So, back to the
What I didn’t expect was the instantaneous responses—comments came pouring in (Oh—Sandi did warn me, but did I believe her? Her posts might generate hundreds of responses, but she’s lovely, adorable Sandi--but I certainly didn’t think mine would.) So far I’ve received hundreds of notes from knitters (and
Before. He. Dies.
Having just lost my very dear Grandmother rather suddenly and unexpectedly, these admonitions from people I don’t know are hitting a very raw, tender spot. I forwarded the post to my Dad with the promise that this year is the year that I will finish the sweater. His response? Totally in line with the wonderful man who is my father—how could I have been guilt-ridden? He knows me. He understands me. He confessed, that as a word-man (he’s a professor of language, literacy, and culture), the story I wrote about the sweater probably means more to him than the sweater itself. Well, of course I believe him—but also, I think he’s being very generous with me. I think he’s demonstrating one of his most admirable qualities (and he has so many), he loves his children for who they are. As one of the knitters said—that sweater is a promise to my Dad—and by not finishing it, I’m not keeping it the promise. Well, that made me sit up straight and listen. But I think it was more the encouraging stories of projects that took years, but were eventually finished that really helped me see that finishing the sweater will be a wonderful and good thing.
But all this thought about process reiterated what I’ve known for a long time . . . that I am not a linear thinker. Sure, I knew I was creative (I was an art major, afterall), but this experience helped me see my creative process in a new light. I work on things a little at a time. I work in a continuously growing spiral. If all my projects were lined up in a room, I would work a few minutes on each one until they were all completed. And I do complete things. To the more linear thinkers (my wonderful husband for instance)—this way of working may not make sense—but it works for me. Some projects have deadlines and require more attention than others, but basically, this is the way I handle my life. I get up in the morning, on my way downstairs, I take a load of laundry to landing, while in the kitchen, I clean up the dishes while I wait for my morning tea to heat up, I add the dishtowels to the laundry on the landing, I need some thing from the pantry in the basement, so I take the laundry downstairs, start a load of laundry, pick up the item from the pantry, take it up stairs along with the clean load of laundry that was in the dryer. Back in the bedroom, I start folding the laundry. I do a little bit at a time and it all gets done. Part of this is because of my attentio
My creative life is dominated by spinning and beads—both resonate with the spiral. I bead photographs with a spiral that starts in the center and works out, I spin yarn—the ultimate spiral. It is a spiral that is connected to the most basic elements of life, the spiraling pattern of DNA, the gentle growth pattern of a fern, the curve of a snail’s shell. This spiral begins in the center, and grows slowly out and around, reaching out and touching things on all sides as it moves in a pattern that grows outward, and yet repeats itself, each time in a different iteration, each time the same and yet different. And then it is complete and a new spiral begins. And sometimes these spiraling lines overlap, connect and grow. The twist, the spiral is always in the yarn, sometimes asleep, but always ready for life.