This is Day 15 of a 21-day series. More scoop on the who/what/why, here.
Change happens a little bit at a time, then all at once.
Or at least, it seems to happen all at once. Ten-year “overnight” successes are inevitably outed as a series of dreary, plodding steps, missteps and backtracking, fueled by hope and intermittent peeks under the tents of greatness. And usually, there’s something horrible in there, nadir-wise, like living in a car you’re about to turn around and point towards your hometown while there’s still enough gas to get you there RIGHT BEFORE the big break comes. (Only if you look closer, it’s never even a big break, just the right level of readiness meeting the right brand of opportunity.)
Did things start working for me when I had my bloody epiphany? Or did they start when I first became truly disillusioned with my big, fat advertising job in New York City, some 17 years before? Or was it the next crushing blow, in Chicago, the trifecta of new horrible job, old boss who brought me there abandoning me within two months, Love of My Life dumping me inside of 11?
The answer is yes. And in between, there were a lot more “yes”-es. There was my first-shrink-slash-astrologer, who made me understand that I could be deeply broken and still work. There was volunteering. There was a new job, and agency, and a marriage, and a move, and an end of the marriage, and yoga, and a hating of yoga, and Nei Kung, which is (knock wood/so far) still pretty awesome and showing signs of staying power, and a new career, and another new career, and the same amount of new significant others.
Oh, yeah, and a blog.
Somewhere in there was a whole lot of sanding and polishing. I forget how I stumbled upon it, but I fell into and subsequently became kind of (surprise, surprise) obsessed with metalsmithing. It was the first non-writing practice I found that I liked, and I loved it: the fussing with details, the acquisition of new skills, the making of an actual thing. It was my own first meditative practice that actually worked: the ungodly amounts of polishing and sanding involved turned out to be highly enjoyable and therapeutic; if they didn’t prove to translate literally to Karate Kid-style wax-on/wax-off training, they definitely opened the door to…something. A series of other doors, perhaps, leading to where I am now. (And as soon as I figure out where that is, you’ll be the second to know.)
I dragged my findings and scrap and new-in-box equipment from Chicago to Los Angeles, always thinking I’d pick it all up again, maybe even become a real metalsmith! But I finally realized earlier this year that the only thing that all that stuff was doing these days was filling up an out-of-reach cupboard in my kitchen, and let all of it go for $100 to someone at a different part of the trajectory. A thousand-dollar, 18-year lesson. (What can I say? Some of us learn more slowly than others.)
Now we come to the finished jewelry itself. I am hanging onto a very, very few pieces left which I still wear and love; the rest, I’m letting go of in one lot. It weighs 2.2 ounces, according to the ‘tater, who dragged it to the Mayberry P.O. to get weighed. That includes whatever stones, all cabachons, none precious, that are set in the pieces, and the findings, which may be silver, but I can’t say. I can say that any of those pin-backs I shaped myself, because our teacher was kind of Miyagi-like in her insistence on form.
I will also say that I had a penchant for filing things to a rather sharp edge, and a couple of the pins could probably double as a throwing star.
Of course, if you like not-very-beautifully-designed sterling jewelry, you could have a big set instantly, for cheap. Or a lot of holiday “shopping” done in a heartbeat.
I’m really kind of hoping that some nice metalsmith who casts will buy the lot, though, and transform it. Circle of life, etc.
Is that you? Or someone you know? Email the ‘tater: miz.tater AT gmail DOT com.