If you don’t wedge clay properly, it will explode in the kiln. Wedging also aligns the particles making the clay much more receptive to shaping and throwing. Right now, I suck at wedging. My “wedging” technique makes the clay pliable, but it also fills it with ballon sized air-pockets. Don’t even get me started on the difficulties I face with throwing clay. Yesterday, I was almost in tears because everyone else managed to throw a cylinder, while I was left with a spinning spitting sodden heap of grey mud. I was tempted to throw it across the room punch myself in face. (When I was a teenager I gave myself a black eye–seriously, I used to hit myself that hard). But I didn’t. Instead I just breathed and when I did happiness filled me up. Somewhere in frustration and madness of trying to shape the malleable pieces of earth–the same earth God* used to form humans–there is joyfulness. It’s astonishing what failure in ceramics teaches me about running.
Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep. I kept thinking about my failure to wedge properly and also somewhere smashing through my brain was the fifteen mile run I had to do in the morning. It thrashed my thoughts, leaving me jittery and awake. I kept thinking about how I would have to work a full day after running fifteen miles. It was depressing. Try as I might, I couldn’t fall asleep. Then brilliance struck: Why not call in sick? That way I could sleep off this insomnia and have time to recuperate from my long run. With that one thought, I skipped happily into dreamland.
Without an alarm, I arose at six o’ clock. (I was planning to sleep in until eight). Since I was up and felt rested, I decided to strap on my heart rate monitor and GPS, slip into my blue shorts, and drape on my white shirt. The first two miles were horrible and I questioned my decision to run a marathon, but by mile four my youthful vigor kicked-in. The carbohydrate packs and homemade gatorade helped tremendously. Mile twelve was difficult, and the last three miles forced me to dig deep, but I did and I found a treasure chest of strength and stamina. I finished my run in under two hours, which is right on track with my goal pace for the Boring Oregon Marathon.
Since I would’t have had to have left for work until eleven, I had plenty of time to stretch and rest. After a long hot shower, going to work didn’t seem so bad; so, I pulled on slacks, flung on my short sleeve dress shirt, and headed off to work. I wasn’t even stiff or sore. I did, however, let out a few great yawns, but I was fully functional. Maybe, I’m not so bad at wedging after all.
* I use God and reference Genesis rhetorically, I am a pantheist.