Have you ever looked at something you made and asked yourself… Where did that come from?!?
When you look at it, you’re left wondering, “What on earth was I thinking when I made that?“, “Why did I put that there and this here?“, “Where on earth did I move that thing? I know I put it somewhere!?!”
Well, that was me earlier today, as I looked at my State Mechanic.
And don’t get me wrong, I was NOT criticizing my work, but rather marveling at it. As if it were a strange incomplete work of art that I had no hand in shaping, and could swear never to have touched, if not for the intimate memories of actually having created it from its very first letter.
Truthfully, I sometimes… No, I OFTEN have only the vaguest of ideas HOW I manage to make the vast majority of my work. Both the terrible and the brilliant. Its not that I don’t know their genesis, they burst forth from the same space between MY ears, its more that I can’t imagine how ‘I‘ managed to do it in the first place.
This imperfect, unfocused, unorganized creature that can’t seem to remember where it moved that thing the other day, made THAT. And now, I am going to try and fix or improve it.
It feels a bit overwhelming really.
At the same time I am as intimately familiar with AND completely estranged from every line of what is some of the best code I may have ever written. It is a beguiling duality of the human condition that the ancient Greeks and Romans used to refer to as ‘Genius’.
It’s the name they used to refer to what they believed was a demon like spirit that would infest artists, sculptors and musicians. Essentially the brightest and most creative of personalities, responsible for the most beautiful works, also tended to be some of the most insane. Thus, they were said to be ‘wrestling‘ with Genius.
Some of the most celebrated creators of all time have been quoted to say that even their best works were unfinished, and that they were unhappy with every single thing they had ever made. All they could see was what they had done wrong…
Now, I know after reading that it may appear as though I have an inflated view of my work. I probably do. And it is a very real possibility that whatever I am writing is actually a piece of junk. There could be easier less over engineered ways to accomplish what I am doing. But it doesn’t feel that way. Right now. Nor has it felt that way at any time in my past when I managed to make something I likely shouldn’t have been able to, but somehow did. And to this day, I am stunned by them as if each was the work of someone elses hands.
Perhaps I am simply deluded. Perhaps I am to simple to know any better. Perhaps I am chasing shadows in the dark, trying to define for others something that exists only in my head. Something no one else can relate to.
But I sure hope not.
Because it’s moments like this, that I find the most inspirational. Often, the most poetic and beautiful. Almost serendipitous.