Do you find yourself starting more kits than you finish? Do you ever complete anything? Do you eye up the plastic in the box, as you stand in the hobby store and picture the model on your display shelf with spotless construction and a flawless finish? If so, you are likely already firmly in the grip of ‘the serial killer’, that murderer of motivation, the annihilator of ambition and crusher of confidence. It is ‘The Babadook’ of modelling…
The Babadook enters your life through the boxes of kits you bring hopefully into your home (ie ‘hoping’ your significant other hasn’t 1. Noticed; 2. Already compiled a detailed inventory of existing guilt; 3. Kept up to date with the joint account…or all three…). It lurks just out of direct sight, in the shadows of your mind. The Babadook thrives and flourishes on a diet of high ambition and lofty ideals and greedily strips its victims of these notional concepts, leaving the modeller bereft, as the latest project loses its shine and appeal and is relegated to the burgeoning pile of false starts.
But The Babadook has a weakness. A chink in its armour. It preys on fear of failure; of somehow not living up to the standards victims set for themselves, standards that are often nothing more than simply those of other modellers, rather than truly of ourselves. That’s nonetheless understandable – we’re all bombarded daily, across the gamut of our lives, with intense and highly focussed advertising, promising perfect skin, teeth and appearance, health, wealth and fairy tale relationships and these unrealistic and misleading messages also extend their groping tentacles into our hobby and beyond. ‘Buy this book’, ‘read this magazine’, ‘watch this DVD or online video’ and become an all-conquoring ‘champion of plastic’. Some can. Some do. For most though, the chase leads rapidly into the welcoming arms of The Babadook and thence, into the dingy basement of the mind that serial starters are doomed to call ‘home’.
And there’s the rub; The Babadook isn’t ‘real’. The high ambition and lofty ideals exist only as abstract concepts of the mind. None of it is ‘real’ unless you think it so. The solution, as well as the problem, begins and ends with you. Step one is to let go of expectation, just enjoy the ride and finish the project. Step two is to use your knowledge and experience to best advantage while again, relinquishing expectation and finishing the project. Step three is to understand that the root of happiness and contentment is ‘acceptance’.
I read once that ‘nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so’ but the author of this piece of quasi-psycology clearly hadn’t considered the prospect of being thrown into a live volcano for instance. We can be sure that if he or she were dropped into a lake of molten rock they’d think that that was ‘bad’ all the way down…and no-one with a working majority of their marbles still intact would argue with the veracity of that judgement.
So, stop the rot, be happy in everything you build and look forward with keen excitement to what comes next. I’ve always expressed the intent (as a one time, long, long, long time serial starter) that my modelling would thereafter be a journey in which I’d be always travelling but never arriving and there’s no room on that train for ‘The Babadook’…
Until next time.