My New Year's Resolution had nothing to do with writing. In fact, it had to do with everything BUT writing. I've identified with being a writer for so long now that I think it's actually getting in my way. What if I'm an amazing golfer and I just never had the chance to explore that? Or, say, have a knack for Swahili but just never knew? I spend so much time alone writing that I fear I'm missing out on other extracurricular activities life has to offer.
With that in mind, I signed up for a stone sculpture class at the art college where I teach. I've been there for four years and only recently realized they offer free classes to their faculty. Stone sculpture isn't completely out of my comfort zone. It is still creating something from nothing, but in this case 'nothing' is a giant slab of stone and 'creating something' requires a hammer, various tools and lots of dexterity. For my stone I chose I simple, small, pinkish one. I immediately envisioned a foot - perhaps to be used as a door stop.
Unlike writing, carving stone requires much physical exertion as you chip away, layer after layer. You can identify how solid or hollow a stone is by the 'ping' sound the tool makes. The whole experience is loud, but very musical. You're not working out plot points, thinking about dialogue or any of that business; you're simply following the lead of a piece of alabaster. Similar to writing, however, when you're in a groove, time flies. Last week I was shocked when I heard the three hour class was over, thinking I'd been hammering away for maybe an hour at most.
Who knows what I'll try after this class ends in April. Perhaps I'll take up sailing or spend time in a community garden.
Like many, though, I must admit that I've slipped a little in my resolution. Two weeks ago I started writing novel #4, but it's not really my fault. See, the characters were starting to slowly circle me, appearing in dreams and speaking over me while I was trying to teach my literature class. What was I supposed to do? Ignore them?