Tag: fortitude

poem: the gift of strength

As the sun rose
over a sea of discontent,
the only comforting thought
was that death
might come soon.

i hung my head,
to this dejection.

Once i stopped resisting,
i drowned within
the darkest waters
of grief and loss.

Then, the miracles began.

kept flowing to me
from the universe
from those i love.

Over an hour
life turned around.
My arms flung themselves open
rather than hold fast
the doors of my life
against catastrophe.

i had been given
the strength
to keep living.

5 may 2016

poems that heal me (episode 4)

nightsmagicNo excuses remain.

The traumas,
tragedies –
all the pain and suffering
of life –
have been digested.

Processing has been completed
to the point i can pretend
my decisions are fully my own.

The heartbreak he caused
has been fully healed,
even if the contours of my heart
changed shape.

All of the grief
moved through me
until even the echoes
no longer ached.

My life is my own –
for good or for ill –
and i feel the deep need
to celebrate!

she waited

She waited, hands folded upon her lap. Open for business, she only needed customers. Staring at her own long, tapering fingers, her hair cascading down past her shoulders, she seemed like the eternal embodiment of patience. Neither optimism nor defeat had etched themselves on her face; quiet stillness resided in those lines and curves. i want to sculpt her to remind myself of how i should be: not demanding, not expecting, just content with what is.

If only i felt such equanimity as i wait for customers to come to me. The nature of my studio and showroom means that i’m working instead of quieting myself. The interruptions are both blessed and difficult. My emotional state would be so much better if my heart did not leap every time i heard a car pull up and if i didn’t jump every time my dog barks to announce visitors (it has happened a thousand times, but he still startles me.) Normally i am deep within a project – throwing, or sculpting, or writing, or painting – and the new arrival pulls me out of my creating. Only, the energy that floods through me when i am at work does not immediately dissipate. From the inside, it feels like i linger inside the bliss and focus that the art creates. It often projects outward as i start to talk about the products of my hands and the gifts of other artists. My customers can resemble deer caught in the headlights of my intensity.

My passion for what i do cannot be hidden.

i am convinced that my work matters. That others will feel that way is not an assumption i make. Only, after seeing that lovely woman waiting for her customers to come, i realized i have to change from eager anticipation to sublime patience.

Right now. This instant.


Here are two poems to soothe impatience:


silence and stillness

messy redemption

One pattern i have in this life: i am melancholy the last few days of the month.  Most of the bloggingfever 3 alt  i’ve done this September was about being an artist, but i am also trying to run this business and around the 26th, i plan out every dime i’m going to spend for the next month (sometimes projecting out a few months).  In this task, obviously, i cannot expect sales.  So far, and i am knocking on wood here, i have not had too many times when i was completely bereft of people coming to the studio and buying things, or that the galleries i work with didn’t sell anything, but it could happen.  Frankly, i don’t even have to stretch my imagination on that one. i cannot count on income i do not have.  If the cash does not sit happily at hand in the moment i’m planning, it does not go into the plan.  This creates a situation where i might by clay this month, or i might not, it will completely depend on whether or not debts to me are paid or sales are made.  thinking

At the end of every month – when the bills are paid and the mortgage on its way – i feel a vague sense of redemption.  For another thirty or so days, i’ve been able to keep myself a step away from financial apocalypse.  Maybe i bought clay or glaze or a few dinners out with friends.  Maybe not.  But either way, i will continue to have a roof over my head and a chance to make art.

This entire summer was dedicated to changing how i sell my work so that i can take better care of myself. i wrote a new business plan last fall/winter, did cost flow analyses until my eyes crossed.  i charted every single sale i had made since 2009, so i could see what i sold where and when.  Toward that end, i have spent money on different things; i have tried to calculate what pottery is best to make. Each month that goes by, i gain some confidence that things might just be okay.  And i get to continue making art.

contentmentOnly, it’s a messy redemption.  i dance around supplies and house repairs and filling up my car’s tank with gas and getting oil to heat my home.  i live like a priest – food is really my only indulgence – but the lack of an outrageous social life works for me because what i want to do most is make art.

Buying medicines, going out with friends, getting my hair cut, getting new pants to replace the ones that wore through, these are no longer things i can take for granted.  Every single day that i can make art, or that i can spend my time lost in creating a story or poem, i recognize that this life i lead is a gift.  The sacrifices i have made, while they might chafe, have been worth the gift of making art.  This realization doesn’t stop the melancholy from wrapping its boney arms around me for a day or two, muttering about failure into my ear, but it helps me carry the extra load around while i continue working.

So, today, i am awash in uncertainty and exhaustion.  My entire universe feels upended, because even though all the bills are paid, and the mortgage is on its way, there is precious little left over.

All i can do is keep my studio open so that customers may come, (to quote Neil Gaiman) “make good art,” and root myself in the crazy faith that all is well, despite uncertainty, vulnerability and anxiety.