This past week, my family and I vacationed in Mystic, Connecticut. Like so many old adorable towns throughout the US, Mystic embodies a sense of history that allows us to appreciate older crafts that have since succumbed to technology.
Literally across the street from the house we rented was a full-scale replica of the Mayflower being restored. This is the view from our front window:
And a clearer view of it from the other side:
It is part of the Mystic Seaport Museum, which showcases the craft of shipbuilding with real workshops:
Throughout the trip, we stepped on and off boats, and constantly wondered out loud, “Wow, they really lived like this?” The ships themselves are majestic:
But the living quarters for the crew seem torturous. Imagine sleeping here for months or years at a time:
We visited a printing press that showcased the old way of how print worked:
It makes these very words I’m writing seem downright magical by comparison. My ability to “typeset” on the keyboard, and to “print” with the click of a button, and to “publish and distribute” just as easily.
A highlight of our trip was a visit to the Mystic library. Just look at this main room:
And in the corner, this framed photo hung on the wall:
I don’t know any of the context for this image, but I imagine the woman to be a beloved librarian from decades ago, petting a cat who resided in the library. A tribute to someone who helped the community connect to knowledge and stories.
To me, the trip was a wonderful appreciation of craft. Of how it defines our days, and what we are capable of.
I was also reminded of the laborious effort involved to create and connect back then.
To not just write, but to have the considerable means to print. To rely fully on others recommending your book in the right moment. And then, to hope your stories spread from person to person, town to town, all around the world.
Every day, I speak to writers about the challenges they face in finding their voice, creating their stories and books, and connecting to readers.
While I appreciate the beauty of craft from years ago, I marvel at our current ability to create and connect with each other.
I love that craft is being preserved in Mystic. But I am returning from vacation energized to help writers pursue their craft right here, right now.
What will you create today?