I remember about 8 or 9 years ago turning in my last college essay and thinking to myself "boy am I glad that's the last paper I'll ever write!" Shoulda knocked on wood.
I'm writing a fairly lengthy essay on Michael Cardew and his time in Africa(at the time of writing this post I am procrastinating the writing of the essay, but that is neither here nor there.) Not for publication or my own bemusement but for credit. No, I will not share my thoughts on why Cardew all but abandoned his wife and children to pursue idealogical dreams about a pottery in West Africa(his words, or thoughts anyways.) I will not for 3 reasons.
Because I am not (insert deity here)'s gift to writing. I am constantly befuddled at the number of people who find value in my lack of wordsmithing when there are better options. Then again...I'm assuming people read my blog because of what I have to say. It's certainly not my charming personality...maybe it's the stunning photographs? I dunno...have to get back to you on that one.
I will not give you the answers. Read his autbiography and draw your own conclusions about this slightly self-absorbed-(but not?!)-man(my words.)
I feel that when you do something because you have to it doesn't always have the heart of something you do because you want to. This is a fancy way of saying that I'm not giving my all. You might say: "but Brandon, I don't want to make pots, I HAVE to make pots." It's possible that you have to make pots to be happy(as I do) but your basis of need stops there. There has never been the threat of a gun to my head or malnourishment because I wasn't making pots, there is however the ever-present threat of my grouchiness if you take my pots away. We make pots because we want to. We follow our dreams because we are encouraged to do so, or at least we were. Remember that quote from Finding Forrester: "we walk away from our dreams afraid that we may fail or worse yet, afraid we may succeed." I don't know if following your dreams fits into the current standardized one-size-fits-all public education that promotes a fear of failure, because after all you may fail at something, heaven(mecca, nirvana, etc.) forbid it may even be a learning experience.
West Africa is littered with Michael Cardew's failures. Okay maybe not "littered" but those thousands upon thousands of pots from years of disasterous firings had to go somewhere, right? When I think of MC's time in Africa I don't think of his failures, I think of his journey to the (relative)success of his pottery training center in Abuja. One success can wipe the slate clean of your failures. Apply that nugget of wisdom to whatever facet of your life needs it.
See what I did there, tied it all together? Clever.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is he talking about?