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Writers Need a Change of Scene

file0001936899875I did something unusual tonight.  I left my house and family to attend a pottery class followed by an opportunity to make glass fusion art.  Never mind that I’ve fantasized about the tactile process of the pottery wheel for years, the main character in my novel, Edge of Dawn, is a potter and I wanted to be realistic.  Also, it was a gift from my sister.

This week has been inordinately tough with work, my daughter’s car accident and my son’s marriage breaking up and everyone coming to me because I am the “strong one.”  When I got ready to leave, all the plans and ideas I had for shapes or the clay itself were long absent from my thoughts.  I just knew I needed a change of scene and to get out of my head and into my body.

It worked.  The sense of touch and concentration was just what I needed.    That the teacher told me I was a natural sure didn’t hurt my ego, though I refused to wonder about what might have happened had I done this years ago.  I even caught myself sharing something personal with strangers.  My first formal art class was in Junior High School.  The art department had only three wheels, and the most popular kids got them, leaving fifteen of us out.  I sculpted, but never got to fulfill my pot-throwing fantasy.

Tonight,  I was happy for the now, the sensation of slip and water sliding through my fingers, and the shape forming in my hands.  For a few hours, I was able to forget the weight on my shoulders and just be in the moment.  I can’t think of a better gift anyone can give themselves.  I am eager for the call to say the pieces are fired and ready for glaze.

I had fun sitting at the end of the line of wheels.  The couple on the other side of my sister were a lot of fun (she offered to share her wine!)  The instructor was fantastic and very engaged.  I think about that now, and know the mesh of personalities coming together to learn something new is pretty cool.

glasssetWhen the pottery class ended, my sister noticed the glass fusion section of the studio and asked a few questions.  We sat down to create  six-inch-square masterpieces that will be heated until fully fused, and then heated to drape into a graceful fluted bowl for a votive or small pillar candle.  Typical me, I immediately had someone in mind, chose her favorite colors, and set to work.  I can’t wait to pick it up!  Again, the ladies at the next table came over to examine and comment on our work.  It is always gratifying to have your effort receive attention.

That i might do quite well with new mediums never crossed my mind.  I’m a quilter and pretty decent, but I can’t draw figures to save my life and always resigned myself to abstract art outside of fabric.  But a little voice inside told me I would have an easier time working in three dimensions and I did.  Not bad for a kid who aced geometry and nearly failed high level algebra, right?  I’m sure this will end up in a novel or short story in my future.

The feedback did something else, though.  It gave me the feeling that my writing might be just as good.  Words are my primary medium, and they are three-dimensional in the sense that they create whole characters and worlds.  Perhaps that little voice was right about more than clay or glass.

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