What a difference a day makes. Gone are the dark clouds that bore down on my spirit yesterday. Today I finished up the machine quilting with relative ease and prepared a binding out of light blue cloud material. It will give the quilt a light and airy feeling; hopefully it will help the little boy fall asleep and have happy dreams.
Two things helped make today more productive: 1) the confidence gained from yesterday’s struggles and the technical progress achieved; and 2) the happy prospect of meeting a new friend after work. We met to discuss the “Write YOUR Story” workshop which we’ll be teaching together this fall to local kids.
My new friend is a collector of vintage typewriters (is there any other kind?!). I remember them well; once upon a time, I wrote an entire thesis on a manual typewriter like the one pictured here. It was hard work and definitely discouraged any rewriting one might think of doing. The anguish of retyping entire pages after finding a mistake, and having to measure the paper for footnote placements at the bottom, is still a painful memory. Thank goodness for laptops!
Yet in listening to his enthusiastic description of old typewriters, and anecdotes about the people he’s been meeting at a local typewriter repair shop, I started to feel enthusiastic for writing in ways I thought I’d lost forever… It occurred to me that all kinds of new vistas may open up, like holding Type-Ins at a local coffee shop, or maybe setting up a booth for poetry-writing at the West Seattle Market next summer! The sound of clicking keys and the bell ringing as the carriage flies back and forth would bring a new dimension to the scene; it would prompt a flood of memories for some of us and intrigue others who’ve been raised on flat soundless screens. Who knows what little treasures of poetry and prose may materialize on site? Wouldn’t it be fun to get kids involved too?!
Meanwhile, I’m already thinking about my next baby quilt. It will be for a fellow T’ai chi student at the Seattle Kung Fu Club who’s having a baby this fall, and everybody at the club will be invited to submit a scrap of fabric for the quilt. The paper you see on the quilt-in-progress has the Chinese character for child; it will become a sign inviting donations of fabric for her quilt.
Connecting with these new people is the secret ingredient to happiness and creative development. Getting to know people in my new/old hometown, and thinking of ways to enrich our lives together, gives me the impetus I need to keep going as a teacher, a writer, and as a maker of quilts. That emotional foundation makes sense, even though I didn’t realize it until just now. As Twyla Tharp writes in her wonderful book, The Creative Habit: “Without passion, all the skill in the world won’t lift you above craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. Combining the two is the essence of the creative life.”
That’s it for now; bon weekend!