On the tail of an old year, a small garland is finished.
At some point in the New Year, the walls will be transformed into the color of a mid-summer poppy, because why would I paint just a bedroom, when I can paint a living room and kitchen? (And by “I”, I think we know I mean someone other than me.)
I cut hundreds of little felt circles in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I learned to anchor a stitch. I taught myself to sew. A bit. But what I really learned was how to take a moment.
It’s not that I loved making this garland. I didn’t. There was something to the repetition, of seeing the circles begin to pile up and how beautiful the colors were. And how I do love color…
At the end of 2011, this garland has reminded me that I love to be. I love working with my hands whether it’s building a deck, making little clay people, making cakes or writing a book. I thrive on monotonous work because it strengthens my mind. It builds my resolve. Creation rejuvenates me.
It teaches me that I can create beauty even if I’m the only one who sees it. It teaches me that my opinion counts and that sometimes you have to step away from one thing, and in so doing, you may find the answers for which you search.
You can’t rush cutting felt. It gets fuzzy, ugly. As soon I wanted to be done stitching the circles, the thread would get unwieldy, knotting up, loose strings waving their strands loose, unkempt, a cheerleader on prom night. Slow down, I had to remind myself. You could be writing, yes, but you’re not.
Do what you’re doing and only this.
Sometimes people ask me, how I get so much done and the answer is truly that I don’t unless I focus on one little thing at a time. I just have many little things that I rotate between.
I’ve found that some people can work every moment and pound out a book and I’m finally coming to terms with not being that writer. I don’t have that kind of book. I’m not that person. My book is more like this garland. And it’s almost big enough for the tree. Many small steps layer one upon the other until what it becomes is bigger than the individual parts. I hope.
I don’t go in for resolutions, but this year the end coincides with the wind blowing in technicolor. I’ve been writing like a madwoman and can see the end, the real end. Next comes the stringing, scene upon scene, rewriting and making sure the colors look just right next to one another. It may not fit a huge tree, but it may just be big enough and beautiful enough if I take the time to do it right. Not fast, but right.
I have some longstanding (or more appropriately sitting) weight that needs to come off. After all, I have a shirt to look awesome in. And then there’s my first writing conference. How that’s going to work, with three kids to attend to, I don’t know. What I do know is somehow it will. I may not be able to attend all the sessions I want to, but you know what? That’s okay. I’m a mother, a writer, a crafty minx, and a wife. I’ll take what I can even if it’s not the full monte.
And then there’s my friends. All of you.
A year ago, I didn’t know I had such a void. I thought I could sustain the writing on my own. But you know what? I needed to meet all of you to push me, to encourage me, to give the keep going, and hopefully I’ve given a fraction of what I’ve received.
You are amazing.
Happy New Year. May this year see a dream or two come true.