You pick a day for making shelves for the end wall of the kitchen. You have bought the necessary timber and you have an enthusiastic youngster with you. There is plenty of sunlight pouring in from the window. It’s not long before you realize that this is the day that you will not manage to saw anything straight–you might only be a fraction of a millimetre off in some instances but the verticals are short so anything shows. The previous day was oddly enough the day that you were the planet’s most accurate precision sawer—so perhaps smugness has lodged itself somewhere awkward.
Once the youngster stops laughing at your performance they abandon a cut halfway realising their sawing may (unbelievably!) be potentially worse. You announce that you will keep going, get it done, either because you cannot be entirely sure that another day would necessarily bring the perfect performance you were aiming for, or you simply want those shelves built and your utensils out of boxes and off the floor. You relax into it, favouring amusement over annoyance, the other youngster joins in, and you end up with outrageous angles and even slight curves but you decide to leave them all in.
You promise yourself that you will—contrary to previously displayed type—manage to live happily with the result, choosing to find it charming. You will aim to love its handmade appearance—that you would instantly praise in someone else’s work—once a perfunctory smothering of white emulsion will have potentially blurred some embarrassing lines. You further conjure that gravity and measures dictated by common sense—a couple of wall brackets—will ensure the solidity of the piece.
You decide to accept that it would not be of use to measure up against some kind of “perfect” imagined version of yourself or your performance and that the universe may indeed support you in your live poetic attempts. Or more accurately that the universe will support you in supporting yourself.
We humans create our own reality as we filter everything through our consciousness, the stuff in our minds, often times the stuff someone else left there. Call yourself artist, writer or whatever you need to give yourself licence to make living a more determined act, your life a sculpture of what you encounter on your path.
“and that the universe may indeed support you in your live poetic attempts. Or more accurately that the universe will support you in supporting yourself.” …beautifully said. And it is very enjoyable to read about your adventures. The shelves look great!
and that the universe will indeed support you in supporting yourself… thank you !
Too funny!!! I love how you described the measuring/sawing process .. too true! And I see the “Petit Prince” on one of your shelves .. what language is that? (I adore the PP!)
This is the Irish version of Le Petit Prince, one of my favourite books too. I actually collect all the translations I come across and I didn’t even know it existed in Irish until last month.
Thank you and that is amazing! I have an English and French version… and prefer the French version for the subtle beauty of the descriptions. Bet the Irish version is the same with the added beauty of the words? Have you viewed “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” with narration by Neil Diamond? I can never watch more than about 5 minutes at a time because it is all so very beautiful and profound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgkk0Hdwmo8&list=PLC0843492D7F3C746
Funnily enough Saint Exupéry wrote Le Petit Prince initially in English while living in the US and subsequently wrote the French version which I probably also prefer as I grew up with it. To this day whenever I read the fox’s description of friendship my eyes fill with tears. Thank you for the link, did not know that Neil Diamond had recorded this, not sure this is up my alley, but I’ll give it a try and at the very least receive your gentle reminder to read Jonathan Livingston Seagull again.
Interesting, I did not know that! Yes, the fox’s words (in French) are very touching, as is le Petit Prince “Je suis responsable pour ma rose” . Also, I watched that youtube clip after I sent the link and it is missing a big chunk of the story and Neil’s voice isn’t quite the same. Better on a dvd if you happen to see one. 🙂