It started with the hammer

Those protruding nails on the front porch started it. I was tired of catching the sole of my shoe on the same nails over and over again. So I grabbed my trusty carpenter’s hammer and whacked the crap out of the entire line of them. That run of nails along the one floor joist had worked their way up and out of the deck over the years — like a line of shark’s teeth lying in wait for an unsuspecting foot or shoe to attack — with rusty vengeance.

So, I went down the line, boom, boom, boom, nail after terrible nail. And somehow, the act of hammering down those evil nail demons pulled me up and out of the well of introspection that I have been inside of for a few weeks. The simple joy of the strike and the boom made me wake up and look out instead of in. My arm and my body remembered the feeling of the hammering and the comfort of that effort. I saw the hammer head drive the nails down into the wood one by one in incredible super slow mo. And it made me want to go back to my empty studio again. And it made me really want to work instead of just going through the motion of work.

I hammered metal all day yesterday and today I am back.  I am home again after the long journey in. Change does that. My mind was doing battle with a terrible thing, and the war has finally ended. I have emerged. I am OK. And now I know what I am going to do. I know how I am going to be. I know I can’t make everybody happy no matter how hard I try. So, I am going to start with me, and I have given myself permission — really, really — to disappoint people who have unrealistic expectations of me that I do not wish to fulfill. I will no longer give away energy and time to people who have none of their own and only take mine. Sorry.

So now, back to the hammer. The project on my bench and the anvil are waiting. you do your work and make your own way in the world, just like I am. You work, and I’ll work. I’ll share with you when I can spare the extra energy. If you play nice and share too.

Today’s tip: I have custom ground several Delrin forming hanmmers to match the profile of my steel forming hammers, so I have the option to either gently move or aggressively move sheet in the same bay of my raising stake. Sweet!


About Helen Driggs

Metalsmith, Teaching Artist, Writer, Maker of things. Former Senior Editor of Lapidary Jewelry Artist Magazine View all posts by Helen Driggs

2 responses to “It started with the hammer

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