I missed last week so I am attempting to play catch up this week.
23rd February - Insomnia.
I am a sporadic insomniac. Most of the time I sleep quite well, but when something is bothering me than it can, and often does, effect my sleep pattern. I find I have the personality type that has a night time brain; by this I mean that once awake, say for a bathroom trip, then if I am worried about something, my brain will suddenly ping into awake mode right in the middle of the night, quite often with no warning. I am a born worrier but during the day I can bury things or distract myself but at night even the smallest worry becomes magnified and sleep becomes a distant friend. M is good, he always tells me to wake him - but it's like waking an Oak tree in the dead of winter, he does try, but sleeping is his natural state!
I have strategies for these periods when I become sleepless. Sometimes I let my brain do its thang and wear itself out, but this can take hours. Sometimes I use meditation techniques and try and rebuild in the finest detail a favourite beach in Cyprus and sometimes I just wipe it out by building mental castles in the sky. These work about 60/40. On the the nights they don't I toss and turn, complain and give up and read a book knowing that tomorrow will see me wrecked and bad tempered (shhhh everyone who said "normal then ?").
I don't know how proper insomniacs manage - a couple of nights with bad sleep ruins about 10 days for me. I hope that I never get beyond the sporadic attacks that I get now.
2nd March - Fire
M is an amateur pyromaniac (something he had in common with my Dad), a love of burning stuff - bonfires, chiminea fire, bbq's - you name it and M loves it. If he had his way we'd have bonfires every night. I think then, it is a very good thing that he discovered Raku.
Raku is an ancient Japanese way of decorating biscuit fired pottery it involves (my technical knowledge is a little sketchy - I am not a potter) glazing the pot, heating it with a gas burner fired into a Raku kiln, lifting it out, glowing hot, very carefully with big, big tongs and then stuffing it into a reduction chamber - filled with all manner of combustible material - and shutting it in there to see what effects you get. If this works then this should link you to one of my favourite pieces of M's Raku - I love the rainbow flashes within the copper matt wash. If not this link goes to his blog and there are Raku, Naku and smoked fired pieces scattered about in there - all of the above use fire.
I've not tried Raku, me and pottery don't get on, but if you ever get the chance to see Raku taking place - grab it. The glowing hot fired pottery and then the burst of flame as it enters the reduction chamber is enough to stir the amateur pyromaniac in us all.