As a broadcast journalist for nearly 40 years (yes, I started when I was 6 months old), eight of those years as a police reporter whose daily diet was heavily dosed with crime and mayhem, I have learned to roll with the punches.
My skin is pretty darned thick. But COVID-19 turned out to be my most formidable foe.
For the first 365 days of the pandemic, I reported stories on nothing but the pandemic. It’s hard to believe we are rounding the corner for year two and moving into year three. There has not been a single solitary day that I didn’t say the word Covid—even during my off-time, in which I most often still worked. Some of the deaths I’ve covered have been people I personally knew. It has been daunting, stressful, depressing and isolating.
I needed an outlet. I needed something therapeutic to keep my hands and brain busy to steal me away from the pressure cooker. And so, I dove into the fire to cool things off. In December of 2020 (much to the horror of my husband who is a fire chief) I purchased a kiln and decided to learn ceramics.
What I found out is—I loooove clay. I’m not great at it, but it doesn’t matter. I love it.
It turns out that for me, clay has incredible healing properties. I get lost in the process. I come up with an idea and spend a weekend figuring out how to pull it off. I love that my friends are excited to get gifts of my ugly ceramics and I just love playing, experimenting, creating and yes—even failing can be fun when you’re hands are wrapped around a simple lump of clay.
Ceramics have become my personal Creative Covid Stress Relief Program.
A year into my therapeutic clay-play, I decided to take on a mammoth project. I decided to create a ceramic fireplace surround for our cottage. My husband’s only request was that I tell a story of “us” with the tiles. I have been documenting the process. This is my journey.
This four-part series shares the personal and private story of me, my new friend, clay, and my individual journey to find healing at a time when so many things hurt when you’re a journalist.
Hopefully you’ll be inspired to find your own creative therapy. I’d love to hear your stories, too.
(Paula’s ceramics series is for WDIV Insiders, click here to check it out)