Important Things

“Any first-rate novel or story must have in it the strength of a dozen fairly good stories that have been sacrificed to it. A good workman can’t be a cheap workman; he can’t be stingy about wasting material, and he cannot compromise.” — Willa Cather

This quote found by Marsh today struck me on a number of different levels. With the house in Troy, it resonated because we’re doing away with substantial portions of the existing structure, in order to create our home.

So, there are two extremes in this business. At one extreme lies our former home in Virginia: we fixed it up so a new family could move in the day they closed, if they wished. At the other extreme lies a theoretical fixer-upper, bought by a theoretical speculator, for whom it is perfectly plain from Day One that the right course is to raze the property and start from scratch.

But there are a wealth of approaches on this spectrum, and while some of our early thinking, in retrospect, was unrealistically optimistic, there is no absolute mandate compelling us to dispose of every stick and so radically alter our course onto a path of designing and building a dream home from the ground up. That’s a different kind of dream, and one we one day aspire to.

That would be, say, a novel; while the form we’re engaged on is more of a comic operetta. The skills it demands of us are flexibility, a capacity for learning, fearlessness as to discomfort, a sense of humor, and above all a determination to find good and value everywhere possible, and make of it something to fit our path.

We choose reclamation, not erasure.