I just finished Romulus, My Father by Raimond Gaita. I drew much inspiration from this beautifully recounted memoir. Though I cannot claim to have had a similar loving relationship with my father as Professor Gaita did with his, I have begun to write my own memoir of the influences my father had on my life.
One thing above all else that I learned from Romulus, My Father, was about the relationship between a craftsman’s work and his character. Romulus Gaita was a craftsman. He had immense skill, took pride in his work, delivered high quality products and gained a reputation for this. The work he did and his dedication to it, informed his character as a man, his virtues, morality and ethics.
As I read, I reflected on my own father’s work as a craftsman. Like Romulus, he employed his skill, craft and work ethic to all areas of his and our lives, not just at work. My father too was a man of character. Hard working and dedicated to producing quality goods, whether they be a table fashioned from a fallen walnut tree or the honey manufactured by his bees, my Dad took pride in his craftsmanship and respected it in others.
Like Romulus, he was more interested in having manufactured something well, that would last, than to have produced something aesthetically pleasing. And like the young Raimond, I always respected such virtues of my father, even if I did not fully understand them.
So, though I will write a very different memoir, I now realise the tie between work and character to be a central theme. I had been searching for how to express it. Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman, I don’t think expresses this as succinctly or coherently (though I do greatly admire his writings). I see the book I will write as somewhere between these two influential publications. I only hope I can write something as worthwhile, and that my father might have been proud of.