To Potter About

I can’t think of a way to describe the last lost ten days that isn’t a cliché. Suffice it to say (see?) that I am trying to figure out how to squeeze the plans for ten days into a few hours. And taking comfort in the fact that clichés are – if anything – proof of a normal experience. Common even.

I learned this morning that in the UK the infinitive form related to the verb puttering is to potter. I have no idea why I find that interesting. Instructive almost. I mean, if I am going to amble and mosey about, there is hope that it will result in something useful, if not aesthetic*. A pot of some sort.

(Isn’t “aesthetically pleasing” redundant?)

I love the word pot. A soft plosive, an open vowel, and another plosive that is simultaneously more and less forthright. Teh. It’s a round and hollow thing. Pronouncing the word conjures physical sense memories – of both the object and of its making. The clay.

I have no idea why I didn’t become either a linguist or a potter. When I was in between being a child and a woman I spent my lunch breaks throwing pots on a kick wheel. There was something intensely comforting in the physical experience.

I haven’t seen a kick wheel since, and I have no interest in using an electric one.

Tomorrow the shops open again after the Easter break. Shop is a cozier word than store. The small business situated on the old main street in Sandnes and sells pottery and clay is not a store. It’s a shop. Sh: a voiceless postalveolar fricative. An “ah”. And a gentle plosive. You slide in – are swept into – an open space and the door closes softly behind you. Ideally, the next word should begin with a soft K sound like the resonance of a tiny bell.

Sometimes I wonder if my understanding of language is a kind of synesthesia; a spacial perspective on onomatopoeia. Or perhaps it’s just my pataphysical praxis?

Tomorrow I’ll walk to the shop on the main street in Sandnes and buy a bag of clay. Just to potter around a bit.

Right now, I need to get to work.

3 Replies to “To Potter About”

  1. I use “pottering about” to describe wandering around in my house doing nothing in particular. I love the word and its connotation. It reminds me of lazy Sunday afternoons when I still had time not to worry about lots hours and days. It’s the ultimate word to describe active relaxation. It is a reward in itself to spend a day pottering. Let’s all potter about a bit <3

  2. I love to potter about and to putter around…the house, the garden, the town. It’s a comfortable word, potter.
    Also my daughter has become quite an excellent potter–in the ceramic form of the term. So I love thinking of words that bring her to mind. As I love holding a bowl or mug she’s made, as a way of somehow evoking nearness (though she is far far away).
    Enjoy potting about, puttering, to potter, all the forms of the word. Shaping as well as being.