Creative Fire Journal, Day #4

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january2016 057

If I weren’t afraid of failing, I might…

If I weren’t afraid of failing, I might tackle a lot more home repairs. There are several waiting, if I ever feel brave enough.

Outside, I am unafraid. I have dug up and transplanted shrubs and vines and bushes like someone else might rearrange furniture. Eventually, they end up in a spot where they both look good and thrive…then I let them be. Until I decide to thin out, rearrange or redesign again. I built a low stone wall to border a wild area of the yard, and a stone walkway to my backdoor, though I don’t know a thing about the proper way to do either. The walkway in particular has several issues with holding water, growing weeds between the stones and tripping up visitors on its uneven surface. No matter. I’ve dug out every stone at least twice, in an effort to get it right; I can always try again. In my little vegetable garden, I built raised beds, tried out Ruth Stout’s “no weed, no work” gardening ideas, employed Patricia Lanza’s “lasagna garden” plan, used methods outlined in Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening…and many others. I have removed dozens of gigantic wild junipers from my property with a pair of long handled loppers and a “tromp and lop” technique I invented myself. I may not be using the right or the best method, but it doesn’t seem to matter much outside. I can figure it out, make it work, or try something else.

At the hardware store, I am always willing to tackle large organizing projects.After more than ten years of working there, I have a pretty good idea of what sells, and what things are used for. The company provides “planograms,” in many cases, as a guide for arranging an area. They can be very helpful, but don’t always work with our space or our inventory. I have gotten in hot water more than once, for veering off in a direction of my own. If I don’t know the product or it’s function, I devise my own method of arrangement. When I organized the spark plugs and later the oil filters, I laid them out in numerical order based on their product number. That way at least, it’s easy to find the one you’re looking for. In housewares, I organized by function: cooking, baking, table-setting, clean-up, and on and on. When I organized the fishing lures, I did it by size and color. When all else fails, make everything look pretty!

In my studio, I am fearless. I almost never know why I’m doing what I’m doing or where I’m going with it. I have always ignored hierarchical methods and hard and fast rules in favor of letting the materials dictate. Ooze, drip, squish and rub are my main techniques, though I have a few others, too. It doesn’t matter if  I’m working with clay, paint or charcoal, I want to give it full reign. I have a lot of failures, but I also have a lot of fun. I learn from everything I do, and gain insight into the materials as I go. When success happens, I know it’s something that has never been done before, in exactly the way I did it.

When it comes to jobs around the house, I am timid. I can’t shake the idea that there is one right way to do a thing, and that I am not privy to that knowledge. I feel clumsy and inept at most home projects. Those that I’ve tried, I have usually messed up. I can rearrange things without end, but I panic at the thought of hanging a door, cutting a mitered corner or putting up woodwork. Replace a window? No way! Put down flooring? Yikes!

If I could conquer my fear when it comes to home repairs, there is plenty to do!

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One response »

  1. I tend to be the same way when it comes to feelings of competency inside vs. outside. And I think the first clue to “why” came in your first sentence. Afraid of falling, maybe. If you fall outside, there’s a better chance of someone finding you and coming to help than if you’re inside. That silly thought just crossed my mind as I was going through the scenarios. But seriously, I often wonder why that’s the case.

    I love hardware stores! Reminds me of when I worked in a plumbing/industrial supply warehouse. I always wondered exactly where everything was supposed to fit in the inner workings of a building or factory. And the parts had risque names sometimes.

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