Getting sadness in the flesh of the building

Although social pressure — the desire to please others — sometimes makes it hard to reach the I, the difficulty is not mainly a social difficulty. It is mainly an artistic difficulty.

The difficulty arises simply because it is so hard to find that shape, that substance, which actually makes tears well up in me. To many people a roof is just a roof. A column is just a column. It takes a great effort of perception, conscious work, and concentration, to see that the subtle change of the column makes a difference to its sadness, or to its capacity to hold, and reflect sadness.

Gradually, as I achieve a more harmonious shape, even in the plywood forms themselves, I begin to see something which nearly works, in that place. I begin to be aware that this column which I am making can be more austere — and that, as I strip away every bit which is too sweet, that I slowly leave the bare bone of something which can affect me, can make me — almost — choke tears in my throat. Of course, it is just a sensation, not actual tears. It is so slight, I have to watch the growing thing in the room very intensely to notice it at all.

But if I pay very careful attention to the feeling which is welling up in me, I do notice tiny differences, small sensations, and I do notice that threat of tears, that harshness in the back of my throat which moves me towards the shape of the column which will ultimately have a more serious meaning, which will enlarge life in that room, which will then, through its austerity, make more likely the experience of joy.

(Page 247)

Notes mentioning this note

Here are all the notes in this garden, along with their links, visualized as a graph.