feedback fear

the face that started it all

the face that started it all

I won’t ask for feedback on my creative projects, in spite of feeling that I really should.

I am afraid.

I don’t think I’ve got a clear idea of what it is I want to say about the world and my experience of it. And if I give someone else a chance to offer an opinion, I know I’m a wimp, and I’ll change my work to meet their expectations. I’ll lose the opportunity to express myself because I’m not strong enough to resist good intentions.

And yet, I remember Nick’s delight at a small figure prodding me into creating three more versions. I loved the feeling of winning his approval. I also took courage from his understanding of what I enjoyed about that particular creature. I was astonished and pleased by its liveliness, and he got that.

In those early days of exploring clay sculpting, if I’d invited comments from someone who hadn’t liked what I was doing, I’m sure I would have given up. In the face of indifference, I’m barely able to keep on with any project, but given out and out criticism, I fold. All my internal negativity floods out. “See, “ I hear myself shouting, “I told you you couldn’t do it,“ and I slink away, red-faced that I even dared to try.

If I get things actually finished, it’s easier to show them to others. But even so, it’s scary when I don’t know if I’m going to receive helpful insights or flat rejection. It takes an unshakeable belief in yourself to withstand an “I just don’t like it,”  Perhaps even more fortitude to hear “What if you just changed this part? My friends and I would buy something like that.”

Because ultimately, that’s where I seem to be stuck. If someone would pay for what I’ve created, I would think it had value. If it goes unsold, then no matter how much I liked it, it feels like it just wasn’t good enough.

I hate that I do this to myself. I see, and hear, and enjoy all manner of beautiful things that do not cost money. When I’m in my right mind, I remember that, and can enjoy whatever I’m doing. So for me, a crucial part of my creative process is trying to stay in my right mind. I try never to think “will it sell?” I focus on shaping the clay, stroke by stroke. I watch for signs of where it wants to go. I feel its texture and learn simple but for me, amazing things.

And I put off the outside world and its judgement for as long as I can.


#creativeprocess, #feedback, #fear, #opinions, #clay sculpting, #criticism, #sellingart

Kaila arrives


Her comparatively small size in no way impedes her imperial demands. When she thunders across the kitchen from one window to the other, you’d think we had a herd of horses in the house, instead of one fierce tabby cat.

It’s been only 8 months since Kaila has joined our household, and we’re amazed at how much things have changed. Nick and I have never laughed so much. We’ve learned to play stair games. We’ve increased our tolerance for toppled plant pots. And we’ve accepted instruction as to how much petting is too much. Amazing how much one can learn from a sternly-administered warning nip.

I’ve almost always had cats for companions. But after partnering with Nick, I’d become unwilling to invest emotionally in another pet. My new relationship, my music, my writing and crafts, and my job used up all the energy I could spare. Nick hadn’t had a pet since he was a boy, so we neither of us missed the cat hair, the litter box or the vet bills.

Somewhere along the line, though, things changed. We discussed the possibility every few years and argued ourselves out of it. Until last fall, when we visited the local SPCA and fell in love. A slender young mother, big-eyed in a foxy face, had sheltered her kittens in a boat during a cold winter, before being rescued. She’d looked at us, exhausted. Her own children successfully adopted, she had also nursed a foster litter of abandoned kittens. Nick got down on the floor beside her to touch her fur with a gentle finger. She extended a tentative paw through the cage bars to play, and we all connected.

And now we can’t remember what life was like before Kaila.

The unexpected thing is, Kaila’s presence reveals things to each of us about the other. I see a Nick I didn’t realize existed. Who knew that my thoughtful, often intellectual husband would try enticing her to sleep, because he’d researched feline health online and discovered cats need 16 hours of rest? Who would have guessed my quiet, reserved partner would talk, meow and sing with her so much? He tells me that I can get her chasing and pouncing and jumping in a way that he can’t. I assumed that everyone knows how to play with a cat. But no! When Nick holds the stick with the dangling furball on the end, Kaila stares at it for a moment, then at him, then sinks down to the floor, suddenly completely engrossed in removing a speck from her shoulder. I try explaining how twitch the stick and make the toy move furtively, but he’s bored and the cat’s bored until I pick up the stick, dance it past her nose, and we’re all laughing again.

Welcoming Kaila to our household was such a good idea. It’s been magical.

ho ho ho!

Drove through a nasty snow squall last night and this morning, all is hushed and white. If it weren’t for the driving, I’d be happy with winter. I like knitting this time of year, and I absolutely love getting ready for Christmas. I don’t have to do the shopping, Nick and I don’t do gifts, but I adore playing and listening to the music and beading and making Christmas decorations, and all the Christmas lights, and, of course, dressing up for our Elf Week at work!

to wear or not to wear….panty hose!

panty hoseR
I don’t even open this dresser drawer any more. It’s stuffed with panty hose I haven’t worn in years, but are in pretty good shape so I’m saving them just in case I might need to wear them again. Now that the cold weather has come, the question arises. If I choose to wear a skirt, what footwear would go with it, and more importantly, panty hose or no panty hose?

To my mild surprise, I happened to notice that many well-dressed women in magazines and media are bare-legged. When did they free themselves from the tyranny of panty hose I wondered?

Back twenty or so years ago, I had consciously decided to go for “business casual” dress at work. I believed comfort and ease of movement would allow me to focus more clearly on my job, which, on any given day, might include stepping over camera cables, hoisting boxes of video tapes, or standing outdoors in the cold taking notes. When shooting at formal events such as theatre performances or an awards gala for example, all crew were expected to dress appropriately. I would enjoy the feeling of a snug pair of flattering panty hose. I’ve been told I have good legs and it was always fun to show them off. But I would have to be a little more conscious of how and where I moved lest a sharp surface catch the hose and start a run. I couldn’t step up into company vans as freely in case my skirt would slide up too high and reveal too much. I would shorten my stride, hurrying after the camera crew little breathlessly, to make sure I maintained control of my high heeled shoes. It all felt attractive and, yes, sexy, but definitely vulnerable.

In the summer panty hose were too hot and sticky. In the winter they weren’t warm enough. In the office they were subject to runs from unnoticed file drawers and wooden desks. In the field, they were a nuisance.

The little bit of support from the firmly elasticized panty top feels dressy, and there’s no doubt the colours flatter my legs’ skin tones. But too long a stride and the hose might pull a little or even, if the panty hose were a little too snug, rip at the crotch seam. If a pair of panty hose were durable and survived a few washings (by hand, mind you!), they would begin to twist unpredictably when shoehorning myself into them. As my own fashion sense changed, it became a no brainer to choose leggings, long skirts, khaki pants and of course blue jeans as they, too, became acceptable at work.

I can’t really remember the last time I wore a pair of panty hose. I don’t own any more high-heeled shoes, and wear mostly sandals, sneakers, or cowboy boots.

And I could use the drawer space.

But somehow, I don’t seem to be able to just throw them out.

#dressing up #panty hose #whattowearwithshoes

electro-magnetic woo-woo’s

Lumme, Friday already. It’s been a hell of a week for breakdowns.

There’s the ongoing saga of Siobhan the Toyoto, and really, for us, car repair stuff is fairly unusual and noteworthy.

At work, our debit machine went all screwy on Monday and had to be rebooted, and during that operation, our number one cash register deprogrammed itself and had to be reprogrammed. That’s never happened in the more than five years I’ve been at the store. More importantly for me, I’ve been computerless all week as the laptop I use enjoys a prolonged spa at the repair shop.

At home yesterday, the furnace stopped blowing hot air and a chilled, red-faced Nickolas called me later to let me know we’d forgotten about cleaning the filter. The filter is such a good one, apparently, that’s once it discovered it had to work far too hard, it sat down and called a strike.

I’m blaming on the unusual sunspot activity going on, plus the end of the current Mercury retrograde period. It can’t just be all merely human error?

Surely not 😉

#communication difficulties #repairs #spooky malfunctions