What Makes Me Feel Alive…

I was thinking about this during the weekend, as I cut fabrics, once I’d read Laura Bruno Lilly’s post from 16 May, which was a pretty fine day in my neck of the woods.  But one day leads to another, and now it’s Monday, the 19th.  I have a doctor’s appointment, to see if my new hypertension meds are doing the job.  I also have errands to run, but no quilting; I finished a quilt top last week, on Thursday, and it now lives on the quilt wall, until I get some flannel for the back.

This quilt top was made from birthday fabrics, and I call it The Birthday Quilt, or The Little House on an Island Quilt, which is explained here.  It’s also very autumnal in appearance, hence why I haven’t rushed out for fabric to back it with.  Plus as I was completing it, temps here in Silicon Valley were HOT!  Not even a birthday quilt is appealing when it’s 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

But this week it’s much nicer, in the low 70s, very quilt-accommodating.  However, flannel fabric goes on sale at Joanns this weekend, and I have other tasks calling, so that birthday present will be quilted together next week.  And after that, I have a roomie quilt on tap, for my daughter’s soon to be former roommate.  They’re not separating due to a quarrel, only that it’s the end of the semester, and lives move in different directions.  But quilts are always welcome, brooking the distances, regardless of the weather.

Front stacks are for the roomie quilt, the back stack is for the rag quilt…

However, as often happens, I’m digressing.  Or maybe it’s totally apropos to be discussing quilts and feeling fulfilled.  For the last three months, I’ve found this pastime immensely satisfying, in a way never imagined.  I’ve been cutting fabrics the last few days, for the Former Roomie Quilt, also for a rag quilt that I want to make, once I have enough six-inch squares accumulated.  While slicing through cottons, I’ve listened to many tunes, always a soul-pleaser.  And I’ve contemplated Laura’s post, which I strongly recommend.  Especially touching to me were the quotes from others translated through Laura and her beloveds.

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do: John Wooden via Bobby, Laura’s dear friend’s son.

Throw yourself into life as someone who makes a difference, accepting that you may not understand how or why: Conductor Benjamin Zander via Laura.

But the one that really made me think was this…

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive: Walt Whitman via Laura.

So, while I cut fabrics, I considered how sewing and quilting have changed my little neck of the woods, but not just in an ironing board and stash of cottons sort of way, although that has been quite an alteration.  Because, as I’ve been quilting myself happy, I’ve been apart from something that until just recently, like say when I first bought fabrics back in February, was my comfort zone.

Writing used to be like quilting to me.

I could have titled this post I Used To Write Like I Quilt, but instead I’m trying to focus on the positive, wanting to keep my blood pressure as low as possible.  I’ll take a break in a few, to get over to the doc, but in the meantime, I wanted to start this post, so I wouldn’t lose this train of thought.  And I don’t want to lose the writing either.  For as I’ve been reading over the novel WIP, I’m finding myself slowly drawn back into that realm, far from fabrics and pins and rotary cutters.

Writing a novel is like living another life, like the quilt binding that I’ve already made for the Birthday Quilt, beautiful and colourful and…  Not quite time for it yet.  Although, it’s there, ready and waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting and waiting and…

Aching to be put to good use...

Aching to be put to good use…

Well, I’m back from the doc; blood pressure a fine 123/80, with a reminder to make an appointment for September, to make sure all remains well.  By September, how many quilts will have been fashioned?  By September, how many words might have been written…

Ahem.  Well, some, I hope.  I haven’t written in over two months, which for me is ages.  I wrote books like I now put together quilts, ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom!  But The Hawk sputtered out just as I truly got into the Chemo quilt, and other than reading over a chapter first thing after I wake, then another right before I fall asleep…

Nada, nyet, nunca, zip, zilch, nothing doing baby.  Instead, I’ve been piecing quilt tops.  And basting them to battings and backings and attaching bindings and…  You get the picture.  I’ve been dabbling in a craft that has tickled my fancy, making me feel alive in ways writing does not.  Or did not.  But will hopefully again stir my soul.

I still am a writer, but I’m also a quilter.  Maybe the quilting has helped with my blood pressure, who knows?  It sure has given me distinct pleasure in a very hands-on manner.  But my brain is screaming for its moment in the sun.  Okay, hands, sure.  Nice and busy.  Alive, oh most definitely.  Yet my heart beats for more than quilting, of course.  It adores loved ones, baseball, walks, the beach and…


There’s no photo to post for that, so instead I’ll share the latest picture of Buttercup. She makes me smile, not as how writing or quilting does.  But she certainly makes me feel alive, which at the end of the day (and the end of this post) is what matters most.  I have to take it on faith that the sabbatical from writing is not the end of the world, just another bend in the path.  Which seems as convoluted as that binding on my table.  However, it’s not important that I understand why or how, but to just smile, take a deep, low blood pressure breath, and say Ta love…

She always sits so lady-like.

She always sits so lady-like (but is eagerly awaiting belly rubs).

2 thoughts on “What Makes Me Feel Alive…

  1. laura bruno lilly

    The convoluted binding just waiting to be used…such a great metaphor for the artistic process as well as life in general. It conjures up hope of a finished ‘product’ being pieced together eventually even though it is in a state of stillness. And stillness is not a bad thing…it helps us to hear our (he)art more clearly.


    1. Anna Scott Graham Post author

      Stillness is a very necessary part of the process in art, and in our hearts. I need to cultivate more stillness in my life, whether I want it or not. 😀



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