My track record with productivity tools is...not great. I mean, nothing disastrous happens but usually I find them to be more effort than they are worth. I still swear by my paper monthly planner - I hate electronic calendars. The little day squares are so tiny! I keep track of everything on my planner - Exercise. When orders, checks, and bills are due. Appointments and social events, obvs. Even my daily weigh-in!
In that light I should be reluctant to gush about yet another e-tool for self-improvement. Except, that doesn't really capture SuperBetter. It's more about reaching goals, even if the goal is "beating depression*" or "forgiving yourself for not being perfect." More tangible goals work, too. Mine is to grow my pottery business.
Here's what I love about SuperBetter: it's set up like a game. You have bad guys to battle, quests to win, power ups to help you with all that. It's fun, and it's specific: when you can't think of what the next step might be, SuperBetter has an idea for you.
This week my SuperBetter quests are about getting shit done in the studio and about self-care, so important for everyone, and crucial to me to avoid my old nemesis, depression*, as we turn into the dark half of the year. So far it's fun! You can set your quests, power-ups, and bad guys to battle yourself, or the game has some built-ins of each. Today I battled The Sticky Chair, for example, and was able to get moving and get things done. My power-ups include 2 Minutes of Yoga, and Cuddle a Cat. Give it a try! If you want me to be your ally within the game, invite me at email@example.com.
Speaking of cats, we've had one hanging around all day for a few months now. We dubbed him Skinny Cat because, well, he's skinny. At first we weren't too worried about Skinny Cat, because he wasn't interested in food we offered him, and his fur smelled nice - like a perfumed hand had been petting him. Just this last week or two, though, he seemed to be here all the time: I'd come in from glazing around 9:30, and Skinny Cat was still in the yard. My husband got up and 5:30 in the morning, and Skinny Cat was still there. He'd started to try and snake past our feet to get into the house, and to beg for food. (Yes, we fed him...) Last week was a very rainy one, and Skinny Cat came into the studio soaking wet on Wednesday. Thursday evening he still hadn't gone home, despite torrential rain all day. We started to think he must be living in our shed - but he was wet & it was getting colder, so Thursday night we brought him in the house.
We had to keep him apart from the other cats, who have hated him through the windows for months. Finn, my laid-back tuxedo, is particularly offended by Skinny Cat. Adopting him was never an option, but we talked about bringing him to the shelter. I know how awful it feels when a cat is missing, though, and I wanted to give him another chance to go home, if he had one. Friday was dry and relatively warm, so I put Skinny back outside - with a collar on. My thinking was, if he comes back without the collar - or doesn't come back - I will know that he has people. He stuck around all day Friday, but when we made no move to let him in Friday night, he wandered off.
This morning, for the first time since August, Skinny Cat is not here. His people must have seen the collar, & decided to keep him in. SO glad I gave him a chance to go home! I hope finding the collar on their cat was not too upsetting to his people; I just couldn't think of any other way to find out if he was somebody's cat. Seems like Skinny Cat had his happy ending all along, though, so, that can be my Daily Gratitude.
I frequently get calls and emails asking if I give lessons. I don't - not at my studio, anyway. I do teach both wheel-throwing and handbuilding at Portland Pottery, which is nearly 60 miles away but until recently the only option, other than colleges & universities, for those wanting to take pottery lessons in southern and central Maine.
That's all changing! A couple of years ago some enterprising folk opened Chase's Garage in York, a smaller studio with a gas-fired stoneware kiln. Last year my friend Malley Weber re-opened and expanded her teaching studio, Hallowell Clay Works, moving it to Water Street in Hallowell. I wrote a bit about HCW last year when it opened.
Over the last several months two more teaching studios have opened near me: Neighborhood Clay in Damariscotta, and Community Clay in Rockport. I just wanted to say, welcome to the neighborhood! It's always good to bring joy, creativity, and learning to more people.
Lori Keenan Watts (aka me) is a potter, gardener, and avid reader from Augusta, Maine. Though I started my university education in surface design for fabric, clay quickly grabbed me by the heart and redirected my creative impulses. I have been a potter for over 25 years -- hard to believe. The most valuable years of my ceramic education were spent in graduate study at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, under the tutalage of Dan Anderson and Paul Dresang.
My aesthetic is guided by my love of the material itself. What fascinates me and makes a pot compelling for me is the clay-ness of clay: the squooshiness that becomes the adamantine solidity. I also like patterns, unexpected proportions, and when the flame comes along and dissolves part of my careful decorating efforts! I am obstinate about this aesthetic, to a point which might be called pig-headed, but hey, if you don't like what you make, why bother?
My happy little family also includes my husband, musician and photographer (and author of the book Alewife) Doug Watts; five cats; and a turtle, all foundlings and rescues of one stripe or another.