Sunday, October 28, 2012


   The Book of the Week for week 43 is titled Positions. It's a book about growing up... and is based on the 5 body positions of classical ballet. "Positions" was written by Rachel Steinsberger in 2005 as an assignment for a college creative writing major.
Tutus and ballet shoes on the clay tile covers..
   The book covers are small clay tiles, 3 by 3 inches wide. In applying the underglazes I've layered about 10 different colors in some places... That's how it is in life anyway... so many layers to make up the whole picture. The pages are thick handmade cotton paper which has been tinted pink. It relates to the dress code in my own daughter's ballet school: black leotard, pink tights, soft pink ballet shoes. Pink hand-moulded paper seemed the perfect choice.
Pink handmade paper and a story of growing up
   Positions is about the molding that happens as we grow.. that learning to be part of a group, to follow directions, and to work at something long after you are ready to quit. It's also about the joy we get when we are moving in sync with the music. It starts with a little girl, about 7 years old... Chapter 1 is titled First Position 1992.
First chapter, First Position 1992
In this chapter the little girl describes a sweet pink-faced college student teacher telling the little girls to suck in their "jelly bellies" and "jump over the river."
I was having fun.
     The second chapter is titled Summer Camp 1998. It is about the time in life when comparison is first evident. Second position is pretty painful. The chapter begins, "'Marcia's Medicine' they called it." It was not intended to make one healthier...
At ballet camp, the students (all exceptional) were separated by "talent" the first day.
   Third position, the third chapter, is blank except for the title A Place to Grow 1995-2000.

   The fourth chapter (fourth position) is titled, Snow and Steel. It's about a young adult making strides in accomplishments, about dedication to a goal and about determination. It's also about the push to independence that can be scary, cause harm, or failure... or a sort of success that will feed your confidence and set your life choices for the rest of your life.
...the most complicated and painful yet useful position.
 The book ends with the chapter on the fifth position, On to Level 5, 2004... This short chapter alludes to the transition, accomplishments and subsequent life into adulthood... The back cover is another little ballerina with her knobby knees, 'jelly belly', and pink tutu.
In first position...
   When we see the little book Positions, it's easy to view it as adorable and precious. Yet the story includes not just the joy of experiencing new things, but the discomfort, the disillusion, and the hard work of growing up. Like the little clay book, the story is kind of hard, yet the last chapter is left open to the bliss of dancing to the music of a full life.