Douglas said something very kind below about my bee-adorned mailbox, which happened to touch on the central crisis of my life.
Though a successful architectural student, I wasn't cut out to be an architect. I have no gift for arranging spaces to be beautiful or surprising. My gift instead lay in working out floor plans in two dimensions, and solving problems, and taking standardized tests. (It's a little-known fact that standardized tests are designed to measure how close the test-takers are to someone exactly like me.) I love the good architecture created by other people. But figuring out that architecture was a blind alley for myself was the most wrenching decision I ever made: dropping out of the graduate school that had awarded a full scholarship. I drifted for a long time afterwards before stumbling onto law school. Then in every single interview for three years, I had to answer the question, "Why did you drop out of architecture to pursue law?" Though I eventually worked out a brief answer that seemed to satisfy people, the choice occasionally bubbles to the surface to this day. There is a haunting line in a Leonard Cohen song: "The skyline is like skin on a drum I'll never mend." For whatever reason, the compulsion was unanswerable.
We were told in architecture school that we'd be shot if they caught us reading "The Fountainhead," but the horse was long out of the barn on that insidious romantic message.
I was meant to be a decorative artist, probably: in an earlier age I'd have made sure that all the handmade items like swords and doorknobs and keyhole plates were properly embellished, like those gorgeous Scythian tools carved with reindeer. My bee, for instance, lit me up on all registers, as something worth doing in its own right. He makes me happy every time I drive up to my gate. In contrast, no building design of my own creation ever once inspired me with a burning desire to see it built. I figured, an architect has to be practically willing to die to see his stuff go up, or it will never happen, it's such a difficult process. In my heart of hearts, I didn't like my designs. How would I persuade a wavering client to buy and build them?
Here's a mosaic that lights me up, in the Houston Intercontinental Airport, designed and executed by Dixie Friend Gay. It took a year's work from four artisans and 1-1/2 million pieces of glass tile. This definitely would be a job worth having. Check out the other views in the link; this work is on a long, undulating wall. I want one.
Never cared that much for law in its own right, but I could make a bazillion bucks and retire early, and a passion for identifying logical flaws makes me a good brief-writer and law review editor if not an all-around good lawyer.