Saturday, February 9, 2008

want a garden by the ocean tide

So I was home visiting my family last week (for my grandpa's 80th birthday!), and I received this very lovely present from my sister Jen:

She threw this flowerpot and tray (or whatever the bit is called that goes under a flowerpot to catch the water) in her ceramics class, and I cannot wait to get some herbs planted into it. I think a big bunch of parsley would look great with the gorgeous glaze. She had also done me a huge favor and glazed a porcelain pot that I had thrown, according to the date carved in the bottom, in 2002:

I can't believe it's been 5 years since I've done any ceramics work. It was something I loved in high school, and I always thought I'd keep it up, but I haven't really touched a wheel since then. (2002, of course, was after I graduated, but if I recall, my ceramics teacher had let me come back the summer after freshman year and play around a bit, which is when I had made that bowl.) I think both knitting - and cooking, to some extent - have fulfilled some of that creative urge, but I do miss the alchemy of taking a lump of mud and turning it into something pretty and useful. Another item to add to my fantasy farm: a wheel and a kiln to share space with the apple orchard and the goats. (I do know how ridiculous this is. Watch I spend the rest of my life living in Manhattan, growing miniaturized fruit trees on the roof and hiding a chicken coop up there from the zoning department like a crazy person.) Anyway. I had really just wanted to share the pretty pictures.

In other news, Ben and I went to go see Chris Rock last night at the Palace Theatre downtown. He was, of course, absolutely hilarious, and I'm not sure if my abs are hurting today from yesterday's workout or from laughing so hard. He had a number of political-oriented segments, and a really interesting bit about white privilege, where he discussed the people who live in his upper-class neighborhood in New Jersey. The four black homeowners in this community are him, Mary J. Blige, Denzel Washington and Jay-Z. All extremely famous people who are superlatively good at what they do. And yet the white guy who lives next door is a dentist, "not a great dentist, not in the Dental Hall of Fame, but a yank-your-teeth-out dentist." The punchline of the segment was along the lines of: "And do you know what a black dentist would have to do to live in this neighborhood? He'd have to invent teeth!" And it's a very funny line, and it's really a great example of what makes Chris Rock's comedy so hilarious, which is that it's absolutely spot-on true. Not literally, obviously, but this segment of his show very clearly illustrates what it means to have white privilege and how the lack of privilege manifests itself in day-to-day life for people of color. (If you've taken a sociology class in the last ten years, I'm sure you've seen this, but more for my own future reference, a link to "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," which is the article that really made the idea of white privilege real and immediate for me - and, I think, the one that first defined it in the academic literature.) At any rate, it was a great show, and also something I'll be thinking about for a while.

(A parting quotation from Robert Heinlein on humor: "Of course it wasn't funny; it was tragic. That's why I had to laugh. I looked at a cageful of monkeys and suddenly I saw all the mean and cruel and utterly unexplainable things I've seen and heard and read about in the time I've been with my own people - and suddenly it hurt so much I found myself laughing.... I grok when apes learn to laugh, they'll be people.")

(I sometimes wonder what Heinlein was like in real life. It must have been rough on your psyche to hang out with him all day long, but it just might have been worth it.)

title from "Nolita Fairytale," Vanessa Carlton


Sarah Rettger said...

Article duly added to my ever-growing list of things to read. And can I just say how stupid the word "grok" looks? And sounds? Sorry, one of my pet peeves

Sarah Rettger said...

I just saw the article is by Peggy Macintosh - I almost took a class with her, but it was shifted to a new professor in the department. (Which led to me not being able to count it towards my major, but that's another story.)

Lola said...

How nice that you and both of your sisters have all enjoyed ceramics! I never seemed to get the coordination necessary for the wheel, but as you know, I do love ceramics and glazes. By the way, I think the bathroom rug looks really nice too. And I'm willing to visit you in jail when the health department and the zoning board whisk you away for your contraband.....