...... My writing partner has given the next challenge - "My Stuff." It couldn't come at a better time. The change of seasons always makes me re-examine "my stuff." This would be the bits and bobs, flotsam and jetsam of a life spent grappling with the creative process.
I know creativity takes many routes, all with their own specific equipment. Yes, I have paint brushes for oils and now paint brushes for water colour and since I don't use acrylic, I am spared the space for those brushes as well. Who knew there could be so many varied bits of camel hair affixed to a piece of wood?
But, these creative sticks and their respective tubes of colour are not really "my" stuff. Nor is the calligraphy ink, the pens, the writing paper etc...etc... When I die, just bury me in a corner of Deserres.
I merely dabble in drawing and painting. However, I drown in fabric and yarn! Last year, I had to clear out a corner of the basement. I reorganized "my stuff" into 16 cloth bins in both the living room and dining room. This "stuff" would be the works in progress, as well as, their raw materials. I had already stored most of my finished work in various drawers upstairs and of course there are the closets.
It was then that I realized my creativity is not only varied, it is also cyclical. For the most part I write. I make notes in journals, I write this weblog, I write letters to friends...enemies and I have written a novel, which will begin it's second draft soon.
When I get tired of writing, I knit (or crochet.) I still move my hands, but my mind can rest on the return rows or in the successive loops of a double crochet. I'm not sure where I got the gene for writing, but I know I inherited the ability to knit and dance from my mother's biological mother (my mother was adopted). These are not necessarily related talents, however, they are both very rhythmical activities. Fortunately, a few CDs will provide me with enough music to satisfy my urge to dance. However, I need yarn to knit and crochet. This is where the "stuff" accumulates. I have stashes of yarn. I ran a yarn business for 25 years. I have discarded more hand knit sweaters (for various reasons) than I have in my finished collection and I have enough balls and skeins of yarn to knit them all over again. Yarn could be the "stuff" that not only fills up my physical space, but also clogs my mental capacities. It toys with my sanity and keeps me from seeing the reality of life - more yarn does not equal more money for basic needs. I have to force myself to remember - you can't eat merino unless it's roasted
However, before I was a yarn junkie, I was a fabric junkie, as was my mother. OK, she did knit and crochet, but her real obsession was sewing. She sewed all my clothes until I was old enough to sew for myself. From then on, I sewed almost everything I wore until I was 30, when I finally had the money to buy ready-made clothes in a real clothing store. This fact, however, did not stop me from buying fabric. I made gifts for friends, sewed for my children and ultimately bought more fabric than I had the ideas (or sense) for.
As a result, over the years, I have probably given away more fabric than yarn. I realize, though, that this clearing out of "stuff" doesn't solve the problem of "too much stuff." It simply creates a vacuum, which needs to be filled, with newer "stuff." And, of course, I never throw out everything. I still have, in my stash, a length of red plaid silk, which my mother's friend, Anne, sent to her from Thailand, when Anne and her husband were stationed there during the war. Now, I must find something to do with it, as it will never be appreciated by the next generation. The bolt stops here!
I don't sew clothes as much anymore. I tend to use my fabric stash for embroidered projects. I have in one of those cloth bins, I mentioned earlier, 24 boxes of my mother's embroidery floss. I am making a valiant effort to use it up!! In fact, I have just started my third memory quilt. It's an accent throw for my daughter's Queen-sized bed, based on her Girl Guide badges. Below is her hostess badge and my quilt interpretation.
She is an achiever and her awards are many - this may take a while. Alas, here I am working with other people's "stuff," as well as my own. There is no end to the madness. The collecting for and the execution of the creative process is rarely balanced. There is always a lot more of the collecting than there is of the executed product. That being said, I have lost count of the number of lace patterns I have on Ravelry and of course I have bins (note the plural) of scarves and shawls that I can't throw out.
What I rarely collect are kitchen gadgets, even though I love to cook. But I did buy a freezer this year - to collect food, I suppose. I guess we can deceive ourselves.
I can, however, dispense with an awkward plant and I've have stopped rooting cuttings from the house plants I have. Oh ya, I forget to mention gardening. I have dozens of plants both indoor and outdoor. Fortunately, I can leave the culling of that "stuff" to nature.
Maybe this is why I write. I have to clear a path through all this physical debris to get some sort of form and order in my mind. Writing is about structure, channeling our emotions, our thoughts our wildest dreams into precise words and clear sentences. Something tells me though I cannot do this all the time. Every once in a while I have to do this...
...with "my stuff."
Have a creative day!