Stream of Work, 2014

Dear viewers and good clients,   April 13, 2014.

This year has been an unusual, tumultuous mixture of many different challenges, to do's, new people, and rewards!  It has also been emotionally trying, with inspirations to new beginnings.  The general wave has been of plenty of work through the winter, some unexpected bonuses, a manageable pace of furniture orders, and a financial build-up which has allowed my mother and I to make a long-awaited trip to Seattle - this June!  For Yoshino, it has been over twenty years since going back.  We look forward to visiting with my sister Elsa, brother Andy, some friends; and burying my father's remains.  This effort is perhaps long overdue, but the older we get the more we are wont to pace ourselves; and this adjustment too has been one of my emotional trials.  

There has not been a week without furniture work for me in about a decade - except when I've chosen to leave it.  I want to thank those who have assisted me, prayed for me, and who have thought to purchase my work!  And I want to thank my medium too, wood, for always being there, challenging me, inspiring me, and giving this opportunity to work, learn of the medium, and to make a living.  

My emotional and psychological ebb and flow over the winter has to do with too often living and working alone, thinking alone, and having too few avenues for open, forthright communication.  It came to me that everything humans do, from sports, learning, working, relationships, consuming and eating, hobbies, etc., is a search for certain inner or outer communication.  It is an attempt to interact and grow, to deepen ourselves.  However, a lack of this "communication" can be unhealthy.  My struggle is with needing the depth of concentration and focus to do my work and other interests, while also finding ways to share and interact with others.  This latter has not been easy for me.  Part of it stems from my stoic, independent personality, and part of it from having so many interests that are unpopular in this area, and this age!, it seems.  

Another up-side of this year however has been meeting many new people; but in my constant criticism, there is a positive and a negative to this as well.  Many new people have spoken to me kindly, and have come to visit my workshop!  The excitement of meeting new people, for me, has been balanced-out by the general lack of anything accomplished together.  Having been in Japan for nearly 20 yrs. it's hard to say if this is because the folks here are inhibited by foreigners and take a long time to do anything new, or if it's the same everywhere today.  I hunger for greater interactions in work, play, arts, and outdoor recreation; but I've been famished for so long that asking for more than hunger now feels like selfishness.  I don't know whether to scream, or continue this silent gratitude for 'just having a roof.'  It's difficult for me not to wonder if we aren't capable of more...   And yet, the people are there; and good things do happen; and food and drinks are had; and kindnesses are shared; and the phone rings on occasion; and work is constant...

This is a summary of my transition into 2014; and it is sprinkled with many moments in the great outdoors, with camping, canoeing and forest walks.

It seems the current woodworking orders I have now can just be finished before departing for Seattle.  There is harmony and discord to sustain us; and hopefully not losing the balance, they will push me forward into the rest of a memorable new year!  



Comments: 1
  • #1

    Charlie (Tuesday, 13 May 2014 21:19)

    Hey Russell,
    Looks like you're embracing the pluses and minuses, light and shadow, yin and yang of life on Joetsu (and life in general!)
    It's been a pleasure and an honor to have taken part in some of the good conversations, food and drink with you at the first third of the year.
    NOW! What shall we create?!