We all know how writers get writer’s block; well it is no different for designers. Let’s face it; all creative people hit a wall at some point. The architecture profession unfortunately holds on to these old romantic notions that we must chain ourselves to our work until it is done. I would argue that this antiquated and somewhat masochistic practice of working all hours is impractical, inefficient and counterproductive. In this new 21st century, in the age of instant messaging, hundreds of daily emails, tighter and tighter deadlines, we need a life away from the steady grind. I tell young interns all the time not to take themselves too seriously and to find a hobby that interests them and impassions them as much as architecture. At some point it comes in handy. Sometimes you just need to clear your head and walk away. You need to hit that off button.
For me being grounded in southwestern Montana, it is easy to find distractions with the vast outdoors and expansive landscapes. Hiking, painting, photography, and more recently, mountain biking have all provided me with some much needed stress relief, but I wouldn’t be here today without fly fishing. Simply, it defines who I am as much as architecture does. Fly fishing levels and balances me. I have tried to live by a simple rule of breaking my life into thirds. I third of my time is spent with family, a third of time is spent on architecture and a third of time is spent on my mental maintenance. That is where fly fishing comes in.
Fly fishing gives me that child-like sense of wonder.
When I have a fly rod in my hand there is nothing else on my mind then figuring out how to convince a fish to take my fly. Everything else fades away and shuts down. Ironically I have found that fly fishing is not that much different then architecture. In order to be consistent, you need a honed skill set at problem solving. There are always multiple solutions that need to be weighed out, and things are constantly changing where you never get the same results twice. Fly fishing is not any cheaper then therapy, but it is a lot more fun…..
A.F. Perpignano, AIA CWG Architects