I've never been very good at making things. Creatively, I mean. I can make dinner. I can make a mess. I can even make fun. But I never make anything artistically. The two ways I've always expressed myself are either through writing or drawing. I know things are technically made in those processes, but it's not quite the same thing.
Books are all cerebral. Images are all visual.
Being a huge collector of action figures, I've always fancied myself a woodcarver at some point, sitting on the porch in a rocking chair and widdling away tiny wooden figures. They would be mostly of elephants. I love elephants. I have since I was a toddler. All kinds of elephants. Very little ones. Apple picking elephants. Any kind. Possibly I could carve some Smurfs and throw into the mix. However, despite promising myself every year that I'll take up the art, I have to confess to a deep rooted fear of losing a finger. No wooden elephant is worth that. A wooden Jokey Smurf? Maybe.
My wife has recently begun making and designing clothes. (Example to the side and more here if you're interested). It amazes me the way she's able to have a vision of something and then actually bring that into existence. It's like bringing an object out of the stream of imagination and putting it forth into the world.
A great story is sort of the same thing, only we as authors never actually make those worlds we create into concrete fact. We only open a window and allow the reader to gaze at it for a while. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say there's not an art to that. Believe me, I've devoted my life to it. But, at some point, I think it would be nice to produce an object.
In that spirit, I set off to spend today rebuilding the staircase to my deck. I have the materials. I have the tools. I also have a tremendous amount of skepticism. I know I can write about a pristine staircase, or a crumbling one. My worry is that I will only be able to bring the latter into existence. We'll see. If all goes well, wooden Smurfs can't be too far off.