Call me “Spooky”

I won’t get into what woke me up and then kept me up late last night, suffice it to say that I had a few hours of waiting before I could get back to sleep. Too tired to do much of anything productive I popped a disc into the DVD player.

Little known secret: Of the very few vices I give in to these days I have taken to watching and rewatching television series and movies on DVD. This summer has been my summer of the X-Files, and these past few months have been my time to immerse myself in something I’m not sure I fully appreciated when it first came out.

So anyway, I’m already on season 6, and last night saw disc 5 get ticked off the list. I suppose I have come to identify with Mulder a bit as I’ve been rewatching the series. At least in terms of the blog. You know, the obsessive hunt for the hidden truth. A truth that sounds flaky and ridiculous when measured against consensus, the status quo, and scientific clarity. Pursued with an uncanny knack for pissing off people in authority and their apologists. Confusing almost everyone else, often including myself. And sometimes it does seem like I’m chasing after ‘little green men’….

One of the episodes I watched last night was “The Unnatural“. The bit that inspired me to write this post came around minute 31:

Arthur Dales- “You certainly have a knack for turning chicken salad into chicken spit…. You’re just dyin’ to connect the dots, aren’t you son? Look, I’ll give you some wood. I ask you for a cabinet. You build me a cathedral. I don’t want a cathedral. I like where I live. I just want a place where I can put my TV. Understand my drift?”

Mulder- “Drift it is, sir.”

Dales- “Trust the tale, agent McGuyver, not the teller. That which fascinates us is by definition true. Speaking metaphorically, of course.”

Mulder- “Okay, so is Ex a man who is metaphorically an alien, or an alien who is metaphorically a man, or something in between who is literally an alien human hybrid?”

Long stare by Dales, who then passes Mulder a bottle of booze.

Mulder- “Its official. I am a horse’s ass.”

They both drink up.


So, it struck me that many of my blog posts have that ring of the fanatic about them. I do seem to be building cathedrals when all folks are looking for is to get on with their lives. And it seems that more often than not I too am a horse’s ass….

But then I also thought about being a potter. And here I go again connecting dots and building strange unwanted cathedrals… but in a sense, handmade pots are like cathedrals. They are lovingly and obsessively crafted things that have no real place in the daily lives of most people. Getting other people to see the value and beauty of humble handmade functional objects seems like such a stretch when they could as easily get their dinnerware from Walmart. In a sense, believing in the value of handmade pottery is about as unconventional as believing in little green men…

So, maybe we potters are a bit like Mulder. And maybe it is a worthy ambition to push people’s understanding beyond the consensus that defines normalcy. Maybe, when we get right down to it, our audience are a bit like the UFO hunters and alien abductees. They DO see the world differently than most other people. And maybe, then, its also right to take as our mantras that “The truth is out there” and “I want to believe“…..

That’s my story, at least….. Any other stories out there from off the beaten path?

About Carter Gillies

I am an active potter and sometime pottery instructor who is fascinated by the philosophical side of making pots, teaching these skills, and issues of the artistic life in general. I seem to have a lot to say on this blog, but I don't insist that I'm right. I'm always trying to figure stuff out, and part of that involves admitting that I am almost always wrong in important ways. If you are up for it, please help me out by steering my thoughts in new and interesting directions. I always appreciate the challenge of learning what other people think.
This entry was posted in Art, Arts advocacy, Arts education, Beauty, Ceramics, Clay, Creativity, metacognition, Pottery, Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Call me “Spooky”

  1. Steve Kast says:

    You are my first and most valued read!

  2. Scott Cooper says:

    I forget what “Im Anfang war die Tat” means, but if you’re ever looking for a new colophon, I vote for, “You’re just dyin’ to connect the dots, aren’t you son?” Because, I mean, hey — dots.

    Or maybe, “Building Strange Unwanted Cathedrals”. So good! If that’s not stolen for the name of the next Shins album, you should definitely use it.

  3. Pingback: The Ministry of Pots | CARTER GILLIES POTTERY

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