My name, obviously, is Matt. I have a Lego addiction. (All together now, “Hello Matt.”) I have been “using” Lego since I was about five, when I received my first set of basic bricks back in the mid-70s (Ouch). My eyes were opened to the possibilities in one dose. I grew up with piles of Lego all around me and knew of nothing I wanted more on birthdays or Christmaseseses. In fact, it was all that I thought about, literally. I don’t recall ever having an official “dark ages.” Even through high school, I still had piles of, and paths through, Lego. It was more of a “dim ages” where I had other interests, obligations, track practice, dates (Yah right, who am I kidding?) Anyway, this state of existence continued on into my marriage (SHAZAM! Didn’t see that coming, did ya?), where the piles and paths became religiously well organized to the point of OCD. But, of course, no matter how many neatly sorted bins, large clean surfaces to spread out on, excellent lighting, and a comfy chair (track, hurdles specifically, took care of my knees and hips!), I found the most important addition to my Lego experience was a spouse that understands that all these plastic bits are a “maddening salvation.”
This leads me into my creations; they are very long in production. I am my own worst critic in that I am NEVER satisfied with the end result. Not to say that I don’t like what I have done, quite the contrary. I simply see immediately a better way to do something. And, yet, I continue to build on a single idea until I look back on the progress and realize that several months have passed and my project has been ruthlessly deconstructed and rebuilt repeatedly to the point of non-recognition. In other words, my creations are PERPETUAL WIPs. The “maddening” part.
On the other hand, the actual process is what I take the utmost pleasure in. When anyone asks why I still play with Lego, a child’s toy, I find the only response that adequately answers them is this: I am able to turn off my brain without turning off my brain. At which point they either, smile and nod then quickly walk away, or continue to ask deeper questions and want to see what I’ve made. Either result is fine with me because it’s not for THEIR entertainment, it’s for my own. It is the medium which I prefer to express my thoughts and, at least, attempt to organize my sanity. The “salvation” part.
In the end, what it all comes down to is really quite simple. In spite of owning a pair of destroyed hands (a direct result of my jobs as a local handyman, small engine mechanic, and a bronze chaser, not the Quiddich variety the metal grinding one), possessing mangled knees and hips, and having an outlandish lack of time, I am still driven to create AT ALL COSTS. The elemental nature of Lego clicks perfectly in my mind as to how I view the world. Simplicity opens the door to complexity with structure, concept, and ability. Having something look aesthetically pleasing is the extra “rush”. It IS an addiction. And, one I am happy to indulge.
It is my hope that in all this rambling that you, at least, can somewhat relate to this whole experience of TRUE creativity. As Willy Wonka put it, “We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams.” It is not JUST playtime, it is expansion, it is realization, it is success, it is failure (you’re welcome Tim), it is information, knowledge, wisdom, truth, beauty, love, music, and it is THE BEST. (Thank you Frank Zappa.) When Ole’ said “Play well”, I know my response was “NO DOUBT!!!”