I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, July 5, 2010

Writing and Ceramics

Photo by jzlomek/StockXchange.com

The Ponderers are having a contest! Information at the end of this post!

As a writer and a potter, I've always been fascinated with how the two crafts parallel each other. Both involve the creative process and both require me to practice. Though, in the beginning, it would've been kind to say what I produced was any good.

My first pot started out in my mind as this slender and elegant vase that would hold long-stem roses. It ended up being a doggie bowl for a toy Chihuahua.

It didn't matter. I had actually centered a lump of clay and transformed it into . . .well, not exactly a piece of art, but something. Clay now coursed through my blood, and I began the long process of learning how to get better.

When I first started writing, I didn't know anything about the process, but I had this story in my head that wouldn't go away. I pounded it out on an ancient, blue portable typewriter, the words spilling from my fingers onto white paper. Not perfect words, but words that captured the pictures playing in my head. I was hooked, my life forever changed. Writing became something I had to do.

Many drafts later, that first story sold to Woman's World as a mini-mystery. I floated for days. When I came back to earth, I realized if I wanted to repeat the success, I had much to learn.

To make a vase I'm proud of requires an intimate knowledge of the clay. The clay and I become one. And I don't get that by letting the clay sit in a box in my pottery room.

Writing the stories that still play out in my head takes the same hard work. It takes practice for the words to flow. But when the words flow, there is no feeling like it.

Oh, now I routinely throw clay on a wheel and pull up those tall, elegant vases.

We're having a contest to kick-off our blog. Leave comments during the month of July and you'll have the chance to win a fun assortment of prizes, including:

  1. A Starbucks gift card
  2. A signed copy of Susan May Warren's latest book, Sons of Thunder
  3. A signed copy of Sara Evan's and Rachel Hauck's The Sweet By and By
  4. A signed copy of Jenness Walker's romantic suspense, Double Take
  5. A signed copy of Beth K. Vogt's book Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35
  6. A copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul's A Tribute to Moms
  7. Chocolates!
  8. Copies of Delores Topliff's children books: Whoosh and Little Big Chief and the Bear Hunt

We're still collecting items for our prize basket, so who knows all the goodies you'll win! Use the word "ponder" when you comment and we'll enter your name twice!


  1. So glad to have stumbled across this site. As I PONDER who will win the contest, I realize that we all win when we can glean new ideas and inspiration from others who share the love of writing. kiwolc@gmail.com

  2. Kristi, We're glad you found us too! Would love to know how you found The Ponderers' blog. And the prize basket grew over the weekend to include chocolates and two more books!

  3. Welcome, Kristi! I'm pondering the fact that we're probably going to want to change our group name by the end of this contest. lol.
    Pat, I love that your first creation was a doggie bowl. :-)

  4. LOVE y'all's tag line. Truly. The call to create - write, sculpt, paint, photograph, design, etc. - will NOT go away until we've put words on paper or our hands to work.

    I like this post, Pat. Wonderful illustration. There's another analogy that came to me as I read about your slender vase that become a toy dog's bowl. Sometimes when I create with words or pictures, I think I know where I am going - the focus or main thought seems clear - but I end up somewhere else, and more often than not, it is better than what I had first envisioned.

  5. Patricia,
    One of my favorite friends on the Internet! You found The Ponderers! Y'all should visit Patricia's blog at Pollywog Creek--beautiful photography! Thanks for sharing,Patricia!

  6. Pondering today, post July 4th, how lucky I am to live in America. Great blog post. I tried pottery in school, and sad to say I could not get the hang of that potter's wheel! You could have called my vase the Leaning Tower of Pisa lol.

  7. Seriously, Pat, talented in writing AND pottery? I think I'm a little jealous. I think the craft gene got deleted from my DNA.

    I love the comment you made about having to know your clay intimately--kinda like we have to know our characters. Great analogy!

    Remember folks, there's lots of great information about knowing your characters at Mybooktherapy.com

    I'm glad you're still pondering the blessings of living in America, Jenna! I always get a little teary-eyed when someone does something to honor our men and women in the armed forces.

  8. I think the most treasured 4th of July memories were the two years we lived overseas (Thank you, Uncle Sam!) Honoring my country was oh,so special. When we got back to the States, I got off the plane and kissed the ground!
    Welcome to The Ponderers, JennaVictoria!

  9. Great post, Pat!

    So, my eighth grade art class included a section on pottery. I made a pot shaped like Mickey Mouse's head. Proud of it? Yes. Gave it to my sis as a bday present. I still remember loving the smooth feel of the clay and thinking to myself, "I can turn this clump into anything I want." Sorta the same with writing, yeah?

    p.s. About a year after I gave the pot to my sis, Mickey's left ear fell off. Sad. :(

  10. Line up behind me if you want to see pics of Pat's pottery. I saw her jewelry in Florida and loved it!

    Wonderful post, Pat. Makes me think of the analogy of Jesus being the Potter and us being the clay. He molds us into His creations.

  11. Thank you so much for your kind comments. Lisa, I use the analogy you spoke of when I do presentations in church and out. God has been so good to me!

    Melissa, I laughed out loud at the sight of Mickey's ear falling off. And Terri, you're right--there's so much information at Mybooktherapy.com. I have learned so much from Susie.

  12. Beautiful post, Pat. Thank you! I fell in love w/ potting when I was too young to take lessons, but later learned my hands could not execute what my heart and mind visualized. I also learned that a psycho-ceramic is a crack-pot so ponder that a psycho-scriber may be a...?

  13. Beth, so glad you had a link to this blog on fb. :) I enjoyed reading the paralles between pottery and writing. The first tune that came to mind when I saw "The MBT Ponderers" was some old one, one line: "I am a ponderer,...." Oh wait, that's "wanderer."

    Though I have had little experience with clay (junior high art class) and am only beginning to ponder the art of writing, it brought a sense of anticipation and excitement. I look forward to reading more! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Pat, I very much enjoyed your post. You've given all of us so much to PONDER -- and that is one of my favoritest words. God bless!

    P.S. Word verification was idsinked. An interesting "word."

  15. A dog bowl! LOL! You've come a long way! Right now, I am pondering on Lady Silver and things are beginning to click.

  16. LOL, Delores! Maybe a psycho-writers is someone who hears VOICES! Anyone like that on this blog?

  17. I'm a fan of both Pat's jewelry and writing!

  18. Pat, awesome post!
    I second, or third, the notion to see pics of your stuff!
    I took pottery for my art in college, and let me tell you, I resonate with ears falling off! My final project was to make a teaset....that was frightening, something only a mother could love.
    It is so fun to hear from everyone, let's all learn together.

  19. Ponder? That's funny.
    Hmm..lemme see...
    As I ponder what I SHOULD be doing today, I'm actually visiting all my friends on blogger.
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Have a good one :D

  20. Hello, Kelly!
    Back for another round, I see!
    I am pondering just how much editing I'll get done today.

  21. Pat,
    I didn't make pottery, but I did do ceramics for a great number of years, and before children! LOL In fact, I just gave away the kiln I bought a long time ago. I think I fired that thing up several times a week, at least.
    Great post!

  22. Pat,
    As I read about your slender rose vase becoming a doggie bowl, it occurred to me that while one was the more obvious beauty in the eyes of the world, both were useful and beautiful in the eyes of their creator. I spent many of my younger years wanting to be a slender and elegant vase (pronounced vahzzzzzzzzzzz)and because I wasn't, I didn't think I had value. It was only when I realized in whose image I was created that I truly understood how beautiful and valuable I am to Him. Thank you for reminding me.

    Teri, I think I'm with you in the craft-gene deprived pool!!

    And Jeanne T, I laughed at your post because the tune I thought of was "I Wonder as I Wander" and I often catch myself singing "I Ponder as I Ponder," lol!