SNAP! The handle broke off in my hand.
I’ve been working on this automata in my spare time for weeks. It’s a bit intricate, and has a quite a few moving parts. (Literally.) I had it all working. I handmade wooden gears fercryingoutloud. And during final assembly, as I got it ready for glue-up, the axle snapped in two.
Am I looking for a reason to stop, or a way to keep going?
I ask myself this sometimes, when I get frustrated. It helps me notice whether my brain is helping or hindering. When I’m building something, repairing something, baking something, making something. When something goes wonky, when it gets tough. When the soup tastes like hot garbage or the light won’t turn on or the part doesn’t fit.
Like the Saturday before last, when I hit one too many tool challenges in a row, and decided to handle it by… crying. It happens. I didn’t want to keep going, I wanted to declare everything everywhere stupid and go sulk. But what I know for sure, even while being a grumpy hothead, is that won’t get me where I want to go. Fall down seven times, get up eight.
Okay. It snapped. What I built once, I can build twice. So I exclaimed a few words that would make a sailor blush, and then switched tasks. All that’s changed is what I’m working on next. Take a moment to grieve, then drill out the old glued-in dowel. Source a new one, get sanding. I can rebuild him. Better, stronger, faster!
As much as I’m working on making this automata, I’m also working on my ability to keep going. Every maker I know has finely honed this skill in themselves. They work on it at least as much as they work on their craft. They work on it by trying again. And again and again. And maybe one more time after that.
All the speedbumps I know how to go over, it’s because of Past Me. Sometimes she gives up, sure. Yes, I’m a hothead, and I can bail with the best of them. But everything I know how to navigate today is credit to her. I’m super grateful for every time she kept going. Even and especially when it suuuuuuucked. I want Future Me to be able to look back on Today Me and say the same thing. I want to make her proud.
Have a great week folks!