Over at the blog The Red Embers, which I just discovered through Facebook and a friend posting this essay there, there’s a whole series of essays about working with steel, and poetry to go along with that steel. I’m rather awed.
The essay itself is rather worth reading, but here’s part of the the last paragraph, which really speaks to me:
So, to tie all this together. The act of making an object (big or small, blade or not) with your own hands is really an act of magic. You are taking your thoughts and giving them tangible, physical substance. You are literally bringing your imagination to life. And no, it’s not like your thoughts steam out of your ears in a cloud of vapor and manifest into a physical object. But the process of making that object is no less magical, and is in fact much more beautiful.
This is how I feel when I’m making things. I get deeply connected to taking the ideas, and making them manifest in the real world. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing a comment about a student, or assembling a paper merkhaba out of paper plates, or building the Platonic solids, or painting a painting, or inking the kavad. To make something is to make magic. There’s a reason that the Latin verb ferre,”to do” or “to make” is irregular: it’s an irregular process that doesn’t fit into easily-defined roles or rules. What we make and do is irregular, and weird in the old sense of the world: a strangeness born of human hands, and spiritual connection, and ancestors, and the material body of the world, and fire.
Thank you, Myles Mulkey.
I’m thinking that in the New Year, I’m going to have to tie a knot in a string for every thing that I make. Just to see what happens.
Update: I hadn’t realized how this happened, or when, but apparently this is post #3002 on this blog. Which means that I’m now over the 3,000 posts to this blog mark. Lots of milestones this year. Definitely time for a knotted string.