Often I find myself longing to be another sort of artist, so that my thinking would happen while drawing or moving clay about with my fingers. The other night I dreamed that I was helping excavate a trench that was had been dug into some clay ground. Buried in the side of the trench, I found the perfect book. But I don't remember what made this book perfect, just that suddenly there I was, holding this perfect book I had pulled out of this wall of clay while sitting in this hole in the ground. It's all very Jungian, right? (I'm sure we could make something Freudian out of the clay. But whatever.) Also, I read the James Joyce story "Clay" in ninth grade and didn't really get it, but then later I read that the clay was about mortality and that's why it was so cruel to play a trick on the aging woman involving clay. Or what? I need to read that again. Clay is what we are and what we'll return to. It's the muck and it's also what grounds us and proves we're both of the earth and humble. There's this passage from Their Eyes Were Watching God:
When God had made The Man, he made him out of stuff that sung all the time and glittered all over. Then after that some angels got jealous and chopped him into millions of pieces, but still he glittered and hummed. So they beat him down to nothing but sparks but each little spark had a shine and a song. So they covered each one over with mud. And the lonesomeness in the sparks make them hunt for one another, but the mud is deaf and dumb. Like all the other tumbling mud-balls, Janie had tried to show her shine.
Well, it isn't always easy to show one's shine. But that's all we have, right? There's something to the mud itself, though. The mud is also home.
This is what I was thinking when I was putting the baby down for a nap just now and trying to "sleep while the baby sleeps."