NaBloPoMo #11: To Fix or Build

Prompt: What was the last thing you fixed or built?

There is something unwieldy about the words “fix” and “build,” despite the crucial function they have in our society. We build friendships and bridges, sometimes literally, sometimes not. We fix races in ambiguously moral ways. We can build empires or bears. We can fix our eye on or fix our eye, but there’s no artistry to fixing and building and no appreciation of these verbs as crafts. They are necessary, emotionless, inanimate, even while being essential, laudable, and innovative, though they’re rarely both at once.

Perhaps that is why I don’t feel like I can fix or build something – at least, not something noteworthy. Fix your transmission? Build you a bookcase? Sorry, you’re shit out of luck. Write a story? Create a graphic novel? Repurpose this old wood? Well, sit back, buddy, because you’re about to be dazzled.

In my mind, building and fixing are linked either with the practical world, which I’m not much use in, or the aesthetic world, which encourages me to make a bookcase out of PVC pipe and throw glitter in a jar and call it a therapeutic tool. The latter accepts my mistakes, noting that they’re a necessary part of creating something new or recycling and applauding my initiative. The former simply wants me to get things done and stop fucking around.

So what were the last things I made? A jack o’lantern of a Steven Universe character. Bacon and cheddar soufflés. A Touch Board for sensory development. A slowly coalescing story. A princess skirt. A video game hat. Rice Krispy treats. A home for a new column. Several friends. Were they necessary, emotionless, inanimate? Well, no, not really. I could have easily done without any of them, even these friends, but that doesn’t mean they were worthless. Rather, they gave my life meaning, and they made me happy, which also makes them essential.


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