On Chanakah, my stepson Shay was less interested in his new fluff-lined sweatshirt than in his empty cardboard box. He folded it in half horizontally and began to look for "a face", then quickly snapped up his brothers' abandoned boxes, declaring his intention of creating a special gift for his guinea pig.
I've always had an affinity for things with "a face"--be they smiley cookies or stuffed plush veggies--in my mind I wanted a little smile or winky eye on every object in my universe. I may have been stuck in a materialistic society, but at least all my things could smile darn it.
I am enamored by people who build stuff, make stuff, see something in junk and make it into something useful--an old lone sock reborn as a cute stuffed toy, a ragged sweater resurrected as leg warmers.
My time as a stay-at-home mama finds me with my baby and my stuff all day. I am constantly searching for ways to be useful, probably to alleviate in equal parts boredom and guilt over not bringing home any bacon (tofu bacon in our vegetarian case).
My husband can fix, make or build just about anything. He dismantled and rebuilt a projector once that they were throwing away at work, then proceeded to cut a whole in the living room wall and screwed hooks into the tiled ceiling. I was none to pleased to see him happily hacking away at my living room one day to my surprise. By the end of the day though he had set up a movie theater in our living room.
Over the years I've come to realize that sometimes the shittiest feelings and experiences lead to the best art and the most meaningful growth. After all, the best compost is made of the smelliest poops around.