Random Acts of Guitars

I always had an attachment to place.

Three times over two decades I moved to what was going to be my last home. At each place I would set down permanent roots—a garden, and basement workshops with woodworking equipment. (My crowning achievement was a handmade electric guitar. Seriously handmade, as in spokeshave-carved maple neck and ebony fingerboard, with self-designed mahogany body).

Life had other plans.

So I resolved to detach from place and things. I downsized, and now regularly try to throw out something big in the trash every week.

I always knew the table saw would be tough. But I had stopped woodworking long ago. I gave it to a friend who’d appreciate it. I also threw away a few specialized guitar tools.

Fifteen years ago, after I made the guitar, I had started another. It was to be a beauty. A neck-through-body design, I had taken the main first step of gluing up the core—three lengths of hard maple, separated by two thin strips of black walnut veneer. The neck would be the fingerboard on this baby—hard blond wood with two black tiger stripes running from the headstock to the tailpiece.

I carried this hunk of wood with me through all three of the “to be last” homes and one since. It was time to part, to put it down. I knew I wouldn’t finish it, so it now had more value as a symbolic sacrifice.

I burned it in the fireplace two months ago. It burned hard and slow, just like it would have played.

If life were a novel… A week ago, my teenage son said, “Dad, would you help me build an electric guitar?’

So here’s the question. If I were a fully trust-evolved person—able to trust fully, and eminently trustworthy—what would be my first reaction?

  • a. there are no coincidences
  • b. timing is everything
  • c. the universe is trying to tell me something
  • d. there’s a zen saying here, you just gotta laugh.

I aspire to (d)—unless you’ve got a better idea.

Because getting out of self is required for trusting, and for being trusted. Self-centricity is the death of trust.

I don’t think the universe is trying to tell me anything. But there’s lot to be gotten if I listen. In fact, listening may be the point.

0 replies
  1. Brooks C. Sackett
    Brooks C. Sackett says:

    February 9, 2007

    Dear Charlie,
         I truly trust and believe in the here and now. The guitar that you and your son create will be a treasure so great that thoughts of prior attachments and unfulfilled plans will, too, go up in flames.
          Best wishes!

  2. isabella mori
    isabella mori says:

    yay for number three!  and yay for your thoughts.  so often we are tempted to go black and white on this: either there is a benevolent universe out there, or there isn’t.  but really, what’s more interesting is what’s inside our own universe.  who knows whether or not there is someone out there who is trying to tell us something?  but this is for sure, we can always listen, and we can always choose what to make sense of, and how.


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