"I think of 87 ways to make better days." - Kanye West, We Can Make It Better (feat. Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Rhymefest, and Common)
December 6 – Make.
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
Professionally, I make things all the time - decks, presentations, suggestions, decisions. Our job is to make things and tell stories. Personally, though, I don't know that I'm much of a maker. I put together an entertainment center last week. I made a bad baked macaroni & cheese for Friend's Thanksgiving. I make a good cocktail on occasion but I feel like this prompt is really about the power of deliberate craft. About working with your hands to present something tangible and meaningful.
So, to that end, let's talk about the room I helped make with St. Bernard Project in May.
The proudest moment of my year was at the end of Saturday, May 29th as I surveyed the room I had helped drywall. I was sweaty and dirty. My back and elbows and knees ached. I was itchy from the mixture of perspiration and mud and dirt that had caked on my legs and forearms. And I was happy.
At the end of that day, I thought seriously about switching careers to construction and contracting (probably the worst careers to try to get into in this country at the present moment but dreams don't have to be rational). I love what I do on the mostly digital plane but the problem with web work is you're never done. After 8 hours of hard work sinking drywall screws, climbing ladders, checking levels, sawing drywall, and setting base boards, we had made a room. You could see the accomplishment. Someone would come in in the next day or so and do the painting and add the finishing touches but the act of drywalling was complete.
The requirements wouldn't change. The creative wouldn't get tweaked. The only content in the room was WWOZ's Saturday mixture of jazz, world music, and good old soul. Oh, and high fives. And teamwork. And math. And trial and error. And good old fashioned work.
We could see it. We could touch it with our hands. We could feel it in our bones.
We made this.
I made this.