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January 26, 2012

On boomerangs and boomeranging (my final guest blog posts at Man Made DIY)

My last two guest blog posts are up at Man Made DIY; the first is on making your own boomerangs from scarps of cardboard (if you're looking at this blog, you've probably already got the skinny on that). The other post is entirely new and starts to get at what I really like about teaching and DIY.

The Spirituality of Boomerangs: On Making Something from Nothing... -- Man Made DIY | Crafts for Men -- Keywords: talk, diy, craft, philosophy

In a nutshell, the cheap toy-store boomerang encompasses the core sadness of "growing up," and highlights what we envy in the "childlike wonder" of children: As we mature, we begin to reflexively doubt that neat things are real, or really as neat as they seem, and start to assume that most of the time most things just aren't going to work as advertised. This is our default setting as Americans: Don't believe the hype. So, if you take a room full of people who are savvy and jaded and know enough not to believe the hype, then give them a ruler and a marker and a pair of scissors and show them how to quickly make a working boomerang out of something they were going to cram in the recycle bin, they become luminous; they've just made something awesome out of trash, and it clearly dawns on them that there are a whole lot of other things they could make, too. They could remake the world.

Check 'em out. Thanks!

January 23, 2012

Crafting Liberation: Confessions of an Unredeemable Direction-Follower

I'm still guest blogging at Man Made DIY this week; please feel free to check my latest post out and, if you feel so moved, chime in. Thanks!

Crafting Liberation: Confessions of an Unredeemable Direction-Follower -- Man Made DIY | Crafts for Men -- Keywords: recipe, talk, cooking, craft

I’m an unredeemable direction-follower. As a boy, I’d account for the meniscus when measuring water to make Ramen noodles. As a man, I was relentlessly mocked by my wife for my stove-side devotion to the succinct instructions of Mark Bittman . . . . This, obviously, is the pathology of a man terrified of failure--that I ever wrote anything at all, let alone an entire damn book (let alone several!) is itself a crippled miracle. While DIY is obviously empowering--My stove was broken, now it’s fixed; I did that!--having instructions in hand can really quickly shackle us, as it’s so easy to mistake a good way of doing X for the only way to do X. . . .

January 19, 2012

If you're a crafter/maker, this is a worthwhile Kickstarter project

Or, really, a worthwhile investment; there is a *lot* of disorganized info floating around the web explaining how one *might* transition his/her DIY habits into some sort of business that at least defrays its own costs--and maybe even puts some meaningful scratch in the coffers. What's missing in my humble, is an organized set of case studies from actual makers/crafters who've made their DIY hobbies into stable businesses.

I've interfaced with TJ a little, over email and Skype; he's a good guy, and really well suited to putting this project together. Dave's advice: Go in with at least $15 so you can get the ebook.

Makers Going Pro by TJ McCue — Kickstarter

January 16, 2012

Guest blogging at Man Made DIY is *GOOOOO!!!*

I'm guest blogging all this week at Man Made DIY and the first of these posts just went live. Tune in later this week for project-specific stuff, as well as some general DIYing advice and things I've learned since writing Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred.

The Craft and Commerce of Writing -- Man Made DIY | Crafts for Men -- Keywords: talk, work, craft, writing

I never set out to write a craft book--or, for that matter, to write business columns, or reference materials, or textbooks on teen sex and Chernobyl, or basically anything that's paid the bills over the last five years. I'd written for years, but it had been an after-hours art: Essays about technology and sexuality and Detroit's decay; stories about clockwork robots, haunted dogs, monster wives, and giant squid--the kind of stuff you gut out after dark; the kind of stuff you write for the consuming love of finding how to say it. The kind of stuff that's hard to sell.

January 11, 2012

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: dave-o guestblogging at Man Made DIY later this month

Just a quick note: I'll be guest blogging about DIY, writing, crafting, boomerangs, sewing, Jewish cosmology, and God-doesn't-even-know what else at Man Made DIY from Jan 16 to 20. Come visit and join the discussion!

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About the Author


David Erik Nelson is an award-winning science-fiction author and essayist. His fiction has appeared in Asimov's, The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded.

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    Make cool things (water rockets, cardboard boomerangs, a $10 electric guitar, a sock squid, etc.) while learning cool skills (basic soldering, sewing, carpentry, woodburning, etc.), and do it all on the cheap (most projects are under $10, many supplies are *FREE*).
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