I didn’t realize it at the time, but the worst thing about the great flood of 2018 was that it completely destroyed my momentum.  At the end of January, I had finally arrived at a place where I thought I might be able to cut Proto:87 wheels for #622.  I had even cleaned the lathe in preparation for starting to turn tyres the very next evening, but it was not to be.

As these things always do, it took longer to put the house back together than expected. Meanwhile, I worked on the locomotive in a virtual format, which was all work that needed to be done.  Yet when the restoration people had finally dismantled Mount Flood, and moved its contents back into the basement, I found I always had reasons not to get started on real modelling again.

Sure, life was happening: we painted big swathes of the house, reseeded the back lawn, stained the deck.  We took trips, played with the kids and attended end of year galas and concerts.  Through it all, I could not find even 15 minutes to make a start.

Those were excuses.  Of course I could have found 15 minutes.

But like an athlete returning to the gym after an injury, it was like there was a force field keeping me away.  I knew hard work lay ahead.  What skills I had were surely atrophied.  I was a bit afraid.  What if I am never able to gain the skills I need?  What if my ideas don’t work?  It was far easier to pick up a book.

Sometimes a break is a good place to overcome static friction, and so, I resolved to get going again as soon as we returned from our road trip.  Okay, we’ve been back for a few days now; that force field was really strong!  Tonight, however, I grabbed a piece of dark chocolate (my ritual for getting started) and headed down to the heavy shop.

The simple ring pictured above, the outside turned with a form tool to a railroad-like profile, represents a huge step forward.  This is me returning to the gym and at least stretching and lifting some light weights.  Tomorrow will be easier, and the day after that will be easier still.  In a couple of weeks it will be a habit again, and the momentum will carry me through the difficult times that surely lie ahead.

I’d better ensure there is enough chocolate!


5 thoughts on “Momentum

  1. Rene:

    It seems this year has had similar influences on our modeling and “getting back to the gym”. Maybe I need chocolate.

    Your last piece was so well written, btw, that I didn’t know how to reply.

    Hope all is well.

    Neil Erickson, underwater in Hawaii

    1. Thank-you, Neil. I’m reading a book by Twyla Tharp right now called the Creative Habit (a review will follow here), and she calls out rituals as part of the process. I’ve been having a chocolate to kick off modelling most times for years, whenever there is some available, but hadn’t ever called it a ritual, but rather thought of it as a reward. I hadn’t understood it until reading Tharp’s chapter.

      I hope your own water (and lava!) woes are resolved soon.


  2. Hello Rene,
    Truly an awful ordeal and surely enough to put anyone off for a while. When I get these blank spots, sometimes it’s enough to just take a cup of tea (or coffee!) into the den and just sit and contemplate things for a while. Do this enough and inspiration will surely strike again.
    Meanwhile, keep enjoying the chocolate!

    1. Thanks John. Tea often accompanies the chocolate. I’ve had two nights of forward progress now, though last night was pretty minor due to a community association meeting. The hardest part is getting started!

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