Writing and Legos

I played with toys the other day.

I’m interested in how different facets of life can be reflected in other areas of a person’s life, how two seemingly unrelated activities can show a common thread of similarity.

In the past weeks I discovered one of these threads and pulled on it.

But first, a weather report.

I like to be outside, but lately it’s been cold.

I like to keep active, taking in the sights, enjoying the world in its splendor, but it’s been really cold.

Like, polar vortex, holy crap I can’t feel my face cold.

Work was called off, school was canceled, and life in the Midwest generally ground to a halt. Those with stockpiled food and a warm home buckled down to a week of communing with those they love and a rampant Netflix binge.

Can you think of anything more boring?

Don’t get me wrong, I like to watch a good show just as much as the next guy (assuming the next guy would also rather be outside), but I can only take so much. After several episodes of the hottest new show with the people in my life I love the most, I was bored out of my skull.

I could have turned to writing to stimulate my dormant mind, but that would be the responsible thing to do, so we can quickly rule that out.

I raided my closet in a last ditch effort.

Out of the blue, I came across my old box of Legos.

When I was younger, of course I played with Legos. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a middle class child of the Western Hemisphere who hasn’t at least pushed two Lego bricks together. I thought I had a lot of Legos as a child and played with them often enough. Being a sentimental (and slothful) type I never bothered to get rid of my Legos, either because I was so attached to them or never saw the reason to part with the small tote of colored bricks.

Over the freakish snowstorm, I revisited my acquaintance with Legos.

Building with Legos is an odd process. Each person builds and creates differently. While I can’t be sure how other people do it, I know exactly what my creative process is like.

I began by aimlessly rummaging through the mess of colored blocks, just to see what was there. (I never was the type to patiently organize my Lego sets. Life is too short for dumb stuff like that.) I had no plan or creation in mind, I just picked and sifted through the pieces, occasionally setting aside a piece or figure that caught my interest. Eventually this meandering is not enough, and I begin to set aside pieces of a particular type, like, red bricks or wheels.

Eventually, a pattern or vision emerges from my mind from the bits that I have seen, and I set to work with a definite impression in mindThings go swimmingly for a time, and then I get bored. I begin to create small simple things, like tiny cars or ATVs.

A recurring pattern that manifests itself in different areas of a person’s mind or lifestyle is called a gestalt.

I found a gestalt of mine among the Legos.

My creative process is the same whether I’m working with Lego bricks or words. I collect bits that interest me, I wonder how they may connect, and then I set to work, only to immediately doubt myself and lose focus.

This loss of focus is disheartening. How could it not be? I believe every writer feels this and sees this in their own life. At least, I hope I’m not the only one.

But this despair is not the end. As every writer knows, all writing is born of pain, and we lose sight that writing is painful too. Every word is like a beesting to the mind. Writing is an effort, its hard, and it’s uncomfortable. We need to step back and see this unfocused thought for what it is: the very next step in our writing process.

When I revisit my project, I see my writing and my Lego creation despite its flaws, and I move on with a better and clearer vision, a vision that I could not have without the despair.

I’m despairing at my unfinished books and stories now, but come back soon. They will be beautiful.

And by the way, I’ve never had so much fun with Legos. I’m eagerly awaiting the next blizzard.

It was the best Pirate Steampunk Futuristic Post-Apacolyptic Lego War Wagon that I’ve ever seen. -BW


One thought on “Writing and Legos

  1. I really like your style of writing Madhairman. You’ve got some talent! Thinking of shows, I’ve got a burning question for you. Are you on Team Phil or Team Grant? Think carefully now. If you vote for Grant all your wildest dreams will come true.


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