I was in Maine this past weekend for my birthday, and the start to our journey was not a pleasant one. It was pouring rain the morning we left for the 9 hour drive and it did not stop once throughout the entire trip; my boyfriend commented that it seemed as if we were literally chasing the storm. This was my first time visiting the state and I had envisioned beforehand what Maine would be like - idyllic and quiet, charming and peaceful. I was disappointed to see that at that moment, those four characteristics it most certainly was not.

But when I woke up the next morning, I immediately noticed a sense of calm coming from outside, and heard nothing but the little rustling noises of others in the inn getting ready for their day. Parting the window shades gave me the most glorious view of the harbor below and the mountains beyond, and a drive around the town took us to this bay in the photos you see above, where the lake was completely covered in ice and the sun reflected its beams to create a beautiful glimmer of light.

I stayed rooted to that spot for awhile, appreciating the stillness of the air around me. For someone who has spent her life surrounded by the fast paced sounds of the city, it was wonderful to bask in the moment of near isolation and breathtaking beauty. This small but significant experience only served to strengthen my conviction that nature is one of our world's greatest creative canvases, and it is this constant source of inspiration for which I give mindful thanks each and every day. 


With 2011 coming to a close, it is almost customary at this point to be reflective, look back on the past 12 months, and remember what happened. We extol our accomplishments, feel satisfaction at all we have achieved, and pat ourselves on the back for having survived through another year in our lives. But there is also a side of us that thinks about the things we did not do, the promises we did not keep, and the people we decided to let go. In the spirit of Christmas and the pending celebration of a new year, I thought it would be appropriate to write a post about this confusing state of affairs that some of us find ourselves in, and what it means to come out on top after a perceived failure. 

Joel Bukiewicz is the owner and operator of Cut Brooklyn, a knife shop that specializes in tools for chefs and restaurants in New York City and beyond. Joel's knives come bearing evidence of the time and effort it took to masterfully craft each one to perfection, and it is this human interaction from start to finish that gives his products a definitive edge over standard ones made in a trolley line by other machines. The video above details his process as one that is almost borderline obsessive, as he spends thousands of hours in order to grasp the exact measurements and details needed to render every piece as faultless. 

Joel's talents may lie in the cutlery industry now but when he was first starting out in the working world, his dream was to become a writer. He graduated with a MFA in fiction writing but was not successful in selling his first manuscript. Becoming increasingly desperate, Joel took a much needed break and immersed himself in a hobby of crafting knives. Over time, his interest and faculty grew to the point where he now has his own business, a true mark of success in the creative world. Regardless of whether or not this is where he thought he would be in the future, he still made it.

It is interesting that I discuss Joel's journey because I feel in many ways that we have taken opposite approaches in life. As a writer who surrounds herself with the optical works of designers and developers, I sometimes struggle with the fact that I myself am not the actual maker of anything. Instead, my talent lies in the ability to discover, research, and understand the moment of conception for projects that people undertake, and I then take these stories and give them a voice with my words. A long time ago, I could have figured out from the start that building something, whether it be with a pen, marker, or mouse, was what I wanted to do. Because I took the path of least resistance, I am here now as someone who yearns to do what it is these people do, but cannot.

But all is not lost. In starting this blog, I have come to the realization that this is my way of staying close and being a part of something I love in a different, albeit equally symbolic, manner. I may not be able to make graphite sculptures out of a pencil tiptame fire to create art, or code entire worlds, but what I can do is lend a willing ear and listen to the reasons why. From this, I have discovered my true purpose and reason for being. From this, I have found what I was really meant to do.  

PS: This will be last post for 2011. Stay tuned in 2012 as we explore even more amazing works that exist out there. Thank you for reading. Thank you for being here with me. See you soon.