My life has involved designing and building things for nearly as long as I remember. Perhaps the word “captured” more closely describes this experience of needing to create.
I believe the first thing that I built was an airplane that I made from lath that I found, as my father was remodeling our home. The first really memorable thing that I built was a table and a chair. I was about eight years old. Many of the most significant things that have happened in my life have involved designing and building things.
As life goes on I am becoming more aware of this “something” that seems to be alive and woven into who I am. This need to create is more that an occupation, it is a part of who I am and not something from which one can retire. As Joyce Carol Oates says, “something not us inhabits us” and I add, “yet it is us,” and like an interior burning bush that is never consumed by the fire, it can be consuming. After years of struggling with feeble efforts of fire suppression, I am now beginning to surrender and let it be. With this need to create, there is always a feeling of more ahead. This feeling of unsettledness is something that I am beginning to be more accepting of even though it is of itself unsettling.
So to “design and build things” …to please the eye …to gladden the heart … to enliven the soul is what I hope to do; to enliven the soul, to stir the soul in such a way as to awaken feelings within us that somehow have survived the encrusting experience of mortality. These awakening feelings cause us to wonder from whence they came. These feelings with their touch of familiarity give us a hint of our true identity. This peace, this serenity, felt deep inside surpasses our understanding and certainly our ability to explain and stands in sharp contrast to the restlessness of the world.
Confessions of a want-to-be alchemist.
Two of my favorite quotes:
“To be nobody but yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” EE Cummings
“Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow