Work of the body

I love books, and I can’t imagine how I’d have ever gotten into woodworking, let alone kept developing skills, without libraries and magazines and television and the internet. But I can’t help thinking we’re hamstrung by relying so heavily on all these visual and intellectual means of instruction for what is, after all, work of the body.

“Some thoughts on learning together”

After googling something garden-related, I discovered the blog of David Walbert. There’s thoughtful writing here on a variety of topics — cooking, woodworking, history, and more. But this bit in particular has really resonated with me, as I’ve never been very good with my hands and making things on my own, and am learning each day while out in my vegetable garden.

My hands

I’ve been dealing with boxes a lot lately, as we’ve been moving several carloads of stuff into our little house. When I’m done with a box, I cut it up with an X-ACTO knife and toss it in the recycling bin. I love these knifes — they’re easy to use, and I like that I can use my hands to break them down.

I just slashed up a number of boxes, outside under the sun. It was the first time I was outside today — I’ve been in front of a screen all day, which is normal. Is it strange that cutting boxes with an X-ACTO knife brings me pleasure? Some kind of release from the routine I’ve built for myself? So sedentary, my days.

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Letter to a reader

A reader who has followed my blog for a few years sent a kind email and asked me a few questions about writing. I’m always surprised when people say they are inspired by what I write. It helps me and nudges me to keep going.

A snippet of her email:

But I also want to begin working on my fiction — short stories first. I have not completed a formal literary training. I would really love to know more about your creative writing side, and I hope you can offer me sage words on how to start. Do I have to spend n hours daily, writing xxx words? Do I need a strategy of sorts? Or do I just let the flow take me to wherever?

This is what I responded:

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