When I first saw the movie Ghost in 1990, I had been married for three years to a man who can fashion a piece of clay on a wheel into whatever he sets out to create. Bowls, mugs, vases, and my favorite: teapots. The process mind-boggled me. How he could take a lump of earth and slab it onto a wheel, add some water, and within minutes have something that will have a meaningful existence. I asked him once or twice to show me how he does it, but my feudal attempts only produced lop-sided, wobbling disasters that I redeemed in the name of abstract sculpture. Porcelain pinch-pots became my forte, but they cowered on the drying shelf next to his masterpieces.
Success at the wheel has something to do with consistency and balanced pressure--something that I have zero ability to do. Nothing about my personality is consistent, and the most balance I've ever experienced was on a gymnastics beam. Symetricality, which I'm sure is not a real word, does not exist in my topsy-turvy world.
So obviously, when I saw Patrick Swayze behind Demi Moore, guiding her clay-covered hands, I felt a surge of renewed hope. Perhaps I could learn this way, I thought while sitting next to my personal potter. We may have been holding hands in the theater, I can't remember, but for whatever reason, I let the idea run away. Maybe it's due to intimidation (he is a cop, after all), or maybe it's just my lack of patience; either way, I have remained the observer, or at best, the glazer.
Patrick Swayze has moved on today. He danced a good dance and stayed married to the same woman for 34 years. I was never a huge fan of Swayze's films, but he could dance, and a fine-dancing man deserves admiration.
I'm thinking it's a good time to buy a fresh bag of porcelain and gets some hands-on instruction. Here's to you, Patrick...