I have been carving for more than 40 years. I began as a hobbyist and then, after being properly trained by an English Master Carver, made a mid-life career change from teacher of history to carver of wood.
During this time, I have reworked thousands of pieces of lifeless and shapeless wood into all sorts of attractive and useful creations. And, as I have formed the wood into something other than it was, the very act of working with that wood has transformed me into a person I never thought I could be.
It all began as a reaction to the challenging words of Zorba the Greek:
“Every man needs a little madness or else--
He never dares cut the rope and be free.”
I accepted Zorba’s challenge, reached inside myself, found my madness and embarked upon the adventurous journey from teacher’s desk to woodcarver’s workbench. During this time, just as Zorba had promised, I became free (well, as free as a guy with all my hang-ups could be). For me, the experience has been both magical and mystical. But, equally important to my wife and to my children—from this, I made a living.
I fully realize that my comparative freedom of Today has been tempered by the formative fires of all those frenzied Yesterdays--Yesterdays that were marked by the inevitable turmoil and the inescapable trouble that haunts all of our lives. Yet the emergence of unexpected triumphs and unanticipated joys during those same years causes me to believe--somewhat immodestly--that these experiences of mine might well be of some interest to others.
Consequently, while I am still able to do the two things I love--carving and writing, I have decided to start this blog.
Rest assured, this will not be another instruction guide--there are enough of them out there already. It is NOT my intention to teach the reader how to carve. It is my intention to comment generally about the quirkiness and unpredictability of life by drawing on the specifics of my woodcarving experience.
Henry David Thoreau once claimed, “I have traveled a great deal in Concord.” More recently, Robert Fulgham contended, “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.”
Similarly, I believe that the practice of woodcarving has been my Walden; and the people and places it has introduced me to have been my kindergarten. More important, I believe that we woodcarvers have many grand stories to share with the rest of the world. By describing some of my own adventures, I hope to suggest a few useful ideas for living in this increasingly perplexing world.
In support of this belief, I offer my next post--
"The Last Woodcarver"
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