Last night I dreamt that a handful of random people in my life had all just got their PhD's. My father, a cousin, a friend - but not, importantly, me. And to make things worse they had all completed them in 18 months (rather than the usual three to four years). I remember standing in a room as they all went nonchalantly about their lives acting as if this was a normal thing to have done; that doing a PhD was really No Big Deal. When I woke at 3.15am to save myself from my dream, I was then assaulted by my waking mind which, I must say, wasn't terribly helpful in resisting my attempts to see myself as a complete loser. (You see, I tried to get a PhD for many years but it didn't happen.) Some nights you can't win, awake or asleep.
I think this might have all come about because I returned to the pottery studio yesterday to begin another term of, well, pottery. And while that might ordinarily be a cause of great celebration, it proved to be inordinately more challenging than I had anticipated. Unfortunately, there were not enough enrolments to run one of the introductory courses this term, so I was given the opportunity to tag along with an advanced group in their open studio time. I naively thought there might just be one or two benign souls rattling about the place while I worked on my little pottery creations, but instead there were about eight highly-skilled potters there all casually cranking out beautiful, functional pots that looked like they came straight from the gallery downstairs. Needless to say, as I bent to retrieve my tools from under one of the workbenches I felt an irresistible urge to climb in under it myself and just wait until they all went home. I didn't, though, you'll be pleased to know. I was brave and risked great public snickering by kneading up my ball of clay and beginning the next Great Creations to come from my beginner potter's hands.
That's why I had to explore themes of "failure," "inadequacy," and "unrequited dreams" later that night, I think. I wish it could have been the themes of "new beginnings," "hope," and "the rewards of being courageous", however that's just the way my mind rolls. I'm lucky like that.
By the way, these pictures are of the best of the wheel-thrown bowls I did last term. I particularly like how the glaze turned out (which, at this early stage, feels like a complete crap shoot - but I'm sure there's logic to it somewhere).