“Leave room for the unexpected.”
CURRENT INTERESTS: Writer
CAREER: Author; ceramics artist; family therapist
Sue’s gentle nature shines out brightly from dark, intense eyes. Her hands, slim and graceful, have written three memorable books and formed countless objects of clay, each with its own quirky charm.
Writing my book Plain and Simple: A Woman’s Journey to the Amish came about because I walked into a shop and saw some patchwork quilts. My heart started pounding. I asked the owner, “Who made those?” and he said, “The Amish.” And then a voice said, “Go and live with the Amish.” That’s how my journey began. It wasn’t easy for me to trust that voice that didn’t seem to make sense. It still doesn’t, but that is my ongoing challenge: Doubt if you must, but persist. It’s the persisting that matters.
When I write, I scribble on hundreds of little scraps of paper. Then I sit on the floor or at a table, and I just move the patches around. Sometimes I can see a pattern or a theme. I love the idea of a life of patches. Patches are very human. And we need to be respectful of our patches and to accept not having an answer. It’s important to get out of the way and allow some things to come in.
When I made ceramics, I just shaped the pieces with my hands. I tried using a wheel, but it was so uninteresting. I didn’t want the pieces to be perfect. I’d rather that things are lumpy and bumpy. I’m a poster child for the imperfect!
Doing creative work is always a dance between faith and doubt. If I could give people a message, it’s this: Be kind to yourself. It takes courage to know who you are and what you want.