Just Make Something

A conversation with myself in the kitchen late at night on the merits of making for the sake of it alone.

Image of the kitchen late at night for article titled “just make something” on the reflectionist

Photo by Ehud Neuhaus on Unsplash

A conversation with myself in the kitchen late at night on the merits of making for the sake of it alone.

Welcome to The Reflectionist, a daily dose of reflection on the nature of the self, personal reality, creativity, life and work, submitted to the public record for posterity. Read personal essays and articles on the psychology of creativity to help you nurture and broaden your creative prowess.

How is that even possible?

How is it possible to have a conversation with myself, a monologue kind of dialogue?

There’s only me, nothing else to see.

The house is quiet, and it’s late, and the rain tip taps on the twin roof lights of the kitchen where I sit.

Just write something, anything, freewheel it and see what comes out, myself says I.

It’s impossible to think something into being, you know. It’s just not possible. It’s better to sit and wait. Clear your mind and see what arrives because you have very little control over it, you know.

I like it here in this room. There’s no disturbance at this time of night, at least not to my eyes and ears.

The only sensory drama I undergo is that outrageous pungence inflicted on my nasal sensitivities by the flatulent lurcher to my left.

I swear the smell would kill a horse.

I tune off my grammar checker. It’s driving me crazy

I have been considering content this evening, and I was taken back to when I was young, living at home in Glasnevin.

There was this tree in my back garden that came down in a storm. My father tied it off to a larger tree with 2.5 mm earth cable, and it lasted another few years.

As it grew, it absorbed the cable into its bark.

Nature is toying with us, like a killer whale toying with a juvenile seal.

We are so naive and arrogant. We think that we could destroy the earth, but in actuality, the only thing we will destroy is ourselves.

We are one aspect of the grander gestalt organism, and where the organism of the earth, or indeed the broader universe, is threatened, it will devour us just as the killer whale will devour the seal.

Stupid humans.

“We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.” — Steven Pressfield

So, there was a section of this tree that came down which I salvaged, stripped it of its bark, sanded, stained and varnished.

It was nothing but an old branch, but it looked nice to me, so I took a couple of days to see what it could be.

I cut the main trunk of the branch so that it would stand, and left it to dry in the garage.

For the next fifteen or twenty years, that branch sat on the hearth of the living room fireplace.

No one ever passed any comment on it. It just sat there.

To this day, I cannot explain why I decided to carry out that little restoration project; it just felt like a good idea.

And as I write these useless lines on the screen and realise this story is entirely meaningless, I realise that just like the branch of the tree I stripped, sanded, stained, and varnished, there is no better reason to anything.

Our most significant affliction as human beings living in these times is to be paralysed by self-questioning and doubt, the constant need for commercial value in all our activities.

To undertake a creative endeavour for the pure curiosity of it, without question or recrimination, is reason enough.

The only consequence is that the useless, unenjoyable everyday stuff won’t get done and you’ll have something beautiful in your hands by contrast.

Fuck the consequences, make something.

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