The Square Peg - Writer’s Block and Sun Jar Jibber Jabber
© S. Bradley Stoner
I woke up grumpy this morning. I don’t know why, I just did. Checked my email... nothing there worth reading, so I opened Word with the intention of writing something funny for my blog. Ever try to write something funny when you’re in a grumpy mood? Doesn’t work. Matter of fact, when I’m grumpy writing anything is damn near impossible. I can’t figure out if I’m grumpy because I have a slight case of writer's block or if I have a slight case of writer's block because I’m grumpy. Either way, it sucks, because I am generally a very disciplined writer. I get up, make coffee, have a little breakfast, turn on the ol’ computer and get right to work. Morning is my time to write, unless of course the urge hits me some other time of day. I once sat down and wrote for twenty hours straight... I was on a roll until my stomach growled and demanded food.
So, what does a writer do when the thoughts don’t flow? This writer heads for the shop to make something. That’s why I keep tools... woodworking tools, metal working tools, big tools, little tools, SAE tools and metric tools. Pretty much if I need something, I own it, but that doesn’t stop me from buying new tools. What stops me from buying new tools is a general lack of space to store them conveniently. I mean, if you can’t get at the right tool you need, what the heck good is it?
So, I hit the shop. Now given that my brain seems to be a little knotted up, I’m not going to try any complex projects, so I pick out one of the simplest I can think of... or rather the one my lovely brought up last night. Sun Jars. Not complicated at all. Matter of fact, all you need is a drill press, some washed spaghetti sauce mason jars, a cheap solar light from a dollar store (I buy ‘em by the dozen because some last and some don’t), and some Loctite Professional Grade Super Glue.
I had all my jars lined up, lids in front of them. I had the drill bit in my drill press and the table adjusted to the proper height. I had all the solar light tops removed from their plastic globes, tubes, and stakes, and had those lined up in front of the lids. I was focused and ready to go.
I jumped... so high that I darn near put a dent in the sheetrock roof of my garage shop. “Dammit, Bob... you gotta quit sneaking up on me like that. If I’da been holding my nail gun, I could have tacked you to the wall.”
“Gee whiz,” Bob said, the hurt registering on his face, “you don’t have to be so grumpy. What’s got your tail in a twist?”
I growled... or at least Bob said I did. He said I sounded like a P.O.ed badger. “Not a good time, Bob.” Hell, I wasn’t in the mood... not that Bob ever helps my mood when he shows up in my shop. Usually I have to worry about something being “borrowed” for a spell... and a spell is generally when Bob runs across whatever it was he borrowed that has my name engraved on it. Then he’ll return it with a line like, ‘Wow, you musta forgot this at my place.’ Of course Bob and I both know that’s an incredible load of crap, but we still play the game.
“Whoa... you really did get up on the wrong side of the bed, didn’t you? Whatcha makin’?”
Obviously, I wasn’t going to get rid of him short of running him off at the end of a 12 gauge. I would have been well within my rights, but that just isn’t the neighborly thing to do. So, barring plugging old Bob in his kiester, the best option was to just answer his question. “I’m going to make some sun jars.”
“What are sun jars?”
Now, almost any idiot should be able to look at the array of jars, jar lids, and solar lights and figure it out, but Bob isn’t that swift, so I explained that you take a used spaghetti sauce jar, drill a hole in the lid, and glue the solar light on it with the light extending into the jar. “It’s a neat way to repurpose those jars and besides, they look nice. You can use them to light a walk way, accent a garden, or light your outdoor table.”
“Huh,” Bob grunted. “Why not just stick the lights in the ground with those little pointy stakes?”
I just looked at him. The man has no creativity at all.
“Anyway,” Bob continued, “I was wondering if I could borrow your leaf blower?”
The last time Bob borrowed something from me, I didn’t get it back for six months, so I just pointed at the new sign on my walls. TOOLS NOT LOANED. and below it in smaller letters, IF YOU NEED THEM, BUY YOUR OWN. I made that sign myself... routed it out, filled the letters with red paint, then varnished it, put in a couple of screw-eyes and hung it up. I thought it looked good. It sort of complements that sign my lovely bought me that hangs on the other wall, What Happens in the Garage Stays in the Garage.
Bob pulled that hurt look again. “Not very neighborly,” he grumbled.
“Maybe not, but I don’t lose tools any more either.”
Bob wandered out of the garage and scuffed down the driveway without even saying goodbye. I turned on the drill and bored a hole in the first lid. Suddenly, I was feeling a lot less grumpy. I finished up the sun jars and headed for the computer. Maybe Bob’s good for something after all.