January 19, 2017

Prompt: “One thing I wish I could ask my father is…”

Well, he is still alive; so I will ask him, and this is my question(s):  As an eccentric artisan, how have you (continued to) develop your passion, without compromising, on things like quality, or the type of work that you do; even though you may have made more money doing something else with your talents? Do you feel successful? How do YOU define success? Is there anything you wish you could have done differently, looking back after 30+ years?

My dad has been in business for some thirty odd years and specializes in high-end pool tables and other fine furniture. He has traveled all over North America, installing/setting up his creations, and meeting a wide variety of people, businessmen, lawyers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, trust fund babies, designers etc. He refuses to do anything else with his self-taught skills and many, including myself and siblings, have thought him, crazy. I am beginning to wonder if there is “a method to his madness”, now that I am embarking upon my own creative journey.

While listening to yet another podcast by the minimalists entitled “Creating” they discuss how you don’t really find your passion, it develops. My father is much like bill gates or Mark Zuckerberg, not monetarily mind you, but in that he is passionate about his work. His work… isn’t work, or even what some in the secular world would call a “career” it’s something, more, it’s about creation, of something new. I mean even down to the minimalist type wardrobe of only wearing a ratty old pair of jeans and a top. (Which mind you, my mother has complained about for as long as I can remember.) But phycologists say that many “high-powered, or “creative types” do this because it allows them to put their time, energy, willpower etc, into their creations, and not on the mundane aspects of life, like dressing one’s self.

As I think about it more and more, I start to realize that although my father was super busy with his business growing up, he molded us more than we ever would like to probably give credit for. Let me explain, take my

Let me explain, take my sister, for example, she never wanted to go own her own business, she liked the steady income that a paycheck provides. Go to work, get paid, go home. She chose a trade that would provide her with a short-term training, so she could get into the field right away. (hairdressing) Without getting into her whole work history, after 15 ish years, working for others, her boss sold her business, to one of the other stylists and my sister did not wish to work for them. So she did what she had sworn up and down, she would NEVER do… she went off and started her own business. Granted she rents a chair and has brought all her clients along with her. The thing is, she never anticipated the level of success, she has stumbled into. I am wildly proud of her! It was definitely a hard transition for her, but it has proved to be the best thing. I don’t think she ever went into hairdressing with a hope of it becoming her “passion” but If you take a few steps back, you can see that she has really grown to love the trade in which she chose. Not many people can say that, and that is what I define as “success”… and a tad bit of pure luck.

My brother is a hot mess, and without going into all his faults, I’ll say only this. He wants to be mentored, he wants someone to teach him their passion, which is his passion, Food. …and he refuses to settle for anything less… which means he switches jobs every 2 weeks. But, I’m sure he will eventually find that chef, that is willing to share his passion. I suggested he travel, because honestly, where he is, it’s nothing but chain restaurants with reheated frozen food.

My siblings unnoticeably have been living their lives by the same standards that they call crazy, both of each other, and of my father. I totally sympathize, though; it is crazy. because the world in which we live has made it seem like it is. If you go back and listen to that podcast you’ll hear Josh and Ryan talk about how when they walked away from six-figure corporate jobs to pursue a writing career, they were called crazy, but you know what, they love what they do, and their successful, not only by their standards; but by even what society would consider success.

…and that is why passion is considered “eccentric” or rather, we mistake passion for being eccentric. I hope that my dad is able to find a few moments to take a listen to that podcast episode himself and to answer my questions as well. And my siblings, to better understand the cloth from which they were cut, better understand and stop judging each other for the same things, they themselves are doing. Shine a more positive light on what each other are trying to achieve.



4 comments on “Eccentric

  1. 1)As an eccentric artisan, how have you (continued to) develop your passion, without compromising, on things like quality, or the type of work that you do; even though you may have made more money doing something else with your talents?
    Determination- not to lower standards. Knowing deep down, that even though we live in the “Ikea” world. There are still individuals who realize there is still old world craftsmen out there and they are prepared to pay whatever that costs. Then since they put that trust in me I feel obligated and determined to give them the best I can. There is also a great sense of accomplishment when individuals make comments of appreciation. i.e.; with a recent antique restoration that needed many small “patches” of veneer. When the client who did see the damage before upon examining it after restoration and installation said: “Wow I cant find any of the damaged spots.”
    Or the client from 2000. Who just emailed me this week for a reinstall after a new home build said. “Given all of the “wow” and “I’ve never seen anything quite like this” comments from the movers who disassembled the table, I’d much rather have you put the table back together.”
    That keeps you going.


  2. Do you feel successful? How do YOU define success?
    Sometimes. When I do it’s because I’ve managed to keep doing what I want to. Maybe not always as fully as I would like but at least keeping the ball in the court. Then also, when you see your family is starting to see the impact my qualities have had on them. And they realize those qualities are of value.
    Then I know I am successful . Thank you


  3. Is there anything you wish you could have done differently, looking back after 30+ years?
    Hindsight is always 20/20. Life didn’t allow me to do it differently. So, I don’t like to look back and say I wish I had done this or that. But I look forward from where I am. With the insight, I have gained and look for and pray for life to dish out opportunities that will allow me to continue to do the thing I would like.


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