Friday, April 29, 2016

Bending Sand


I have no pretensions that there is anything remarkable about the castle I'm building.  I'm about 15 here; it would be the summer of 1979, so somewhere between one and three months before the first time I played D&D.  See?  I've always possessed the creative spirit.

I vaguely remember this.  The location is Sylvan Lake, so I'm working with unsticky lake sand; I've dug the moat surrounding the castle to make a center as big as I could make it; as I remember, without any tools except my hands - and of course in one afternoon.  Here's a shot from before I had to abandon it:

Complete with mystified onlooker.

Found these pictures today while hunting around through old books and papers.  I post it because these things seem so important at the time when we dedicate ourselves to them - it reminds me that the thing we lose as we get older is that sense of imposing our will upon our environment.  There are always those who lose that 'youth' almost immediately; "What is the sense?" they think.  Having given that up, they carry on all their lives, preaching obedience and more importantly the benefits of obedience.  Obey and reap the reward.  That's how the song goes.

I treasure dearly that image above of my head down, covered with sand, working.  Not at what other people think I should be working at; not at something useful or even something that will last.  Just the pure mind bending sand to its purpose for as long as it has the opportunity.

This makes me want to make maps.  Instead, I'll write.  But it's all the same thing.

6 comments:

LTW said...

About 3 years ago you showed me that I could expand the moat around my game and I have been reaping the benefits ever since.

Maxwell Joslyn said...

I often get the feeling while working on my gameworld* that I'm not really the one creating it -- it's more like I'm carving away at something that exists outside of myself, the contours of which I can see, and my work is just bringing that thing to light.

Do you ever feel like that, Alexis? fellow readers?

Furthermore I can see in my mind's eye very clearly what a given part of the whole would look like in its ideal state, and how I might get to there from where that part of my game/world is now. Then it's just a matter of using my hours each day ...

Alexis Smolensk said...

That is the very substance of the Greek muse, Maxwell. The Greek artists were the first to notice that it is a human perception that something we are creating has not actually been created by us - but by apparently some supernatural force. As far as I know, this has not yet been explained by anyone - though I know many have tried (Jung, for one). It is the principal underlying Shaw's Pygmalion, based on the Greek myth of the man who creates a perfect woman and then cannot relate to her, even though she came into existence by his own hand. A muse, the goddess Melite, figures very prominently in my book about musicians, Pete's Garage.

Wouldn't it be marvelous if there was a means by which we could make manifest our thoughts? How immense would be the world of my making . . .

Maxwell Joslyn said...

I'm staring into a special machine that lets me use the written word (itself an invention) to communicate my thoughts to you with nothing but my hands, my human language faculty, and basic computing skills ... but this thing is quite a narrow straw to force thoughts through, I find. Even if I can type decently fast. And most of the time I have to go back and edit edit edit edit edit before the idea shines.

Alexis Smolensk said...

But consider the boy making the sand castle, Maxwell - he's covered in wet sand and he's bent down with his hands digging endlessly into course sand.

Enjoy the straw.

Maxwell Joslyn said...

Point taken, consider me humbled ... it's easy to get used to what one already has.