How do you know when you are finished? So often people ask me this question. I think it might be because my work is so bold and vibrant. They are basically curious as to what the top is as in going over the top.
It reminds me of a more pure and direct question that was asked of me once in a Korean restauarant in Victoria. I was marking provincial exams and alone. After the hours of reading truly puzzling and frustrating prose, I needed something to wake me up and clear my mind.
I headed to a Korean restaurant and ordered hot and sour soup. “How hot do you like?” the waiter asked. I said ,”Give it to me. I like hot.” He went into the kitchen. A puzzled cook came out to check if this was true. Did I, a middle class white woman eating alone want the hot, hot soup. He seemed concerned and obviously didn’t want to take any responsibility for whatever my reaction might be. I felt as if I should sign a voucher so there would be a legal record.
When I lovingly sipped the soup, I looked up to see two waiters, the cook and the owner of the restaurant all staring at me. “Do you like it?” the owner asked me.
“Oh yes,” I replied, “it is wonderful.”
They spoke together and one waiter leaned forward slightly. “How did you get like that?” he asked.
And that, I think is what most people mean when they ask how I know when a piece is done. How did I get so intense and brave? What is over the top or a stopping point for someone who works in a magically technical world?
“I know when it is done”, I tell them, “because I feel it in my body.” How strange that it is never the response they expect.