In college, I had a professor who had his lecture notes bound in leather. Two things were unfortunate about this: first, the paper was plain yellow legal pad paper – not a very durable choice. But more importantly, he had decided that his lectures were immutable, perfect, and never needed changing. Just get up, regurgitate the fifth lecture, a cough here, tell the same tired joke there. I remember nothing about his class outside of this.

This staisis looks desireable. It’s not the sort of sloppy, rickety mess that most of us have.  the projects are not piled high. The gnarled bit of wood you brought home a year ago sits on the bench waiting for attention.

To have lived that static way, you have to forgo the mess and disorganization, but also the euphoria a genuinely creative life offers. You only go sailing in light air – barely any breeze. You never sail ripping along as closehauled to the wind as possible. You never allow the boat to heel over with spume splashing in. No change, no excitement, no pain, but no gain.

Go ahead, have a dozen projects going at once. Let the desk get a bit sloppy while playing with ideas. Do as I do and let the woodchips make a mess for a while.

Lots of people have said this, and it’s true – “A smooth sea, never a skillful sailor made.”

5 Replies to “Messes”

  1. Oh the fun of lessons. I agree you have to make a mess while you create and then worry about cleaning after. WHo knows those chips can become part of the art too.

  2. Lou,
    I’ve known several people like this: no curiosity, just patterns long ago laid. But as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Your writing style is very elegant and precise. Enjoyed this.

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