Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Nine Unfinished Projects

my desk

This is a picture of my desk.

I’m currently working on some terrain pieces, chess figures, palm trees and I’m painting a little skeleton man, my son made out of polymer clay. Some of these projects I started many years ago.

I remember my father always kept several piles of documents on his desk and next to it, and although he worked a lot (too much probably), when he died 20 years ago, he left his study in such a state, that only recently I dared to enter it to go through his things.

A hobby is a luxury, of course, especially if you have three young children and in the midst of a pandemic, so time might be a problem, although I consider painting miniatures or gaming with friends time well spent.

I have a list with nine items, old projects, I need to finish before I can start something new.

Now, that I wrote this last sentence, I already have a lot of doubts about it.

First of all: are there only nine items on my list?

Like many people playing games with miniatures, I enjoy starting new projects all the time. I have a friend who can open a cupboard filled with unpainted miniatures if you mention any wargaming related subject and another friend who buys a plastic bag full of dwarves each time he goes to a gaming convention and I’m not much different.

It’s probably healthy to limit the number of unfinished projects on your table. On the other hand, why should I not paint the dinosaur my daughter made out of Fimo or the giant crocodile my other son sculpted, thus expanding my list to ten or eleven items? Or why shouldn’t I paint some orcs or dark age archers for our fantasy campaign? Or conquistadores? They would be more useful now than three palm trees. And then, why should I do any of these things? Instead I could paint the wall of our garage or some chairs and tables to invite friends over for a barbecue in our garden. Or just spend more time working to gain money?

My father’s hobby or obsession was to visit archeological sites and collect books about it. He was also very much focussed on his work and had a complicated family situation since my brother was severely handicapped. I assume he would have liked to spend more time in museums or read more history books, but just couldn’t. So to release some pressure he bought more and more books.

My father read a lot and he could remember most of the things he read, but when I looked at his books for the first time after he died I noticed that many of them had never been touched. He bought books to put them in shelves or on piles next to shelves, so they would gather dust. I used to have the romantic idea that he wanted to tell me something through his collection of books, because he rarely spoke to me. I feel some kind of sorrow looking at his books. Maybe my father imagined to have more time to read them all.

Now, my second question is: Is it bad, an unhealthy waste of resources, to hoard things and not use them? Books you don’t read, miniatures you don’t paint or play with? Shoes you don’t wear?

Do I really need to finish old projects before I start something new?

I can spend a lot of time sculpting or painting a single miniature, but it’s so much fun imagining playing a game with fifty miniatures on each side or more. This creates a tension and to release it I often start buying new miniatures, before my mind wanders off and imagines playing with yet another army.

Is this bad? A vicious cycle? I don’t know. What do you think?