Jeff Longtin on sat 8 nov 03
I had a revelation last yesterday and I thought I would share it with you all.
I've been in a funk for awhile now, mostly life frustrations (i.e. career
frustrations) have been weighing me down.
We all have them, of course, (so I'll not go into details) but let's just say
I've not been resolving them well.
So I've been drinking. Not serious, car in the ditch kind of drinking, but
rather, have a drink to "take the edge off" kind of drinking. The kind of
drinking that doesn't, necessarily, physically impair me as much as emotionally
And that was the revelation last night.
Under the gun these days to get some work ready for a show next week, and the
holidays, and I decided I really want to get into it to see how people react
to my new stuff. Had to remake the prototypes, then had to make new production
molds. That process took longer than expected, and was more grueling than I
thought, but I did get thru it.
(And now, its time to make some pots, with five days to go...uggh!)
Typically, on weekdays I choose to work in the studio, I would come home from
my day job and have a glass of wine or two, with dinner, before I went up to
I thought, erroneously I now realize, that I really needed to, "take the edge
off". I didn't realize, however, that it was the alcohol itself that created
that "edge" and that it was the alcohol that so brilliantly camoflauged it's
own creation. Heretofore I thought my frustrations were the "edge" and that the
alcohol was a way to block them out.
I was wrong.
Here's how I figured it out.
Typically, after my drink or two, I would get into the studio and feel this
very strong need to just sit down and hang out. It seemed like the studio was a
reminder of all my past failures and frustrations and before I could start
any project I needed to sit down and review them and figure out what I did
wrong. All of this before I did anything!
Is it any wonder why I so hated it when people would say, "Oh, you have a
studio, that sounds like so much fun!"? (Fun?, yeah right!)
But that was before last night.
Last night I came home to a house, apartment really, without alcohol. I
thought of picking something up on my way home but decided against it. (I really
needed to get into the studio as early as possible.) I did decide, however, to
make some comfort food, soup, to start the night on a "nuture the soul" kind of
As I drove up to the studio I pass a very good liquor store with some really
great wines, but this time, I decided not to stop.
As I climbed the three flights of stairs to my studio I noticed that I wasn't
as tired as I typically would be doing so in the past. Yes, I was physically
tired, it'd been a long day at work, but I wasn't emotionally tired. I got
into the studio and, for some reason, I didn't have the need to sit down and
review my past failures, instead I had the really strong urge to get on with it
and make some pots. And so that's what I did. Until 12:00 midnight!
I didn't really want to be up that late in the studio but, again, for some
reason, I didn't feel all that tired. (And here it is 8:50am and I can't wait to
finish this post to get back to it!)
Revelation: It dawned on me last night that the solution is not, "working on
the problem," the task at hand, rather, is "working on the solution."
What an incredible feeling! The alcohol wasn't helping me "get thru the
problem", the alcohol was numbing me to the solution.
Once I started actually making pots I realized, "Oh yeah, this is WHAT I like
to do." When I started looking around at my work and realized how much I LIKE
POTS I realized, Oh yeah, this is WHY I like to do it!"
The solution is making pots and BEING a potter.
Was the solution really that simple all this time?
take care gang
in sunny minneapolis
Cat Yassin on sat 8 nov 03
In a message dated 11/8/2003 8:58:41 AM Central Standard Time,
> What an incredible feeling! The alcohol wasn't helping me "get thru the
> problem", the alcohol was numbing me to the solution.
> Once I started actually making pots I realized, "Oh yeah, this is WHAT I
> to do." When I started looking around at my work and realized how much I
> POTS I realized, Oh yeah, this is WHY I like to do it!"
> The solution is making pots and BEING a potter.
> Was the solution really that simple all this time?
> again, man-o-man!
Wow Jeff! Thanks for sharing that "road trip" you took to finding your
solution to your (I don't know if this is the right way to say it) lack of
motivation? I too have a "day job" so that by the time I get home from already working
at least 8 hrs a day, take care of my daughter and her needs (I'm a single
mom) then there isn't much motivation for working with clay. Well... the desire
is there but the physical energy isn't and when there isn't any physical energy
I find myself sitting on my stool in front of my wheel, looking around at
things that aren't finished, thinking about the things I need to start, and
getting overwhelmed at the whole prospect!
Ok, so then what can I do to spark up my energy level? Hmmm, how about some
caffeine? Nothing like 2 Excedrin to perk me up... But.. is that "right"? Sure,
it isn't alcohol, but it can be addicting. Actually alcohol these days brings
me down and makes me tired. But I can certainly appreciate how it can seem to
"take the edge off". Perhaps I'm using caffeine the same way...
-Cat Yassin (The Excedrin Junkie)