Issue #269 / January 2024

Can you talk about being at a crossroads in your career / personal life / or just in general. Specifically how you decide the path to take. Do you make a change, dive right in and just hope for the best ? Feeling a bit lost (recovering from cancer diagnosis) full of worry about resuming work / life, thinking that life can never be the same but wishing in many ways it was.


You’ve been on tour of the US, you’ve made a record, what are doing now? Nothing, I hope!


Dear Mary and Emilia,

When I stop to examine the major crossroads of my own life, it seems that the impelling force behind the direction of travel has almost always been intuitive, even accidental, without any serious consideration given as to whether it was the right decision or not. But accompanying those vague, arbitrary decisions was an intense commitment and application to bring them into being. A simple, often barely felt intuition swept along by dogged determination to get the job done. And all around these impulsive life decisions dance little corrective serendipities that nudge me, this way and that, along the course of my life.

I once felt the path of existence was entirely random and unplanned, but now I am not so sure. At this stage in my life I feel these contingent decisions are amounting to something, that destiny is at work and, as the pieces fall mysteriously into place, that there is some sort of ultimate meaning. Life appears not random at all but part of a superior system, where the sum of these intuitions have an order, a greater purpose, an eventual orientation beyond what we ourselves can perceive. Even in the whorl of our own personal tragedies, when the cosmos appears at its most chaotic and impartial, I have come to see the world, in its complexity, rearranging itself toward meaning.

Emilia, at the moment I am glazing ceramic figurines in my studio on the banks of the River Ouse in Lewes. That I am even creating a series of ceramics seems as enigmatic and arbitrary to me as anything I have ever done. During lockdown I woke one morning with a desire to make something in clay, a bright red devil to be precise, it was an entirely random impulse. Now, three years on, I have two assistants, Liv and Dom, helping me with the monumental task of glazing the figurines in preparation for an exhibition in Brussels. Susie met Liv and Dom through a series of serendipitous events last year and introduced them to me. Liv and Dom are identical twins and their last name is Cave. How this has all come to be is a deep mystery. My ceramics grew out of a small, vague desire that I was compelled to pursue, and now here I am, an actual ceramicist.

Mary, Im sorry you’ve been going through a tough time. I dont know what decisions you are facing, but my thoughts are that you should be intuitive and playful in your choices and determined in your application. We are always full of worry until we begin the task,  but I have found, in the end, things tend to find their way. Trust your intuitions, they are the whispers of God, the righteous and ushering force, moving us ever onward.

Love, Nick


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