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October 30, 2015

Que tabla, tabla

In one of my regular autumn rituals, I dropped in on one of  Michigan’s many excellent cider mills last weekend. While stuffing my face with donuts, I caught a kid, probably 5 or 6 years old, staring at me in the way children are wont to do when you are eating something they wish they were eating. I stared back, and I told him what I always say in that situation: “When you are a grown-up, you can eat as many donuts as you want.”

I hope you remember this, guys. Because yes, you get older, and you develop a wider sense of ambition in the world besides unlimited access to donuts. You also develop a sense of responsibility and long-term gratification, which might compromise the unadulterated joy of putting donuts in your face until you’re sick, and later fat. BUT I think if you really search, deep down, you might find there is still a little kid, somewhere inside you, that is stoked to have finally made it to the unlimited donuts level in life.

I have always been pretty close to that kid (arguably, this is why I don’t need to have kids of my own. I am my own kid. I still like Pixar movies and dollhouse stores and cider mills, and I don’t need a short little beard as an excuse to hang out at them). I remember my childhood acutely, and I remember my goals, and every time I get to eat as many donuts as I want, it represents a payoff for Past Me (and also an obligation on the part of Future Me to do some jogging, because consequences, dammit).

What does this have to do with art? Well. You know, what I have always wanted, ever since I started working in professional costume shops in college and beyond, is one of those giant, padded, canvas-covered work tables. The kind you can lay out a whole project on, and still have room for notes, for tools, for coffee. The kind you could make a snow angel on top of, if it were covered in snow. You can work at it standing, or sitting on stool, or you can climb right on top of it, if you need to, no matter how many donuts Past You has eaten.

And this week, I got it:

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Oh my, what a beauty. It was put together by master carpenter Jason Huyghe, about whom I have a couple more things to say in a future blog post, but for now will just say WOW, can this person put together pieces of wood in an impressively competent and beautiful way. I sent him a rambling list of specifications and wishes, and he said, “Makes sense,” and then made them into the object of my dreams.

Have I moved on to other dreams? Oh, sure. But I have fought hard to get this far–fought hard to be an artist, to find my place in the world, to build a permanent home there–a lot of stuff went into even being able to commit to a table like this (custom built inside my attic studio, so, short of being chainsawed into pieces, it is never leaving). If I never get farther than this, I have already lived my dreams. I am so lucky, and so privileged, and so, so grateful. I owe a lot of people, for helping me to get to this moment, and I also owe myself a little bit of time to celebrate–because if I only stay focused on the next goal down the road, I will never feel excitement and fulfillment in the moment.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to eat half a dozen donuts while sitting on top of my table, and then I’m going to make some art.

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