summer postcards: sometimes, on a friday night, when you are very young, you learn a thing that lasts forever, only at the time you have no idea that’s what’s happening

moonshellA million years ago when I first left home and moved to Toronto I met a woman, a potter. She had her own studio. I wasn’t yet twenty and she might have been twenty-four, twenty-six, something ancient…. I remember she was ancient.

A group of us were having dinner somewhere and at some point that seemed still early to me, the potter announced she had work in the morning so she would be heading out. But we were having such fun, and it was Friday, why would she want to leave? And what did she mean: work in the morning?  Tomorrow was Saturday and she worked for herself, no one was telling her what to do. I said as much, hoping it would convince her to stay but she explained (in the way of ancient people) that that was just the point, that if she didn’t impose discipline on herself there was no one out there who would. And then she’d get nothing done.

She wasn’t defensive or condescending about it and she didn’t say it from any kind of *aren’t-I-clever* place. It was simply the way it was.

I never saw this person again and have no memory of what she looked like, but I’ve never forgotten what she said and it wasn’t until decades later when I began working from home that her words, still rattling around my head, suddenly rang crystal clear.

“When I think about what sort of person I would most like to have on a retainer, I think it would be a boss. A boss who could tell me what to do, because that makes everything easy when you’re working.” — Andy Warhol


5 thoughts on “summer postcards: sometimes, on a friday night, when you are very young, you learn a thing that lasts forever, only at the time you have no idea that’s what’s happening

    1. Well said. It’s bizarre how things stay with us over years, decades, a sliver of memory that seems insignificant. But never is. Beacons are not nothing.

  1. what a lovely way to share this moment that has lived with you for so many years. No wonder it settled in with you. I know this feeling about moments like these that happen in our lives and later become (as if they weren’t already) a touchstone.

  2. This resonates for me because of a potter I met one who lived in the first floor apartment tabove my friend Kate in Kensington Market when we were in university. One night Kate was having a party and we’d have too much to drink and sat on the porch singing, no doubt DELIGHTFULLY, and the neighbour asked us to be quiet because he had to work in the morning, and for years, I was SO ANNOYED BY this. Obviously, he DID NOT have to work in the morning because HE WAS A POTTER, for pete’s sake, and then I grew up and considered how I would feel about having two drunk twenty-year-old’s singing on my porch, and I am firmly on his side, whether he was really going to be getting up or not.

    1. haha, “Obviously he DID NOT have to work in the morning….” You understand completely. What a great story, and another potter! I love that the moment also stayed with you for years. Potters must have that effect on people.

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