Thursday, May 17, 2012

As in Cross-Stitch, so it is in Writing

One of the things I love most about cross-stitch is the way the picture emerges from tiny stitches and colored threads.

It begins with a blob of color that grows with each stitch and each new color from nothing special to something quite beautiful -- if I do it right. I have moments when I get frustrated and tear out stitches because I've counted wrong or read the wrong part of the pattern, but mostly I get it right and can't resist stopping to unroll my work just to look at what emerges.

I'm working on Xmas stockings for my grandchildren this year. It's different than what I've given them in the past and I hope it will be something they will treasure and use each year, remembering that it was made especially for them.

I'm working on a cute pattern that is much prettier as it emerges from the amorphous collection of stitches and colors. I have just finished the bottom half of the stocking and am now working on the top, finishing off stray stitches and making sure the back is as neat as the front with no loose threads. The cat and kitten's eyes are finished and I'm moving on to the rest of the tree and ornaments.

Cross-stitch is calming, despite scattered moments of frustration, and reminds me of how I feel when I paint or draw -- and especially when I write. I begin with an idea, begin writing, and from the words and sentences, paragraphs and pages, emerges a book complete and far more inventive than what it was when I began. That is true of all the creative projects I have done and continue to do.

I feel best and happiest when I'm creating and, for a while, cross-stitch has fulfilled my need to create. I will continue with the stocking and the last 2 I need to make for this year well ahead of schedule, and I will also continue writing, exorcising the dreams that plague me with snatches of conversation, plots, description, and the urgency the dreams fill me with when I'm not writing. There is room enough for more than one creative art in my life and I must have writing or be caught in an endless cycle of realistic dreams that invade my waking and sleeping worlds. At least with cross-stitch there is an end and with writing there is always one more thing to add, one more paragraph to trim, and a few more words to choose to exorcise or leave.

In a couple more weeks, I will have another Xmas stocking for one of my grandchildren, and maybe a new book to begin fleshing out and preparing for publication. It is the journey I love with a goal at the end that never fails to make me smile.

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