Friday, January 1, 2010

new year

Judging from the amount of noise last night and it’s duration, it seems that a great number of people are happy to see this transition from one year to the next, from one decade to the next.  I saw this last decade in starting a new one of my own, and I am poised to do it again with this one.

At the beginning of the ‘Aughts’, I started my 6th decade (years 50 - 59) on this planet and for the first time in a long time, my internal self-image underwent a revision.  The picture of me that I carry in my head aged altered to accommodate my actual years.  It was a time when I felt I knew who I was or perhaps, better said, I accepted who I was.  Now that probably does not convey all the threads that are attached to such a simple statement, but I don’t want to get bogged down here.

Now, ten years have passed.  I’d have to say it’s been a decade of change.  My awareness of being on the down side has increased, not only through the marvel of mathematics but also through the marvel that is my body.  My thyroid went wacky, my cholesterol went up and my bones thinned out.  I’ve also begun to think of the rest of my life in finite terms.  What I still have time for, what I still want to do, still can do.

But beyond the inevitable physical changes that come with not dying young, I also entered a new phase of accomplishment with the pate de verre technique that we had started working with and in.  Into every juried exhibition (with one exception) I entered, our work was accepted.  We attracted the attention of several very good galleries that started showing our work at the national and international major shows and while our work was not a quick seller, it was starting to get picked up by some collectors.  And we started to travel to teach as guest artists at different studios.

We also decided that we wanted to move out of the city during the last decade, spent several years searching off and on and finally, gripped by a ‘now or never’ fever, bought a place outside a small town about an hour from the city.  We have been in transition for a little over 2 years.

The nation also saw a lot of changes.  The twin towers fell, another shuttle was lost, we went to war (with our son caught up in it) and the population became dangerously, hatefully polarized.  And then the house of cards that our economy had become came crashing down.  All forward motion screeched to a halt.

This last year of the ‘Aughts’ has been a tough one for most everyone, uncertain at best.  We fared better than I would have guessed back in November of ‘o8.  When the stock market fell, with it fell our rising star as our gallery, struggling to carry on stopped taking the less sure sellers to the shows.  In retrospect, perhaps a blessing in disguise.

The drive to ‘make it’ as a gallery artist, to shift our income from the commission work to the gallery work was not making me happy, it was too hard on me to go to those shows and not have the work sell.  We were in debt from traveling to the shows, from the purchase of the glass, raw materials, kilns, time away from paying work; a debt which we expected the momentum of our rise to take care of.  So...

This past year, we are fortunate to have been busy with commission work and glad for it.  We are getting out of debt and are glad for it.  We are getting moved, home is moved and glad for it.  When I finally get back in the studio, it will be fun and I will be glad of it.  So, where was I?  A new year, a new decade.  Changes have been absorbed, new incarnations conceived, the past is getting tidied up.  

The overcast cleared up several hours before midnight and the full moon shone down full of promise.  The welcome was long and loud.  


  1. How can I top that with just a comment? Very, very well said.

  2. wow ellen. who knew? in my many visits to your blog i hadn't really pieced together what you have shared here and so it makes much more sense to me now. my own life seems to run in three, seven, and nine year cycles. so exclusive of decades. bu reflecting back - as i felt compelled to after reading this - well the decade from early forties to early fifties has been tumuluous and fun and crazy and sad and everything else. but here i am / we are!! i am deeply grateful for all that i am and all that i have. i wish you continued goodness and creativity through the next decade. steven

  3. You are on a roll and hopefully it will take on speed in the new year.

    I understand your thoughts about being on the downside. Before my diagnosis I never felt old [I am only 43] and I figured hey! life stretches before me. Now that I know my limitations - I too make a list [so to speak] of what I am going to be able to do/finish.

    Some days I am sad because the list is shortening and then I look around and realize how great I actually have it. If I make it one more year or ten more - it is a gift. I have a heck of a lot of laughter to still get out. ;)

    Beautiful post Ellen. Hope the New Year brings all the promise you hope. Hugs.

  4. Oh yeah.... that was a crazy moon last night! I do love me some full moon. And I love me some Ellen. And I'm so happy our paths crossed this year.

    Glad of it.

    And I'm so happy that your contract work has picked up... that you're satisfied again. That you're getting out of debt. About all the good things that have come your way and are going to be coming your way.

    Glad of it.

    So very glad of it all. Love you Ellen!

  5. You summed up your decade beautifully. We all need to take stock of our past decade, and choose our next steps.

    Well said.
    May your work continue to be appreciated and continue to support you both.

  6. WOW! That's one helluva post, Ellen. I love how you described the aging thing. I'm working on acceptance. Tough one to be sure. So I'm finding much solace in the concept of "the moment." But that's for another post. Thanks for such a insightful post, for your wisdom, and clarity. Happy New Decade!

  7. Heo Ellen
    I enjoyed your summary of the decade and while we are of similar age I can empathize with you on this stage of life. The recent move and prior gardening and prep work taught me that I am no longer as young as I was.
    I wish good things for you this year and decade and look after dem bones... Cal and a mg supplement and consider bio energetic hormones if necessary.
    Happy days Ellen

  8. Wonderful wrap up. Wow. What a decade it was. Now - onwards and upwards.

    And yes yes yes, less is more!

  9. The past decade seems to have gone faster than any other. Great post -honest and insightful.

  10. I think the key to enjoyed the downward slope is to accept & enjoy - which it sounds like you're doing quite well! I'm glad we 're on the journey with you.

  11. M wordless ellen..
    U are really very good.
    Happy new year to u...

  12. To come out the other end of change in your fifties with that kind of accomplishment is extraordinary, especially given the collapse of the past year. Congratulations to you, and I am guessing and hoping that with this momentum maybe the next decade will be even better.

    Super summary! It's not easy to whittle ten years down to this kind of succinct essay.

  13. I turned 50 in August 2005, and things have been going downhill ever since. No kidding. This year I have come to grips with seeing somebody else looking back at me from the mirror, (sort of), but I have high hopes for the upcoming year. Great post, I related.

  14. Hi there. I am so glad that you seem to be finishing the previous decade on a high note...i love your ability to be able to look back and find the positives.

  15. You sound brave and full (enough) of energy, well done! "the inevitable physical changes that come with not dying young" - LOL, you make me laugh. You know how they say: Everybody wants to live long, but nobody likes the result... Well, that goes for the old days!

    Happy new year an plenty of success in 2010!

  16. Wow, amazing post. It's surprising how, as the days go by, it is sometimes hard to see movement, but looking back over a year or a decade makes it undeniable.

    Ten years ago today i was married, hadn't written poetry in years, was living in another town, my dog who i dote on wasn't born yet, and i was truly another person. So much for settling into a rut!

  17. I'm happy things are looking better. I'm hoping you get lots of good paying work, so that your life can go exactly where you want it.

  18. Glad to have found you this past year. Happy 2010 to you. May you keep enjoying "glad for it" experiences.

  19. Yay for things looking up!
    May you have a blessed 2010!


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