Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Dale from Peavine Pottery called me this morning, sounding very terse indeed, and told me he couldn't make the pot from Dad's ashes. He said he's a big believer in dreams, and he had a dream telling him not to do it, although he couldn't tell me -- because the dream hadn't told him -- why not.

I'm a big believer in dreams too, so the call freaked me out more than a little. It's hard not to take this personally: Dale was fine when I first spoke to him on the phone about the commission, and he's clearly made such pieces before -- he could describe the effect of cremains on glaze and clay, for instance -- but he became increasingly tense during our visit yesterday. So I think something about me turned him off.

I cried after the phone call, and I've been fighting shame ever since, especially since last week, a friend told me how "weird" it is for me to be investing in all these cremain keepsakes. "But if it makes you feel better, that's what's important." Well, yes. (Which is more shameful: finding creative homes for loved ones, or shaming others about their choices in doing so?)

Okay, so I'm weird. Guilty as charged. We've been knowing that, right? But really, the project isn't all that bizarre. There are companies that specialize in this, like Phoenix Memorial Art. Isn't making something beautiful and useful from cremains more sensible than just keeping them in an urn that can't then be used for anything else? I wanted to give the business to local artists, and now I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach. I hope John at Planet X doesn't back out, too.

Sometime today I'll go by Peavine Pottery to pick up the cremains I left there yesterday. Truth to tell, I'm kind of dreading the errand.

I also have a therapy appointment today. I can't wait to hear what my therapist makes of this!

If I had more free time, I'd take a pottery class and make something myself, but that doesn't seem feasible right now. On the other hand, cremains keep, so maybe I can do it sometime in the future. Whatever I made wouldn't be a tenth as nice as Dale's work, though; I mean, he's spent years at this. He's an artist.


In other news, the deck demolition is coming along nicely.


  1. susan, i understand how you might feel ashamed and weird when dale called to back out.

    i'm going to suggest an alternate perception: maybe there's no subtext to his dream. maybe the massage was for HIM, that HE shouldn't do this particular job.

    it's an important job and maybe he was going to screw it up. i mean, he's done similar work before and it might not be about you at all.

    maybe it's about your dad. maybe your dad doesn't like dale. if the other artist wants to back out, maybe your dad doesn't like the idea.

    dreams are funny that way.

    anyway, don't assume it's you, or your plan, and for SURE don't waste your time feeling ashamed about it.

    i know, i know, we still feel shame (those of us who have this particular personality component), but try a few alternate ideas and give yourself a break.

    i'll pray.

  2. Thanks, flask. That's helpful!

  3. Agree that it is about Dale and not about you. Suggest you find another potter. There are a lot of them. Another artist may feel honored to be entrusted with such an important task.

    Is there someone else who can pick up the cremains from Dale? Spare yourself if you can.

    Dale may be a great guy or he may be an energy-sucker; it's hard to know. Suggest respectfully that you not expend any more of your energy in dealing with him.

  4. It is possible that the universe has another, more magnificent idea for you that it wants you to investigate. Leave yourself open to ideas and don't beat yourself up over someone elses inability to see your dream. This is not a mountain, just a small pebble in your shoe. Shake it out and walk on.

  5. So glad you're weird.

    And I wonder what happened to that guy - weird.

  6. Anonymous6:27 PM

    Totally agree with Flask. It could be a million things.

    Hang in there!


  7. Anonymous7:33 PM

    I don't think you're weird. When we had a cat known and loved in every neighborhood we'd lived in (8 of 'em) cremated, we went around and left some of his ashes and a rose in each area -- 8 deposits of ash and flowers around Reno. And that was for a CAT. You do what you you feel is right with/for your dad. And it will BE right. :)

  8. I don't think that there is anything weird about cremain keepsakes. Their portability makes them wonderful memorials that can be frequently "visited" when the need to talk with loved ones arises.

    I have a third of my mom's ashes. While I am not making any cremains with them, Jody and I are leaving traces of my mom in places that we visit that either have emotional significance or are places my mom had never been in life.

  9. Anonymous1:39 PM

    Coming to this conversation a little late after a vacation away and a pile of work awaiting me on my return -

    As someone who once actually won free admission to a pottery class in a fund-raising raffle, I can report that it is not necessarily as hard as you might think it is to learn to make a small pot if you ever decide that you want to give it a try. Large pots are hard, thin-walled pots are hard, impeccably-patterned pots are hard - but lovable little pots of unpredictable size, shape, and color are pretty easy. I gave three away as Christmas gifts at the end of the semester, and my friends loved them.

    The more important thing, of course, as so many of your friends have already told you, is this: Your grief is your grief, and there is simply no point in feeling guilty or ashamed about the particular forms it takes for you. I have every faith that you will eventually work through it best in your own time and in your own way.

    And, on a more mundane note, I'm glad to hear that the deck is coming along.



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