50 Pounds of Pots and Long Walks

I've been finding myself walking a lot more lately. To the grocery store, down the hill into Fremont to write at coffee shops, up to Greenlake to sit by the water and enjoy the sunshine, and sometimes, to nowhere in particular. 

It is no coincidence that this penchant for walking began when I left my job. I've found it a soothing way to think, relax, and I'll admit, procrastinate. If I'm feeling unproductive or stuck on something, I'll just lace up the shoes and head out the door. 

Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. Walking is a motivating practice, when you think about it. It's the slowest form of transportation short of crawling, but it's easy, and if you keep at it, keep plugging along, eventually you'll get where you're going. 

I'm reading this book right now called Art & Fear and one of the anecdotes the author tells hit me particularly hard. I'll let you read it. 

"The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the 'quantity' group: fifty pounds of pots rated an 'A', forty pounds a 'B', and so on. Those being graded on 'quality', however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an 'A'. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of the highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the 'quantity' group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the 'quality' group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay."

In my pursuit of building a book, right off the bat I got fixated on making that perfect pot in the form of flawless ads. It couldn't have been a better time to read this passage. The point is not to aim for perfection. We are human, and the best way to learn anything is to roll up our sleeves, get dirty, and make mistakes. A fresh, green, newbie such as myself will benefit far more from producing the good, the bad, and the ugly than from attempting to hit it out of the park every time. It's in the process that the experience is gained, that the lessons are learned. 

Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. It's all about keeping things moving forward, taking the steps instead of standing still. Producing without fear and enjoying the journey. Because even if it's slow, before long you'll look around and realize you're right where you meant to be, with 50 pounds of pots in tow.