Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Latest Creation

Here's a chair I built for a client. They wanted sort of an art piece that was also, well, a chair. The designer sketched out an idea, Bob drew up some real plans and I built it, out of red cedar, then painted it. The metal grill was built by a local fellow and installed by me using the amazing technology of screws.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Damn It, You've Got To Be Kind

Inspired by a recent post on my High School pal Russ' blog, I'm posting the sort of philosophical worldview I'm trying to implement for myself. It's so easy to get reeled in by the exploding violence around the world and tumultuous economic news that I, for one, can easily find myself living in a cloud of negative thoughts.

So I'm trying to follow some ideas from Kurt Vonnegut's wonderful novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. In it, Vonnegut notes that there is no instruction manual to accompany our arrival here on this planet, but if there were one, this is what he thinks it should say:

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

So I've been using that to help combat the oppressive negativity and feeling of doom that easily permeates my consciousness. First off, I'm trying hard to be kind. Always and to everyone. And it's not as easy as it sounds. Meanwhile, of course, the Bible could be seen as an instruction manual of sorts, and based on stuff we've been talking about in Sunday school, I'm trying to make sure I see every single person as a child of God and, even more, the very image of God. The only thing I can change is me, the only place I can interact is right here in front of me in my everyday actions here in my town. So I try not to focus on the tanking economy and the evil hatred that explodes internationally. I'm trying to just focus on being kind to everyone and seeing everyone as a child of God. I want to be a light to the world, to live my life as a thank you note to God, and the only way to do it is to see the beauty in everything around me, everything and everyone. Of course, it's darned near impossible and I see myself as mean-spirited and harshly judgmental. But I'm trying, damn it, I'm trying...