I Just Needed a Nap

As it turned out, I just needed a nap.  Not even a full-blown sleeping nap, really, just a dozing nap.  That was easy.

I have a lot of hobbies and interests, and most of them cycle in out of my life over different periods of time.  Some, like writing, float back in every few days or weeks, others every few months, and some don’t come back around for a long time, even years.  One of my constants, though, is woodworking.  

“Woodworking” can be a lot of different things, depending on what my wife and I need or want it to be.  Sometimes it’s building the “catio” I wrote about a few weeks ago, and sometimes it’s gluing a chair back together.  On occasion it’s building a larger piece of furniture, and other times it’s cutting stakes so the tomatoes don’t fall over.

Recently, I built a bookshelf.  It was a fairly straightforward piece of furniture, standing about four feet tall and just a bit wider than that.  Lots of straight lines.  I wanted a wall mounted shelf to go on the wall above it, but I also wanted it to be a little bit different.  Not so many straight lines.

Here’s the thing: Most wooden furniture has a lot of straight lines for a reason, and that reason is they’re easy to cut.  Most saws are made to cut straight lines.  Even the finest furniture has a lot of straight lines as well as joints that come together at 90 degrees.  For my shelf, though, I wanted some curves.  

A quick aside for the woodworkers and furniture fans in the crowd: I know that lots of furniture also has curves.  Just not my furniture.  See the above paragraph for the reason.  

So I wanted a curved front on my shelf, but wasn’t sure how to cut it.  I mean, I know several ways to do it (reading about woodworking is another hobby of mine), but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it.  Each way has pros and cons, and I just couldn’t decide which one I wanted to go with.  It would be exaggerating a bit to say I was overcome with indecision, but it was tough.  

So, I took a nap.

Not a full afternoon nap, but not a doze-in-the-chair nap, either.  On the bed, but not under the covers.  Drapes not fully drawn.  You get the picture.

I didn’t expect it, but in retrospect I should have.  Dozing in and out of sleep, I figured out the solution to my problem.  You know, like they do in the movies.  My subconscious mind and all that stuff.  It was, I must say, pretty cool.  

No, I didn’t spring out of bed, but it wasn’t too much longer before I headed down to the woodshop.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I will tell you the plan I realized during my epiphany worked as I thought it would.  My shelf isn’t done yet, but the curves are cut and things are looking good.  

And now I’m looking for another reason to take a nap.  Er, I mean, I’m looking for another problem to solve.

5 thoughts on “I Just Needed a Nap”

  1. My uncle and I once had a conversation about the ability to solve problems while sleeping … an astonishing thing … I suppose because we are temporarily free of all the clamor and distractions and moment-to-moment decision making of daily living. Almost a spiritual thing .. anyway, how wonderful that the answer came to you and worked as you thought! My childhood pastor was also a carpenter; he decided he wanted the entryway of his house to be in a pattern of light and dark wood inlays … said he almost lost his religion over it. Better to take a nap, surely -!


  2. One of the best lessons I have learned by becoming a teacher who writes is that so many problems are solved when I am NOT working on the problem that needs to be solved. Or, not actively trying to solve it. My brain is still going though. I hope you’ll post some shelf pictures!


  3. Tim,
    I saw the bookshelf. You got skills. I’m glad you were able to fix your problem. I often just take a nap, just because. I will remember this trick the next time I have a problem, though.


  4. The power of the mind at rest is awesome. What a great way to find a solution to a problem. We should all practice that problem solving strategy. Would love to see a photo of your final product!


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