Brick by Proverbial Brick

Every industry has its bricklaying analogy. Except construction.

An aerial shot of a pile of bricks

You might have heard a different version of this analogy, the one about the furniture maker. Writing is like making a table, the analogy goes. Writing is just another way to build something, brick by brick. The work may be a craft. The work may be a tradition, handed down for generations by a practitioner’s ancestors. But it’s still work. The analogy isn’t just about making something practical or useful, though it tends to imply that. The point of invoking brick imagery is usually to remind us that making something new is just another job.

I’ve been thinking about bricks because I was in a post-traumatic funk all weekend. I have a long history with the term brick-and-mortar, which refers to a business with a physical storefront. I’m very aware that Pipe Wrench is just another ephemeral website with some checkout flows. Maintaining digital infrastructure — hooking everything up so it all talks to each other, cooperates, and even remotely works — still hits me like a ton of bricks every morning.

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