NaBloWriMo: Creation [ties]

I didn't write yesterday, mostly because I was on the phone all day with the cable company.  They are terrible.  

I had wanted to write about Music.  That will have to be another day's post, though, and will probably take several days to cover.  Today, I'm going to tackle my interest in building and creating.

When I was five, my grandmother gave me an electronic fire engine.  It had a wired remote with buttons on it to raise and lower the ladder, sound the siren (there were several varieties), move backward, forward, and each axle was independent.  It must have cost a fortune!  Within two weeks, I had taken it apart, disassembled the remote, and re-routed it to my model rocket launching system so that you could launch at least 15 rockets at once, if you so chose.

My parents were furious.

By the age of ten, I had boxes of broken toys and old computers under my desk, mostly useless, ready to be repurposed into whatever projects I could think of.  By thirteen, I had built my first computer and knew the purpose of each component and how they interact on a relatively basic level.  I still have parts from that original machine in the latest iteration, which is now sitting in my closet, waiting for the financial freedom I will need to upgrade it to a serviceable level.

I have always been fascinated with how things work.  The interactions of electricity, a "substance" we cannot see, within visible components that are constructed with specific behaviors in mind just interests me to no end.  I am entirely enamored with the idea of building things from scratch rather than buying them, and I do so at every possible occasion.  There is just something so powerful about working with your hands, using the tools available to YOU to build something that YOU can use.  It is freeing and enlightening and it keeps me sharp.  I learned more from a year of tinkering with guitar amplifiers in college than I did in most of the courses I took that year.  The culmination of that year was this:

That's a Fender Vibroverb.  I converted a newer "Custom Vibrolux Reverb," repaired the cabinet, and recovered the amp.  It sounded amazing, and it fetched me about a $400 profit.  Not bad for my first project.  I played it at one show and was totally hooked.  I have not stopped playing with musical toys since.

Today, I built my friend Cait a Fuzz Face pedal.  That's a distortion effect for those of you non-guitar nerds.  I can still smell the solder in the air, and while I am happy with the job I did, I am already aching to build something else.  Luckily, I am building a guitar for a friend in exchange for a bike, so I am busier than perhaps I should be.

I am not emotional about my building and my creating.  I am all business, all the time.  I am connected viscerally to my work and the job at hand.  It's the most zen-like I ever get, I think.  There is the work, and there is you, but you are one with the work.  You speak to the work, and it speaks to you, but there is no speaking.  At this point it is easy to see how it all fits together, and suddenly you're in it, entirely in it, dualistically aware of how each intricate move will affect the finished product.  You strive for perfection, but rarely find it.  That's the game.  And it's a fun one.


Post a Comment

A blog about social change, written from Brooklyn, New York. Currently looking for contributors.