If I was a sculptor, the first thing I’d do is search for a slab of stone. Not just any chunk of rock mind you, but a perfect slab of pure white marble previously unseen and untouched by human hands. I’d claw my way through every quarry and field, digging in the deepest, darkest crevices where no one had ever dared go. That’s where the best slabs come from…dug up from the deepest crevices of one’s own mind.
Once I found that perfect slab I’d place it in my studio on a pedestal so I could study it. I’d look at it from every angle, with and without light, checking for how the shadows moved as the lights changed. I’d take my calloused hands and run them gently over the surface, reassuring the stone there was no need to be frightened. The metamorphosis that awaited would not be painless, but in the end the marble slab would be molded into something beautiful, something worthy of being shared. I’d continue to comfort the slab while my fingers patiently sought out every nook, chip and crevice. I’d wait patiently, even if it took an eternity, until the slab spoke to me, telling me what it would like to become.
I’d lay out my tools in preparation: hammers, chisels, sandpaper, and polish. I’d hold the familiar tools in my hand, inspect the worn grips, and sharpen the chisels. And when the slab shivered, frightened at the prospect at what lie ahead, I’d whisper soft words of encouragement until the stone once again calmed.
Satisfied, I’d select the proper hammer and chisel and hold them in my sturdy embrace. Like an artist putting brush to canvas, or a writer putting pen to paper, I’d delicately align the chisel to rock and raise the hammer in anticipation of the first blow.
And then, as I swing the hammer, I hear a voice inside my head. It is the marble slab talking to me. I’m barely able to stop the blow in time, but I succeed, skinning my knuckles in the process. I listen to the voice as it pleads its case. When the voice stops, I put down my tools and put them away.
A tear rolls down my cheek as I move the white marble rock to its new location among the other slabs of granite, marble and limestone. All of the slabs are in their original condition. Some are round, some square, most a variation of the two. They all have random dings and cracks and chips, but they all have one thing in common. They are perfect.
That is what the voice explained to me. The marble slab thanked me for the opportunity to become something different, something beautiful, but it also explained that if I stared at it long enough I would eventually realize it was already all those things and more. It was everything I could imagine rolled into one. As long as it was whole it could be anything I wanted it to be—anything everyone wanted it to be. But the moment my hammer connected, spilled its powdered life dust all over my hands, it would forever more cease to be everything and become only that one thing.
Who am I to make that kind of decision?
Now when I look at the slab all I see is perfection. For it is everything and everyone and will stay that way until the end of time. If I was a sculptor.