If I were shooting for perfection I’d never have bought more clay. Luckily I prefer imperfection. I don't want to make smooth bodies and muscles that appear where muscles actually are, or tendons, or exactly what you look like when you squat down naked on your haunches. I don’t want to figure out precisely how everything fits together. I wouldn’t make them perfect if I could. I am interested in moods, and moods are messy, leaky. I like catching whoever they are in a moment of becoming or coming undone. Perfection is sort of ho-hum. It is also beyond me. And it is not what the clay requires, at least not of me. What the clay requires of me is obedience. If I keep my eye out for what the clay wants, it allows me to play the rest of the time.
The other day what appeared in my hand on the lump of clay I was warming up, was a mouth, a desperate mouth hanging open, and I stopped, and being careful not to mess with what I’d been given, looked for the rest of him. His head was flung back, his pointy nose sticking into the sky, he is sitting with his legs drawn to his chest and his scrawny arms are around them. Despair personified. But there is a streak of irony about him that always makes me smile. At first this surprised me. Where had it come from? Silly question. What the clay wants, the clay makes sure to get.
Well, let's argue about that when it actually appears. Oh that lovely moment when you hold the newborn in your arms! Book or babe, the joy. In the meantime, fall approaches. Time to eat apples and air out the sweaters.
Abby, you once said something nice about my writing, and I'm using your quote in my ad materials. You're my trump card as I try to market this book. So I will be happy to send it to you when it comes out.
You are not the first to confuse me with Beth Kephart, who is much more famous. The book isn't out yet, comes out in early November. I'll let you know. Yes, nice short essays! Many written when I was a single mother and a thousand words was all the time I had. There's an essay about my then-teenaged daughter called "Chilling and puking." I'm sure you can relate.
Abby, not me - you must be thinking of another Beth! I'm the Toronto Beth and have been divorced for over thirty years. My new book of essays is called Midlife Solo, and solo I am.
It always sounds like you took so much simple pleasure in your body and theirs. Whereas too often I was preoccupied with what does this mean, will we stay together, does he really like me? What a waste. Just shut the @#$#@ up and enjoy yourself, woman, I wish I'd said to myself. And it sounds like you did.
Oh Abby, this interlude sounds delicious in every way. You remind us of how hot we were, how hot they were - literally and metaphorically. And we had no idea. Maybe you did, actually, with a 27-year difference between you. You go girl! As they say.