When I look at the way people live their lives I think to myself, are you an architect or a sculptor? Or were you one and now are the other? Or do you wish you were one but you aren't?
The architects fascinate me. An architect has a plan. They map things out. They know what they want the building to look like before they ever start buying the materials. There is a process. You know the type. They announce to the world that they are going to be what ever it is they are going to be and they start down that path. They know what schooling it's going to take, they know the contacts they need to make. They are building this life piece by piece. Architects are planners and doers. They start with the basics and build themselves into what they want. It's fascinating...
Then there are the sculptors. You have heard the saying about how sculpting is easy right? Say you want to sculpt David out of a block of marble? You just carve away all the marble that doesn't look like David and there you have it. Sculptors know where they are headed. But they can't really tell you how they are going to get there. They have the vision in their head and they are constantly carving off the pieces that don't fit. Sculptors are more likely to be the sampler type people. They try a little of this and a little of that. If it looks like them them they keep it, if not then it's carved away.
The problem with architects is that sometimes the world doesn't go as planned. Things happen. You have your life blueprints laid out in front of you. You went to the right college for pre-med, you got into the right med school, you got the internship at the prestigious teaching hospital you wanted. Your path is going exactly the way you intended it to. Then you meet the guy on the train that you can't live without and you are married and pregnant 3 years ahead of schedule. The jerk you were interning with isn't as smart or as talented as you are but they get the position you were craving because you are going to be on maternity leave. You had a plan dammit! Now what? This sort of thing can drive an architect crazy.
The problem with sculptors is sometimes they can't see through the marble to the end creation. So they just chisel randomly. They eventually end up with a life but it's pretty disjointed. If you close one eye and tilt your head to the side you can sort of make out the outline of what they are trying to accomplish but it just doesn't quite make it there. For a sculptor the endless choices and opportunities can be overwhelming. What if I carve off something I really wanted to keep? What if I keep something I should have carved off? These sorts of things can drive a sculptor crazy.
Everyone who knows me knows I am a sculptor. And I am a free form sculptor. I have no idea what the finished product is going to look like. I try things for awhile, if they fit I keep them, if they don't I carve them off. I have spent a lot of years wondering and worrying about the fact that I don't have a plan just a collection of random interests and experiences. I am constantly moving on to a new piece of marble and chiseling something out of it. Just this year I have tried writing (well writing more, I've always written), ice skating, photography and knitting. I've also gone back to some old things I chiseled off years ago and tried them again. I sort of view that as digging through the chunks of marble on the ground to see if I've left anything interesting there. Luckily for me I grew up white trash enough to know that you can re-attach almost anything with the right combination of super glue and duct tape! It might not be pretty but it works.
I used to wish I was an architect. But now looking back at my life I see all of the things I would have missed on the way if I had stuck to a plan. I have friends who don't understand how I can pick up things, try them for awhile then walk away with no interest in trying them again. Those are the architects, if you take the effort to learn a skill, to buy the supplies, to try the event then you should use it. The sculptors say, nope, not for me, I tried it, I carved it. It didn't look right or feel right so it's not part of the final piece. My various careers for instance. I might have carved out a pretty stellar advertising executive, it might have looked good to the outside world, but there was a fault somewhere in the marble, it just didn't sit right on me so off it went into the discard pile. Maybe someday I will find a way to add it back in to my piece in a way that works but not now.
I am a sculptor, I am a little flighty with my art, but at the end of it all I hope to look back at a perfectly carved piece of marble that is me. It might not be the sleekest piece of art ever made, it might not have been made the most efficiently but I know it will be interesting to look at. Duct tape and all.