Balls to the Walls

Blow Pipes and Puntys in pipe warmer

The ends of the pipes are perfect at an orange glow….not too yellow, not too red.  

Today was a “balls to the walls” (B2W)  kind of day in the studio. 
Big macho energy….mine.  
Big fresh ideas….mine.  

My B2W attitude brings me more of what I already know.  It is big and tough and not to be messed around with.  I think it’s what it takes for me to step up to my ideas.

Not today.  Not recently.  

And less and less is this attitude of bravado working for me.  I can be grateful to see how the competitive rush- that I rise to so easily- is loosing it’s edge.  That the strategies that chop and cut- sharp and definite are not taking me to where I want to be.  

Just because B2W got/gets me through some interesting jaunts and intersections, it isn’t much of a journey.  It is, like I said, big and tough, and today… it led to “floor models”- a term coined by the person who taught me how to blow glass-Ed Broadfield.

Notice the plural of “floor model”?  This is one….  Of a few….  That I dropped today.



Today I blew glass.  

I sculpted glass too.  

Massive equipment using huge amounts of electricity and gas. 

I struggled with the newness of the environment, the different temperature and quality of the glass, the heaviness of the annealer door, the furnace door too.  The height of the marver, the height of the bench.  New to me and yet not new.  It feels foreign and familiar.  A skill that I reacquaint myself with like riding a bike.  Sort of.  But 2100 degrees.

Struggling today, until the very last piece, in which I felt I was beginning to get my chops back.  Gather right on center.  Blown out with the first breath.  No fighting the temperature.  A centered punty which let go of the piece with the slightest tap.  And the annealer door didn’t feel like a ton of bricks to lift.

Tomorrow is a new day- fresh with a returned skill and most likely ideas from my sleep state tonight.

I think of Susan Ford, who I apprenticed with in Mississippi, everyday before work, she would light a candle and say, 
“I thank God for everyday that I get to blow glass!”

Bates Beach

With the urgency of the surfers running down the steps racing out to huge, loud, tubular waves.  
As the chill of the Pacific cuts against my shins.  

I turn my back to the sun and excitement and feel a deep familiarity rise up through the shadow cast before me.  

The hang of the arms and hands.  
The tilt of the head.  Or the same haircut?  
Weight on one leg.  
A pointed toe digging in wet sand, especially in the movement….
I notice….
Me meeting me.

In the shadow today on Bates- 

In a photo taken 46(?) years ago- 

A future 46(?) years from now.

Me meeting me.

One Hand and The Other

To be here -present- in my breath feels a luxury to me on one hand and on the other……
The other hand, muscular from use -strong.  The one willing to reach out to the wild horse. The one that can snap it’s fingers crisply and sharply without thought.  The one that gets “R” done.  

On that hand I place my judgement.  I set it high, where it can see the full stage.   Cringe with the discomfort of what drama unfolds. Chat, cough, “uhhhhum”, unwrap candy wrappers, text, laugh where it wants, not budge- while the one hand gets full stage.  Deep breaths.  All the way to the belly. Many deep breaths.  Deep breathing.  FINALLY!  (Notice which gets the last word!)

An Added Kick To Life

Some dogs show me a part of their personality with the kick of their back leg.  Maybe it’s not exactly the “personality” they are showing.

As I follow a dog on the trail I notice the right side of the back kick of its leg is a bit askew from the direct kick of the left.   
While she runs it seems a handicap, as the imbalance lists her to one side, yet consistently compensating, her front paws keep her on course.  It gives a “cuteness” to her personality.  A bit more energy than most.  An extra kick to life.  

Then, I wonder what wounds exactly HAS she integrated?  What IS she compensating for?  Or was she born this way?  Whatever the answer is,  I think it has to do with much more than projecting a “cute” disposition into the world.

I notice the integrated, and not so integrated, wounds in myself.  I don’t have words to share with you about them.  


Though, I can tell you, like the pup, they are more than “cute”.


There is an agitated buzz pulling me.

I’m not going.

Good Morning

I realize I would much rather read someone else’s story than write my own.  Why is that?  I don’t want to touch upon my own unrealized, unactualized.  My own story seems like a responsibility. To feel it.  To write it.  To stand behind it.  And then I think I have to answer for it.  

What if my untold story is funny?  Like the woman on the trail today when she said “GooooMonin”  It makes me think she is fun.  She seems like a kid to me.  Usually wearing bright, patterned colors.  Her dogs seem like kids too, now that I think about it.   She doesn’t take things seriously.   She isn’t immediately heading for the responsibility hills- like I am.  So, on those days where my walk is the task at hand- the thing I am doing to check off of the list- the disciplined act- I would much rather think of her fun and funny life than be in my militant mind and body which pumps me up the hill.

I can swing also to the other end of the spectrum when I hear a man who says “Goot Morn Ink”.  It isn’t an accent.  It is his way.  Direct.  He seems so super over responsible.  His forced gait leaves steady tracks in the dirt which seem to have a presence of their own.  It is true.  Often those same tracks will last through the day on this high traffic path.   Other hikers must sense the intensity of his step and choose to creep around these vibram reliefs in the dust, because I can often still see them in the afternoon.  On those afternoons, in which it is afternoon because I have skipped my morning walk in order to lazily relish in my life.  Those times that I can’t seem to get into rhythm.  The rhythm of a strategy, that I think…. if I just crack it’s combination…. I will run this life of mine like one fine tuned machine.  And until then, this sloth wallows.

My story is in between.  

Watching Noam Chomsky’s DVD and thinking back on many of my conversations with my Grandad

reminds me to not take the horrendous things that are going on in the world to heart.

Listening to other’s experiences of earlier times of crisis and seeing that today they can talk about them calmly as if they are sweeping their arm through a sky of history, a slight watery color that washes an even clearer trail as the telling of past struggles gets another sweep.

These tellers of their story have survived.  They are here to tell.  And the thing that hooks me is that CALM that they tell it with.  I am attracted to that calm because I seek it.  And I am seeking in the not so O.K. places to seek calm.  Like Iraq Afghanistan, or the Canadian Tar Sands just to name a few.   Why in the world would I go to these places to seek calm?
Because they call me.
They are anything BUT the calm.  The crisis, the wars, the environmental stuff calls to my heart.

At OHI one of the instructors encouraged us to tell our story, any story, 3 times- and only 3 times.  First to ourselves, second to someone else or a group to allow it into the world, and third, to hang on to the story and its strength for someone that we think could really benefit from hearing it- and one never knows how many years THAT would take!

I mean Come On, I go to these blogs and see the self sell behind it all.  I envy the pizzaz it takes to do so.  In the next breath a gagging comes over me- for 10 years?  Really?  What else is going on?

The theme is to have a theme.  I don’t want a theme.  I don’t want a series.   I want to be myself.  Everyone says that that is what they love about me.  That I am me.  Well, I don’t feel like me.  I am in between.  I am surrounded by beads right now.  Very     unorganized.  Beads!  I started with beads!  I love beads!  I am back to beads.

And real truth, I am making boxes.

Gifts from open hands come my way today.
To be able to put down a word- each word in unique order- one at a time until the idea is out.  I am used to the flow of the ink, that drawing of the line that forms an idea.  It is a visual for me, that flow.  That which feels comfortable and no body sees it.  I most of the time can’t read it myself.  It is just a squiggle. 
Today I am learning to type the feeling.  To tap at these keys and also not edit my flow because you are reading it. 
This is new.