Monday, December 6, 2010


What did I last make?  And what do I want to make?  I have been thinking about such questions all day since receiving the #reverb10 prompt, but I really do not know what to say.  If one of the characteristics of living in 2010 is living in a knowledge economy, I am certainly in the middle of that.  Like most people, my job does not lead to me making anything, not in the concrete sense.  I sit at a desk here at home.  I sit at a desk in the office.  And I stand or sit in various classrooms on campus with students reading, writing, talking, and thinking.  None of this is a negative.  I worked very hard to create this life for myself.  But thinking about making things is a bit sad.

I was the kid who loved crafts.  I would go to the county library and get books on how to make holiday decorations or things out of popsicle sticks, glitter, and glue.  I also loved science experiments.  I would check out books on those and make houses for insects or slugs, collect rocks or leaves, or mix things together to see what colors or smells I could create.  Last Christmas, I actually tried to make something for the husband.  I was going to decoupage a wooden box with photos from our trip to Russia.  I bought the stuff to do it, but it did not go well.  I just made a mess.

For some synchronous reason, I had a thought the other day that it would be neat to get a cheap, old bike at some garage sale, get a book (I need books before I can do anything), and fix it up.  When we moved to our house in Ohio, I bought a cheap little side table at a garage sale and planned to strip the paint from it, stain it, and use it.  I stripped some of the paint off, but that's as far as it got.  I eventually threw it away.  Now, I'm thinking I should have just decoupaged all over it, seriously.

So, I haven't really made anything in a while.  I could spin this topic into something that works and talk about making a mess or making dinner or making progress, but I spent the day thinking about how I used to make things but do not anymore.  If one of the goals for #reverb10 is to think of what we want the immediate future to be, then maybe I should be thinking of what I would make if I could, if I just decided to spend a day making something.


  1. A question: what is it about making intangible things that makes us feel inadequate somehow? I wrote about making a turkey and chicken this morning, because that's the only tangible thing I make. But I also make learning happen and that seems terribly important. So why do we dismiss it? It's curious to me.

    Regardless, I'm glad this project helped me find your blog -- I've enjoyed reading it.

  2. Thanks, Brenda! I haven't been doing much reading year. I'm at the end of my semester. In a week or so, I plan to spend hours just reading through a ton of #reverb10 posts.

    I wonder if tangible feels right because it's what we did as kids. I remember making signs with my address and phone number on them in kindergarten. I remember making parachutes out of handkerchiefs in second grade. As I got older, I made fewer things like that. Maybe that's part of the distinction?

  3. I think that could be part of it. I wonder if it's also that the larger culture (especially these days) seems to view making things as "real" work and creating information or other intangibles as somehow less than "real" work. It is, of course, also nice to have something one can handle as a finished product, which is why I think we still love to get hard copies of our books, articles, etc. E-publishing feels ephemeral somehow.