I said those very words yesterday afternoon to my husband while explaining how I quilted the Former Roomie Quilt. Instead of following along the rows with a quarter-inch seam, I sewed halfway through the squares themselves. And by the end of the day, I had quilted that baby, including the scant quarter-inch seam around the perimeter. This morning, I’ll attach the front of the binding.
So many steps in quilt-making, but then, many good things in this life are based upon building blocks, and sometimes those steps aren’t easy to explain. Tutorials do wonders for something like sewing; they’re not so handy for writing. I couldn’t sit in front of a camera, or narrate a power point about how to write a novel. Writing a novel is far more invisible, much like making a baby.
But quilting, well, it’s a tangible process, that gives me intense pleasure, especially since I came across a tutorial that makes the final stages of sewing the binding a breeze. Sometimes I wish I could locate a site that explained how to leave a manuscript alone for say, oh, two and a half years, then come back to it with a viable plot. I’ve recently done that with Heaven…Mississippi, but then I wonder if that’s the fate of The Hawk. In two, four, or eight years, after how many ever quilts have been fashioned, might I return to that behemoth and give it a conclusion?
No tutorials available to answer that question. It’s much like my dad and chemotherapy; he just had his ninth dose, one more to go. His PSA is down to 6.8, but will it remain that low once the Taxotere is truly out of his system?
Inquiring minds are dying to know…
As I tried to explain to my husband my new quilting process, he was watching the Giants. The Giants… I’ve given up on them, for now. Maybe that doesn’t make me a very loyal baseball fan, but through the month of June they squandered an 8 1/2 game lead over the Dodgers, and just typing that makes me a little heartsick. I was safely tucked away in the sewing (but not that much writing) grotto, yet, San Francisco managed to pull out a win, behind the erratic but formerly brilliant (and two-time Cy Young award winning) Tim Lincecum. Maybe Timmy is indicative of my writing, at this current moment, aching to return to its previous glory. But I have to give thanks for the plot stirring in my head, which doesn’t have to do with The Hawk, but characters just as beloved. I left Kendall, Sarah, Heath, and Ben dangling on a rather thin line, but now I have a notion of how to rescue them. And while no, it doesn’t have to do with quilting, it does have a lot to do with my dad’s current path. When my husband and I visited him together last, Dad bemoaned how crappy he felt, and what lousy company he was. I remarked that if he didn’t mind us coming to see him, we certainly weren’t bothered. He smiled, for I know he loves the distraction, what he said more than once as we readied to leave. That we had made the last two hours fly by, even if he spent all of that time huddled under a blanket, spitting up, or dabbing at his watery eyes. After nearly thirty weeks of chemotherapy, Dad is showing all the typical signs, but his spirit is mostly unflagging. I put all these symptoms and moments under my writing hat, where by now they are crammed tight, waiting for release.
What I didn’t know three years ago, when I wrote Heaven Lies East of the Mississippi, was that I had to wait for my father to undergo chemotherapy to complete that tale.
Now, I could be daunted by that fact; what in the world will I endure to finish The Hawk? Maybe very little, maybe… Let’s not go there. Instead, let’s concentrate on quilts, or the Former Roomie Quilt, which by the end of this day will have an attached front binding, and probably a good part of the back binding hand-sewn into place. Not while baseball’s on, mind you. The Giants start an inter-league series with the A’s, oh jeez. I’ll sequester myself in some baseball-free zone, as a needle carefully winds in, then out, of the fold in the binding. Another quilt coming under the hammer, another book waiting in the wings. Another day of my life on a journey I never expected in the sewing, noveling, and cancer-witnessing variety. It doesn’t always make sense, but it all means something.