Words, Wood, and Ways of Workmanship

I blame Easter for yesterday’s lack of views.  Apparently, people would rather have candy and ham with family than read depressing diatribes on the interwebs.

I can’t say that I blame anyone.  I may have forgotten that last was a holiday weekend, but I didn’t do much myself.  I think it was friday that I worked in the studio so long that I began to lose my grip on my work, lost, in a literal sense, not the hipster’s bullshit use of the word to mean figurative “but, like, totally important, cause you know, I like mean it super authentically,” culminating in my losing a natural wood pot in the making to a rather hungry chop saw.  I’d had my concerns with holding so small a piece so close to so large a spinning metal blade, but gave cutting the bottom edge off a try anyway.  It was my caution that lost me the piece, rather than my finger.  Better the one than the other, my three finger search and peck style of typing would be severely handicapped should one of those fingers go walkabout.

Near dismemberment aside, I’ve been having a lot of fun in my shop.  I’ve been experimenting with different forms, starting with boxes, moving to hollowed branches, and on after to free form, small-scale sculptures.  I’m getting to a point where I must decide how invested I wish to become in wood working.  I’m still in the experimenting stage, I haven’t yet cracked any new books or begun learning the reason behind more elaborate construction techniques.  How much time do I wish to spend on something that was meant only to augment my plant business?  Do I want to make sculpting, specifically in wood, a major part of Agricultural Alchemy?

I’ve always gotten more emotional elevation out of making than I do out of writing, even if I more enjoy, and am better at the latter.  Making gets one something.  Provided he hasn’t ruined the piece (say, by having it ripped out of his hand by a ten inch cut-off saw) there’s an immediately visible result come of making.  Writing, especially in this mostly digital age, feels a bit like the description of the bridge moorings in the Celestial Railroad, books of philosophy thrown into the mud on which the pylons are built.  Writing and writing, for hours, sometimes on and off for decades, to end up with less than a megabyte of information, something that, if not printed, could disappear during a power surge or a careless folder clean-up, feels sometimes Sisyphean.

I have two unfinished novels, one noir, one science fiction, both concerned more with the protagonists of each than the tropes of their respective genres.  I have a loose affiliation of scenes spanning multiple word files, gathered into a single folder which constitutes a fantasy novel on which I’ve been working for fourteen years.  I have a dozen other nearly complete short stories, a half hundred more fleshy ideas, several full hundreds fragments which might stand on their own or accrete into somethings else.  I’ve written a lot, but when collected all together they seem so thin, so insubstantial.  Even the slim shelf of journals in which I’ve been published seems anemic and small.

I suppose there are several obvious solutions.  Write more, give up entirely, submit more, but I think the best option is one in which I am least interested.  Well, second to least.  I still can’t abide self-publishing.  I’ve heard quite a few good books have come out of it but the bitter taste of twilight and twilight the grey shaded refuse to be rinsed from my mouth.  What I should do is actually research the journals to which I submit.  I’m exceedingly grateful to the groups I follow which furnish me with a never ending supply of submission opportunities, but I think it’s time I took responsibility for discovering my own.

Before all that, though, I’ve got to wrap up a few of those thousand or so unfinished pieces.  I suppose it’s time to get back to work.