Mostly I wish I never had to sleep.

I’m about to fire up my 3rd kiln load of tiles. The first batch were 3" squares. The second load was also the 3" squares mostly except for a few slabs of shapes. This 3rd load is all slabs-o-shapes. The slabs-o-shapes are about 3- 4.5 inch slabs that I score into shapes. Rectangles, squares, and triangles. I find that when fired and glazed I can use my special stained glass pliers to break these slabs on the scored lines into mosaic tiles one by one. My plan is to make buckets of organized tiles, buckets of red triangles, green rectangles, green triangles, yellow squares…. you get the idea. I am just going to keep making these colored shapes and then it should be easy to put them together into patterns and mosaic.

I ask that you read at least 3 paragraphs in to fully grasp my mania. The 3" squares with little patterns and multiple colors? I think those could be bathroom tiles. I could line them up in the bathrooms….There is the problem that my last calculations showed I’d need over 20 kiln loads of squares to do one bathroom and I have done basically 2 kiln loads and have moved on to mosaic exterior tiles…. How will I even accomplish the 40 something kiln loads to JUST tile the bathrooms? I don’t know. I don’t think about those details. I don’t think about how long it takes to design and paint multiple coats and colors on each little tile and then multiply the kiln loads by the months and think about the 5+ years it could take to just tile 2 bathrooms like I want. I make sure that I doubt my math skills to have the correct data and then I focus on making tiles every day and not the thought of the years and years and years ahead of me just to accomplish the bathrooms. And if the bathrooms would truly take that long then making mosaic tiles for the entire building is obviously more than I could do in the years of life I have left… I don’t think about that. At all. Never. Ever. I think about how I want to fill my first bucket with tiles. Orange squares or green triangles. I want to start filling some buckets and get into the details later. Maybe I can figure out how to employ others to help one day.

My days lately are flat out pieces of art in themselves. My day starts at 4 or 5am when I wake up and lie in bed thinking about it all. I will myself back to sleep if possible for a bit but am usually wide awake by 6:15. I swim 30 minutes. I get the kids off to school. I paint a mural. I eat. I work on tile and collage and a table top. I respond to emails, I order stuff online. I work on a tabletop for the new LSE. I write. I go score or make tiles. I move tiles to the kiln. I prepare a piece of wood for a painting or collage. I paint. I collage. I prepare wood for a table top. I epoxy a table. I eat. I hang with the family. I work on table top. I write. I make an audio journal. I clean my desk. I go to the studio and make slabs or move tiles. I go to bed awful late, like between midnight and 1am. I lie in bed for an hour thinking, trying to blank my mind but thinking. I wake up at 4. I start all over. (Now you are halfway through reading this, you might as well finish.)

Somewhere in there I failed to mention I check in at work or I work at my restaurant. I bus tables and run food. I make pizzas. I email managers and/or employees. I work on the plans for the new building. I make phone calls. I organize events. I draw T-shirts and bumper stickers. I think about the menus a lot. I redesign menus. I talk about maintenance, food orders, catering, or bookkeeping. I manage the details and think about problems and potential solutions. I make jokes. I listen to podcasts.

I like it like this. I fill my days like puzzle pieces in a 5000 piece puzzle. I work on the blue part, or the edges for a while. I come back later and work on the brown bits. I fit pieces in all day so from start to finish I am efficient, productive, and enjoying myself. That’s the thing…. I like what I do a lot. I wish I never had to sleep. I like getting in the bed a lot and I love sleeping. I often dream wonderful dreams of flying and tricks of flight, and challenges and overcoming fears. I often have wonderful fun exciting dreams and occasionally I have the troubled confused stressed out dreams. The restaurant is running badly. We have moved to a new location. There is confusion, incompetence. I worry.

And there are the fitful nights. I wake up sweating and anxious. I can’t seem to sleep but I wake up a hundred times. Am I asleep at all? How do I keep waking up if I am not sleeping? Why is my mind so engaged?

But mostly I welcome the pillow. The crickets sounds and cool night air coming in the window. Mostly I love the quick nap and the recharge. But then again, mostly I wish I never had to sleep. Think how many years I could shave off my bathroom tile project if I never had to sleep? I like sleeping but often my heart beats fast in bed, thinking of all the things I want to do. Wishing and waiting to get up and get more tiles made, more paintings done, more pizzas made and more people served and satisfied. I enjoy so much about my days but they are all so short and packed full. I would love to employ a crew of artists. I would love to create something as amazing as the City Museum in St. Louis.

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