I have been reading A.S. Byatt\’s The Children\’s Book for book group. It is a novel about many things (probably too many things), but it is mainly about people–a potter, a writer, a jeweler, a puppeteer–who make things. There are delicious bits where Byatt writes about the potter seeing the world in terms of glazes, the writer examining the events of her daily life, even as they are happening, for their potential as stories.
You can tell that Byatt loves to make things (she thinks of writing as something she constructs). In an interview, she says:
I think of writing simply in terms of pleasure. It\’s the most important thing in my life, making things. Much as I love my husband and my children, I love them only because I am the person who makes these things….Who I am, is the person that has the project of making a thing.
Ah, the project of making a thing! First, for me, there is the itch in the fingers, then the project, then the thing itself. A thing–a piece of writing, a picture, a sculpture, a tablecloth made into a dress–that wasn\’t there before. It is only when I am making something that I feel affection for myself, and that then allows me, like Byatt, to love others in a better way.
What things–art, gardens, rugs, dinner–do you make that make you who you are?