I was out road testing the new seat for my bike when my neighbor, out walking her unhappy dog, motioned me over and said I might want to know that something terrible had just happened. I got home to see the second of the Twin Towers go down. I don’t know what I felt exactly. I didn’t feel angry. I just felt this was bad in and of itself and that it was probably going to be really, really bad in its long range repercussions. I had some work to do at school and while there, still turning over inside what I had seen, I started fiddling around with my computer and made a flag like this one.
I ran it off on my computer on good photo paper and tacked it in the upper left corner of the message board right outside my office door. I have not moved it. It has been there ever since.
I am turning over emotional stuff right now what with WB’s death, February of last year, Joan’s death just this last April, Dan’s stroke, and a whole host of other lesser things all coming together in a big clot. I guess when I start feeling maybe too much or something very strong I do as I did with 9/11. I try to make or build something. I think that’s why I have been working so much on what I call “Tingle Territory” when I am not cleaning out the garage.
I don’t think of this “making something” as necessarily therapeutic. I am not sure what therapeutic means; if it means getting better or curing, I am not sure “making something” does that. More as if, making something requires material for the making; and if you can make something out of that material, you give it a kind of shape or solidness that other stuff you make later on can build on. It’s more a way of constructing a continuity or holding together and shaping a diffuse anxiety that might otherwise be overwhelming or get buried and fester down there somewhere just out of sight. The anxiety is still there though and shows in my having become a bit obsessive about putting Tingle Territory together.
I think it’s important to make something out of the things we feel. Most of the time, I think we do, not always beneficially though. Still, maybe something powerful happens and you decide to lose weight, and actually do. But that’s a pretty big thing to do. Making something doesn’t have to be a big thing; maybe you just start parting your hair in a different way. Making something is a way of accommodating change by recognizing it.
If you don’t make something out of the change you are just going to become more and more rigid and eventually the change will break you. Hell, it will no matter what you do. My shrink’s mother, in her dotage, went hay wire and took to collecting empty cans and yogurt cups and filling the drawers of her dresser with them. Maybe the only difference is that if you try to make something out of the change when you open your dresser drawers, they won’t be full of empty things.
Oh, I have made a separate web page that gives access, in one place, to the various bits of Tingle Territory I have so far assembled.