normal" people get for the same amount of time and effort. It's just not worth it. I do feel a pull to get some clay in my hands, but maybe just for the fun of making, not trying to figure out how many of something I need to make to break even at a show.

The other thing I have been up to this summer is exploring new career possibilities. Maybe I don't even want to be an artist trying to make a living selling her work anymore. I wrote my first business plan this summer, even wrote out a five year plan which I have never done. I found a business I wanted to buy.... it didn't work out, but it was a great learning experience, and maybe one day I will find the right thing. I have interviewed for a couple of part time jobs. I would really like to help offset the costs of Wesley's college expenses, and selling art is not making a dent in that area.

This summer I felt like I put on big girl pants for the first time. I weathered the storm, and came out on the other side, stronger and wiser. More depressed, but not so much I couldn't function. More of a funk maybe, nothing that needed the meds advertised on TV to solve. I still feel a bit blue, but Gerry has made me laugh a lot, my friends have made me laugh a lot, I got drunk, peed in the front yard, played corn hole, drank bloody marys, went to meditation temples, started doing yoga again, learned more about gardening, learning...... I like learning.......

I feel like I need to find something for this blog to be about, and not just come here to purge the crazy in my life. Some of you still have my blog listed on your blog roll as A Potters Life For Me. It hasn't been that in a long time, sure hasn't been about a potter's life, just a life.....  I wonder sometimes why I even write all of this here. But some of you that read have become great friends and your emails these past few weeks have been so great to read. We are an odd bunch aren't we, all of us bloggers..... maybe this is just my journal now. Sometimes I think, Oh God, why did I write that, but then someone will email or post a comment and say they understand exactly what I was saying or what I said helped them, and then I think, well ok, come on along if you want to. I read blogs that help me, so I suppose its the same here. If nothing else, sometimes it's pretty good entertainment :)
I think I need to lighten up a bit though..... let's see how that goes
xo

PS: after I wrote all of this, I clicked on my spam to clean it up and had an email, in all caps it said:
How would you like to have a nine inch d*#k Tracey Broome?  
well, I'm not sure what that means! but it made me laugh :)

16 comments:

oldgreymareprimitives said...

well...what would the answer be? hehe.
sorry I just couldn't help myself cause that made me laugh!

you expressed exactly the way I have been feeling all summer also. I was just whining to a friend how I have not created anything much this year and while that is a puzzle, the bigger issue is I don't give a damn....I entertain the idea of swapping my studio for my bedroom so my studio space would be large enough to teach in...but what if I did all that work and still did not wish to work? sigh...

I'll wait for you to figure it all out ok? and then I'll follow your lead... :D cause this ole gal is weary.

Dennis Allen said...

Poor Wesley. Years ago, I spent a week stuck in the worst hotel I ever stayed in with the full blown 102 degree flu while sitting through mandatory training for a new job.No fun at all to be sick and alone.Glad Wes is ok. Sometimes life is a walk in the meadow, sometimes a forced march through knee deep mud.Good luck, be well, and keep in touch.

Tracey Broome said...

Well Suzan, I probably shouldn't answer that haha! But when I find all the other answers, I'll let ya know! I have talked to so many feeling the same way, maybe the planets are generating all this uncertainty......

Dennis, I know, I've been there too. Flu in hotel rooms, it's the worst. Wes is on the mend and happy at school, so things are semi back to normal.

Michèle Hastings said...

This will be a year of big changes for you. I did a lot of soul searching when Danielle finished college. I felt the the most important job of my life was pretty much done... yes, we will always be mothers but the all consuming part comes to an end when they fly the nest. I switched careers, returned to clay part time, and created a new life for myself. Some decisions were not easy.
You are a strong woman and will find your way.

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks Michele! I thought the first year of college was hard, but I now think the last year is worse!

Anna M. Branner said...

Feeling a lot of these emotions myself this summer and I don't even have kids! My Fall shows have gotten me moving, at least adequately....hang in there!

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Anna thanks, so many of us feeling this way, what up?!

littlemancat said...

Maybe for now, your art has to be your life, your day to day journey. A transformation from art to the art of living? The Winter visit with the monks, your sons, perhaps led the way to this new path. ? I don't know, just seems it's a big transition time and a tough one. I too think you're a strong soul and wish you the best.
Sorry Wesley was sick! I can imagine that urge to hop on a plane!
Mary

Vicki said...

For whatever reasons people find their way to your blog - and stay - is because of the wonderful person behind the words, and images.
There's a connection that keeps us returning.

Changes, letting go, balancing the good with the bad..... it's never easy.
Finding things that bring in a bit of light on those heavy dark days - that's what gets us through ♥

Lori Buff said...

What you do matters less than how you do it.

Tracey Broome said...

You blogger mates are the bestest EVER! Such wise words, and healing voices, all of you
Xo
Mary, I do think the monks brought a huge amount of energy to this house and we are all tryng to find a place for it in our lives.....
Vicki, balance, yes, but oh dear, I'm a Libra, haha!
Lori, I feel like I'm doing a whole lot of nothing right now, which has not been my way, ever, so it's taking some getting used to..... Nice in a way though.

imagine said...

Hi Tracey
It seems as though you are going through some of the bad times that come to us all, but in a very short space of time.
It seems to me that your only problem is that you care too much about people and that makes it much harder for you.
If only more of us were like that.
Time will help.
To me it seemed that the only real worry was "how is Wesley".
There I don't think you have any real problems, she is her mothers daughter and I have a feeling that she is going to "move on" to "really" great things.
I hope that one day I have the pleasure of meeting her.
Plus of course her proud Mum & Dad.

You are all in my thoughts each and every day.

John

Tracey Broome said...

John thank you so much, great to hear from you! Yes, we got it all at once this summer, but came through on the other side, looking forward to a restful fall. Wesley is doing great, loves school and has some wonderful friends looking after her, thanks for asking about her.
Enjoyed your blog today very much:)

Scott Garrett said...

Thank you Tracey! This is why you should keep writing about it, even the crazy stuff. You do hit those nails on their heads. That is exactly why i'm not making clay and i've given myself a pretty heavy beating regularly for not doing something i love. It's demanding! especially having to figure it all out for the first time by yourself. I can't just spend a weekend up in my workroom trying to figure out ways around the kiln!! I even had an enlightening chat with Jakki and my Dad recently, after some wine! and it was like i wasn't there. My Dad knew how much i just wanted to make pots and that's where my heart is, but also that i have the family and house to support/maintain. Jakki feels i'm procrastinating and i should take the time off to get it done (apart from those weekends ;-) ! Ha, caught slap bang in the middle.
It's so nice to hear you discuss why some of us are not just getting to it. Your blog remains at the very top. I'm not sure you really credit that as an achievement in itself, you often knock your limitations in the workplace or whatever, but boy you can write about your world brilliantly… after all why are we still so interested?
Take care and look after yourself, tell Gerry to do the same.

Scott Garrett said...

… Oh, and tell them i'll take them up on the offer! ; )

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Scott, sometimes I feel the same about your blog, you often say the very things I am also thinking. Clay is a demanding thing, and I envy those that can find the balance, I can't seem to do that.
Glad you enjoy my blog, I still enjoy coming here for a few thoughts....