As a very young child I used to believe, took it as read, that fathers – all fathers – made all the furniture in their family’s home. Informed, no doubt, by Enid Blyton or The Beano or the likes of Eric Sykes. (I believe it was a teacher who clubbed the belief out of me.)
Beside our wide wooden bed – maker, mother, father unknown – is a lovely book with ringing, resonating spirit. Peter Korn, furniture maker, woodworker and writer, in Why We Make Things and Why It Matters (Vintage, 2013), writes:
– about why we create:
… we engage in the creative process to become more of whom we’d like to be and, just as important, to discover more of whom we might become. We may make things because we enjoy the process, but our underlying intent, inevitably, is self-transformation. (Chapter 9, Second Epiphany)
– and about happiness versus fulfillment:
Happiness and fulfillment feel like two distinct states of mind to me, and of the two, I find happiness greatly overrated by those who present it as life’s ultimate goal… when I am creatively engaged I have a sense of purpose and fulfillment that makes happiness seem like a bauble. Ask me if I’m happy when I’m making something in the workshop and I have to stop and think about it. It’s not an important variable in the equation. (Chapter 11, A Miracle at the Heart of the Ordinary)
The ink loads the tiny brush and the hand on the end of my arm moves the brush across the little card. In the daylight of an afternoon the furniture’d drawn thoughts of things in Dad’s new room come, are conjured, or simply happen. Which is not to say are automated, or unowned; but rather just necessary, natural, or helpful. I probably had it nailed at necessary. The drawing brings uncertain things together; and I need this to be so because they are uncertain things about my self. The need to push again into the idea of what I might one day, as a creative being, and as a son, become.
Together and apart. I’ve missed, somehow, the new Season’s start of the History Channel’s Mountain Men. Watching, catching up, is coloured by knowing of the sad, sudden death of Preston Roberts, at frankly no age at all. His always somehow clever and sensitive separatedness, and yet togetherness, with the headline scrapes of Eustace, has long been a thing I’ve loved about the show. However it is assembled, however it is aimed. And it’s unsurprising that I read now about a life, his life, given to learning and to art and to the land; singing, dancing, raising homes. To fulfillment, I imagine, over simple, certain happiness.