I had an amazing opportunity this week to help out my youngest son's art teacher with her pottery unit.
Should I have been home finishing my novel? Probably.
Am I a little behind schedule as a result of volunteering for four to six hours a day? Absolutely.
Was it worth it? Without a doubt!
After spending my first four hour shift with about 80ish high schoolers, helping them with various hand building techniques, the teacher gave me about 25 pounds of clay - a beautiful, glorious block of gray clay. She told me to make whatever I wanted and she'd make sure it got fired.
I brought it home and immediately sat down and tried to write. I've got this scene that's been giving me a bit of trouble and I've come at it from every angle I could think of. But as I tried to again sort of that scene, the block of clay kept staring at me from the dining room table...taunting me. Trying to lure me over there with the promise of it's cool, perfect smoothness.
I put up a valiant fight - at least two hours - but it finally won. I gave up on figuring out that scene, closed my laptop and got out my clay tools. It had been so long since I was able to play with clay, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to make anything worth keeping. I ended up making 14 holiday gifts - ornaments, wine glasses, a bowl, candle holders etc.
But an interesting thing happened while I played. My hands were busy sculpting and shaping and my mind was free to wander. It definitely wandered.While I was turning the clay over and over in my hands my plot was tumbling in my head. After maybe an hour, I knew what the problem was. It seems so obvious now, but I'm not sure I would have come up with it had I stayed at my computer banging my head against the keyboard. I needed some other creative outlet to help shake loose the solutions to a completely unrelated problem.
I'm going back to art class again tomorrow - we've got four class periods at 90 minutes each. It's gonna be a long day. But it'll be worth it. In addition to the creativity sneak attack, I'm also spending time with a ton of high school freshman, sophomores and juniors. Talk about great research! And honestly, great kids - I'm thoroughly enjoying hanging with them. And as a bonus, I get to spend lunch hour with the teachers for even more research opportunities. What more could this writer ask for?
Here are a few things I've started on. They're all pretty rough and all need quite a lot of work yet, but I'm excited to see them all glazed and finished. By the way, I was working on the glasses when the story solution hit me. :)