Over at The Erratic and wandering Journey, author Simon Dunkley has raised an interesting point about how we approach the hobby.
Simon takes issue with a phrase we often hear in the hobby. Here it is:
I think hand track laying is one of those talents which is limited to those that can.
The phrase is specifically about track – but it applies equally to almost everything in the hobby. To wit:
I think airbrushing is one of those talents which is limited to those that can.
I think building a realistic tree is one of those talents which is limited to those that can.
I think installing a DCC decoder is one of those talents which is limited to those that can.
I think reading a blog is one of those talents which is limited to those that can.
And to be fair to the person who made this statement, they’re right if the statement is taken at face value: Only those who can do something, can do it. But of course what the person is really saying is, “I can’t do this, because I don’t have the talent”.
At which point, this person has already lost the battle. But, perhaps, not the war.
That’s because none of us – not a single person in this hobby – started with a talent for any aspect of railway modelling that was conferred on them by birth. Nobody emerged from the womb knowing how to solder a wire, or drive a screw, or saw a board, or any of the thousands of other skills required to built a layout.
The person who has decided he can’t hand lay track? Maybe he hasn’t tried. Or maybe he has tried, but it didn’t work.
Those of us who can hand lay track? We failed, too – in my case, many, many times. I have hand built some awful track in my time. (I’ve also blown up DCC decoders… fabricated laughable trees… splattered paint from an airbrush like a graduate of a pre-school finger-painting class… and more.) After those initial failures, the key is to try to understand what went wrong, modify one’s procedure, and try again. And again, and again, until one succeeds.
So with that in mind… and with the new year upon us… I’ll make a resolution to tackle something in this hobby that I cannot currently do, and then over the course of 2015 work on it until I can do it. I’m not sure what that thing is yet, and I won’t add pressure to myself by declaring it publicly because I hate resolutions like that and this is, after all, a hobby.
I look forward to discovering that I can do something new…