Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Jesus Gene

Here's a little secret about writers, most of the time we don't write.

In an 8 hour day, for which I charge handsomely, about 33 minutes is actually spent writing. The other 7 & 1/2 hours? That's for Scrabble, Facebook, and general goofing off on the Internet.

A bean counter might look at that and have a coronary, but anyone intimately familiar with the creative mindset knows those 7 &1/2 hours are crucial to the process. It's like slow cooked chili. You put all the ingredients in a crockpot, set it on a low simmer and walk away. By the time the sun sets, you've got a delicious stew of spicy, meaty goodness that you just can't get by opening up a can of Hormels.

The other day during one of those diversionary flights of fancy and while "working" on a new car launch, I stumbled across this new Google map photo of the house I grew up in. The house bears little resemblance to the one in my memory. The trees are larger, the landscaping has changed, and the house has nearly doubled in size. The photo is pretty high up, but I'm willing to bet the yard has less weeds as well.

I can't help but wonder if the built-in bookcase that my father constructed still hugs the stairway railing. Or if the Swedish Redwood Sauna he installed in the master bathroom is still cooking at 130 degrees.

My dad was pretty handy around a woodshop. He could handle a left-handed miter saw. He knew his way around a 3.5 HP reversible router. What's more impressive is that it was all self taught. Compliments of the Time Life Series on Finish Carpentry.

My buddies would often come over and ask, "What's Al building today? A boat."

He had the persistence and the know-how, given a little more time he would have pulled it off and I'd be writing this today from the deck of a 50 foot schooner.

I'm now at the stage of my life when my father, and my uncle (who is also no slouch), took up woodworking. And I'm feeling the itch to buy a belt sander. But I suspect my inner carpenter will emerge much slower.

I'm still trying to figure out how to assemble my daughter's new Ikea nightstand -- Der Nittenflorka.

1 comment:

Dewan said...

Best way to spend 7.5 hours of not writing: Walmart, the public library and the Greyhound station. "Real America" as politicians that live in secluded mansions like to say.