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  • whitney smith

New Realities

Updated: Apr 6

I hope you are well, able to care for yourself and your people, and finding time to connect to others. If you are in any way on the frontlines, out in the world interacting with people and helping the world run, thank you. We can't get through this without you. This experience is reminding me of another I had 30 years ago that I want to share with you. When I was 19, I lived on my own in Santa Cruz, a place I had chosen to live because it met two very important criteria I had at the time: There was a beach, and Santa Cruz just sounded like a cool place to live (it was). I had no idea what I was doing with my life yet. I wasn't even sure how I was going to get myself into college and if that was something I even wanted to do. It was an exciting, yet unsettling time for me. I was in recovery from a very angsty adolescence and feeling very much alone. I was working at my flower shop job downtown when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit. That was the most terrifying moment of my life, and I thought I was about to die. I watched a brick building across the street from the flower shop collapse in a heap, burying some people inside. Thankfully, no one died in that building. I didn't die either, but the aftershocks that went on for weeks and months afterward kept bringing up that feeling of about-to-die-ness. Call it trauma, call it PTSD, to this day when I get an unexpected shake from the earth, whether it be an earthquake or a big truck rolling by, my body sends me a jolt that makes me ready to run. It was a traumatic experience for me, and I would not have missed it for the world. That experience grounded me into adulthood: understanding what was really important, realizing how connected we all are and how people pull together when we need to. It was exhilarating, feeling connected to my community and working together to dig out of a natural disaster. It helped me grow up. What's happening to all of us now is different, and much more serious, and way more dangerous. But. I'm feeling all the same feelings I had back then. Not the "RUN!" feeling, but the inspired feeling I get when I see people pulling together, reaching out, and helping others. My community is rallying to help the sick, the elderly, small businesses, and their neighbors. Yes, the toilet paper thing is crazy and not a great example of humanity at its best, but I also think these expressions of fear are normal and hopefully help people feel more safe and in control. We are all having moments of fear and worry and uncertainty, which is not a great mix in humans. It really doesn't feel good. But we know what's most important, and that's the health and safety of you and me and all those we care about. Everyone is going to suffer the fallout, and no one will suffer that alone. We will all help each other, as much as we can. Let me know how you are getting through this. I did end up going to college all those years ago, and have a degree in cultural anthropology. The anthropologist in me is very interested in hearing how your world is changing, and what you are thinking about. Please let me know.


Studio wise, I'm glad I have a studio all to myself and I can continue to make things. I haven't been very anxious to upload things to sell, because I've been putting a lot of attention on creating classes at my studio and working on that little side hustle, but I've had to cancel everything in that realm. Now I'm wondering if I can put together some online pottery classes for my students and the many children who are stuck at home all day, driving their parents crazy. My energy has not been the kind I need to sit on front of the computer for hours, editing and uploading images to my website. I'll get there, and in the meantime I created an album of my latest work which you can browse. If something interests you, let me know. I'm happy to wrap it up and send it out (after I sanitize it, of course!) As for the work that is already online, I went through and marked down a bunch of items. I just had a sale in January, so marking more stuff down again is not my usual mode, but I'm really feeling the need to clear out the studio to make space for whatever is next. If you can help out with that, I would be deeply grateful.

© 2019 whitney smith pottery

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