Long ago one of my groups needed a new office building. We couldn’t find what we were looking for and there was a deadline involved. I decided to build something.

I had not even tried to construct a building since my earliest days in this world. I had tried and failed. More than once.

But I gave it a shot again and showed it to the landlord, a talented builder. He liked it. Or so he said. I told him I just put it there to meet the deadline and I would continue shopping for a prefabricated building. “Oh, no,” he said, “this will certainly do. You have done a nice job for your first build. A nice job.” “Well, I could hire someone and commission a build. I do want it to be right with the surroundings.” “Oh, no,” he said again, “This is just fine. It fits perfectly. It’s very nice.”

Was it actually good? Or did it show some potential and he was being encouraging? Or did it just stink and he was too polite to say so?

Some time later I came into the acquaintance of another builder. I asked him to take a look at this same building which we had now been using for some months. I asked him to use his most critical eye.

Oh my, did he ever! He criticized the design, the balance, the textures and the construction and each more harshly than the last. He did like the color, however.

So, I gave up after that. Awwww, you say, no! Don’t give up! Try, try again! No, it is hopeless, I assure you.

Just recently I was looking for buildings for a project I am working on. Not finding what I needed, I knew of course I should turn to a professional for a custom job. But, for some silly reason, I set out to construct one of the buildings myself.

When it was near completion, I showed it to a friend who is an accomplished builder. She is a good friend and I know she was a bit hesitant when I asked her to give an opinion. But she came to take a look. Her reaction?…

“You’re a writer and a good one and you like writing, don’t you?” she asked. “I do, of course.” “Then write,” she said, “don’t build. Anyone can build.”

Not me, apparently.

Well, at least she told it to me straight, not like the first guy. And at least she let me down easy, not like the second guy.

I am reminded of a phrase from the future, “Keep your day job, Danko.”

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