Watts Towers + Patience

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

Saturday morning rolled around and my excitement could hardly contain itself. This was the day I would finally meet the enigmatic Emma James of Pleasure Notes. She posted a list of intentions on the last day of 2009, and on that list fell “Visit Watts Towers.” I read her list back in early January, and I thought, Hey, I want to go, too!! My intuition told me this Pleasure Notes writer was not a creepy blogger I ought to steer clear of, so I sent her a message letting her know I’d be up for a field trip, as I wanted to visit Watts Towers, myself. What a right choice I made in reaching out to my new friend.

Meeting Emma

The plan was to meet around 2pm nearby the Towers at a coffee house and then head over together. Only, when I arrived, I couldn’t find the coffee house that Google Maps directed me to. And traffic was horrible for my field trip partner, so she would be late. No mind, though, I’d find a place to sit and wait, and maybe read up on Watts Towers like I’d been “planning” on doing in the weeks leading up to the trip. I sat, I read, and it hardly felt like waiting. Until it was 2:40 and I worried that I’d go all that way and not see the Towers because I was waiting on someone else. And well, that just seemed silly.

I started my car and headed towards the towers, trusting that Emma would find her way sooner or later, and contact me when she did. I was correct in that line of thinking, and just as I walked across the street after parking, I got a call from an unrecognized number: Emma!! She was around the corner and would be there in a few minutes. And she was.

Watts Towers

This little collage does absolutely no justice, as a) my photography skills are next to nil, and b) you just have to see this place for yourself. Still, I feel the need to show you some of what I saw:

From afar, the towers look like you or I could have spent a couple of days putting them up with a Linkin Logs diagram. But on closer inspection, it’s quite apparent that it took the builder, Simon Rodia, 33 years to construct the 7 structures. He used glass bottles, porcelain and ceramic plates and cups, sea shells, colored tile, concrete mixture and rebar. He used tiling tools and his hands. He used one ladder and no scaffolding. He used these things and not a single hand that was not his own in his creation.

I had in mind to do something big and I did it.
~ Simon Rodia

This man amazes me. I think about all the things I’ve been hasty to drop because it took too long to finish, or I simply didn’t feel like completing. I say this not to compare myself to this man, but to give context to the great accomplishment he achieved. He had passion in his soul for something big, and he let nothing get in his way.

He didn’t think it was impossible to build seven structures from the ground up using nothing but broken Clorox and Bubble Up and 7-Up and Canada Dry Gingerale bottles and shards of plates and mugs and teapots and seashells as decoration. He didn’t think it was impossible to build these structures using only tiling tools and his hands. He didn’t think it was impossible to do it all by himself.

This man and his masterpiece inspire me. Not to spend the next 33 years in isolation to complete my masterpiece, but to indeed complete my masterpiece. However long it takes. Whatever materials it takes. Whatever tools it takes. Whatever impossibilities lay mirage in front of me. I imagine that Simon Rodia did not know how to build what would become the Watts Towers when he began. But he did when he was finished. And that is inspiration.

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December.8.2010 at 4.47 pm


emma March.15.2010 at 9.43 pm

Such a fabulous time!

Jennifer Prentice March.16.2010 at 6.24 am

“Complete the masterpiece.” I might have to make that my new mantra as I try to do that things I've been feeling I should do…whatever it is. Oh! And good to know that Emma is not a creepy blogger. I'm going to be meeting her next week when I'm in LA! You're welcome to join!!

TheWordWire March.16.2010 at 4.10 pm

Cool place! I've heard of Watt's Towers before, but don't think I ever really knew what it was. I've now got that on my someday to-see list as well. Thanks for sharing!

Dian Reid March.16.2010 at 5.23 pm

Oh, you're in for a treat, she's for sure the opposite of creepy =).
That'd be fun to meet up with you both!! Email me and I'll see what's on the calendar for next week.

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