Sunday, October 26, 2014

I Have a Hobby, Poetry Redux, Mirror of Evil

Cue triumphant horns! At the ripe old age of 45, I have at last discovered a craft that I that I can actually do! A proper, useful craft that I have not given up on in a fit of frustrated rage, like when I tried crochet and candle making and pretty much every other craft ever. What is this miracle I have stumbled upon? ‘Tis rug making, my friends! And it’s so absurdly easy that even my clumsy ham-hands are capable of it. It’s not latch hook; it’s done with something called a punch needle. You stretch your material onto a frame, sketch out a design, thread the needle, and punch it through the material. It’s that simple. I was so excited when my friend showed me how to do it last week that we promptly made a date to go to a craft store so she could help me pick out the materials to do my own rug. I started my first rug last week. It’s my practice rug before I move on to a more complex pattern I want to do—a koi fish to match the koi panels we have in our living room. I fumbled around a little at first, but since my friend is also learning, we shared our tips and triumphs via text and got through it together.

Even though the rug-making easy, it still takes patience and persistence, and I like that. It feels symbolic. Also, now that the novel is out to its first readers and I’m awaiting critique before I do anymore work on it, it’s nice to have something to focus on that involves working with my hands and thinking in a visually creative way. I think it’s good for us writers to take a break sometimes and do something different. I used to paint in between writing projects, and although I don’t have any science to back this up, I have an intuitive sense that it was helpful to the writing process to switch gears and engage another part of my brain. I have a lot of ideas for rugs I want to make, and having ideas for projects make me a happy lady! Below are some pics of what I’ve done so far. I have to go in and fix some errors in the first swirly part, but overall I’m happy with the way it’s turning out.

Framed monk's cloth
The first go at it 

The first swirl is complete!

I dove into my poetry past this week while looking for material for an upcoming poetry reading, and I have a feeling that three short stories and a novel later, I may be returning to poetry again soon. We’ll see. With a little break and the rug-making, maybe something new will form for me creatively; like an idea for a new series. But I don’t feel blocked or panicked like I did during the time just before I transitioned into writing fiction. I feel like something will open up again soon; it’s just a matter of timing.  

In other news, my hair is turning gray. I didn’t notice until I went into a bathroom at work I’d never been in before. It was as though the light over the mirror in there was specifically designed to illuminate every gray hair on my head, like that stuff they spray on the walls to find blood splatters. I was completely shocked. I can’t see it in my mirror at home unless I really look, and even then, I can’t see that much. It’s been graying all along and I never knew! Having just had a birthday, I went into a decidedly unfeminist downward spiral about aging, losing my looks and becoming one of those irrelevant, “invisible” women that society ignores because I am no longer viable breeding material. That shit is real, and it doesn’t matter what sort of feminist pep talk I give myself, it still stings. But, as the ever-practical Mr. Typist pointed out, that’s what hair dye is for. (Also he wisely suggested I not go into that bathroom ever again.) Now I have to start making hair decisions. Do I commit to the time and expense of  a salon foil every four months, or just let nature take its course? Do I throw a box on it? Go full punk and dye it purple? Shave it off and start wearing wigs? There are too many questions with too many implications. The hell with this. I’m off to punch a rug!

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment:

John Socrates said...

You could write comedy, you know. Either in book or script format or maybe even as a full-fledged opera! Your sense of humor is indelible. A very enjoyable blog, my dear. :-)