My husband is beginning to fear I have an addiction to quilts. It has become a frightening regularity for him to come into the sunroom, see me working on my crafting table and stare at me, dumbfounded as he realizes I am beginning ANOTHER quilt. He seems to think it is some sort of new thing, a reaction to being out of work and bored. I don’t have the heart to tell him this is what it would have always have been like if I had spent more time at home without children before this.
The biggest reason I fear I have been churning out quilts rather quickly as of late is an unfortunate case of writer’s block. I know there are many people who do not believe in the concept, and there are moments, even as I stare blankly at the screen, wherein I doubt my current condition myself. It is not an inability to write words (as you may have noticed, I am quite wordy when I get going). I have the stories; I am currently working on three, with a fourth nagging at me to pay attention and give it a turn. Unfortunately I also have an inability to believe in them. I stare at my screen lately, knowing the story, knowing the characters, knowing what needs to happen, and then doubting every aspect of my writing. I am suddenly gripped with an absolute knowledge that everything I am trying to do is wrong. My story is ridiculous, my characters are unlikable, and nothing seems to be going the way I intended for it to go. Above all, each and every word I choose is wrong.
As I stare at my screen, I am drawn instead to my pile of future quilt patterns. Here, I can see the pieces before me, fitting together like a puzzle. When I piece them incorrectly, I can easily pick them apart and try again. On occasion, I make a mistake, which then turns into something new, something that is in it’s own unexpected way, beautiful. It is the same thing I am trying to do with my writing; I piece it together, fix my mistakes and glory in the unexpected turns I discover along the way. The advantage of doing this with a quilt is the easy way in which I am able to see the final piece as it comes together. I may know in my heart that my story will come together, but when I cannot see all of the pieces as they come together, I am unable to appreciate the beauty that will emerge when the last piece is placed. Instead, I mimic what I want my story to be using another medium. I sew the seams, some long and simple, others complicated and infuriating, willing my mind to do the same as I place my hands on the keyboard. When the quilt is finished, I take it from the machine, and wrap myself up, savoring the feeling of a finished piece, longing for the day I can wrap myself in the feeling of another finished story. Until that day, I will continue to place my pieces, searching for the right placement to create a work of beauty.