I am so sick of my own process that I could just about puke. I place enormous value on self-reflexive methods of growth and evolution, but seriously. All things in moderation, right?
I’m doing the least I can—check. Moving through fearwads as they arise—check. Dealing with my shit the best way I know how--check. Remaining engaged and present, open to what is—check.
Great. Could we do something else now, please?
I crochet. It started when my chiro suggested that a handcraft might help me move more energy into my creativity. I figured, okay, what can I do that’s cheap? I had two old crochet hooks and one knitting needle in the bottom of an old sewing kit. I had some interesting leftover yarns from making hairfalls for Burning Man. Seemed ideal. I got a book targeted at 9 year olds or so and taught myself basic stitches.
Then I got another book and learned more. Then I went out on the net and learned how to read patterns (they’re written in glyphs, not words, so some learning curve there).
I started by following directions, learning the “rules.” Then I kinda went off on my own, making simple things according to what I’d learned about the rules. Then I got bored.
I got tired of doing the same thing repetitively. Then I found freeform (also called scrumbling which the urban dictionary defines as "blowing a raspberry on someone’s testicles" (go figure I'd have a hobby that has a connection to doing odd things to people's naughty bits, huh?). I started to paint with yarn.
I’m only a beginner. I’m still learning about how different weights of yarn and different stitches can dance with each other harmoniously. I’m still learning how to make it lay flat, how to get it to do what I want. I’m still using the rules and stitches I learned early on, but now I’m having my way with them.
I’ve been working on my learning piece for 2 months. Not every day, but steadily, and some days for hours and hours. Creating beauty calms me. Struggling with creation centers me. Watching a something emerge form a not-bloody-much fascinates me. And I now have concrete proof that I can start a long-term project and finish it, even knowing for a fact that it’s utterly imperfect in more ways than I can count.
And now it is complete. I finished it last night—wove the loose ends in, tidied up, that sort of thing. Imperfect as it may be, I did it and it’s mine. I learned a lot from it. Each time I look at it-even though I made it-I see something new. That seems improbable to me, but there you have it. I journalled and photographed its becoming; I’ve never done that with art before. It was interesting, and a definite exercise in discipline for me.
So my first try ends here. Completion achieved. The work even inspired me to write a poem (which also helped when I was facilitating the writer’s group for the Emma Center, because my cowriters got to watch a piece get written, worked on, change, and be finished--it's down at the bottom of this post). And I got to go through the process of writing as a process. This is good for me because I have a nasty, sabotagy tendency to quit if something doesn’t come out perfect and finished on the first try (a lethal habit I am striving to unlearn).
My fingers itch already for something new to work on. I’m lying on the grass of my brain, looking up at the moving cloudforms of my thoughts, becoming willing to let an inspiration find me and light me up. I have no doubt it will, and I have no doubt that the more practice I get in doing that the better off I’ll be as I walk off into my own new sunrise.
approx size = 2.5x2.5 feet.
Crocheting a Poem
I pick up my pointy stick and begin to inscribe patterns:
loops, lines, stringy language;
each row builds on the last and becomes the next.
I hope the one before makes sense
or the followers are lost.
Tension is critical. If I make the next word too tight
or too loose
the other words will have a hard time figuring out where they belong
and the work won’t lay flat on the page when it’s done.
If I don’t balance creation with control,
it will curl around the edges:
that makes a poem harder to wear.
If I can craft this poem,
allow it to become,
witness the tango of colors,
pace my hands and feet,
weave a rhythm,
I will have made something that might
clothe a naked form,
or offer nice, warm beauty
on a cold, blocked night.
I cut the working strands
and weave in the ends.
Good finishing is invisible.