That old adage about the best way to eat an elephant is true with most things; one bite at a time. This morning I read Chapter 21 of The Hawk, bringing me up to page one hundred four. That well over three hundred pages remain isn’t daunting, not in this read-through. I’m just taking this part of the creative process one bite at a time. But the last time I read through this novel, I had noted that the end of Chapter 21 might be a good place to break up the tale, if I later so chose to divvy up this story into more easily digestible pieces.
I have no idea in what form I will eventually present this novel, but at least if manageable chunks is my goal, page one hundred four is a good place to start.
Last night I returned to the Bestie Far Away quilt, eager to start hand-sewing the binding. However, the last time I poked at this blanket, I had simply completed attaching the binding to the front. That was last Thursday, the night the Giants clinched their place in the World Series, which begins this evening. I’ve been preoccupied in the meantime, but eventually one returns to their normal tasks. For me, that’s some form of writing, even if I’m not actually writing. There’s also quilting, and watching sport. But other issues have pulled me from my usual orbit, and while I’m happy to assist, when I return to my sphere, I have to do so in bits and pieces, otherwise find myself overwhelmed with all I want to do.
Stories and quilts and sport (amid laundry and cleaning and unpacking) call my name with the lure of a siren beseeching the sailor toward a dangerous shore. Thank goodness writing and sewing aren’t perilous vices, and my love for the Giants is fairly tame. But I do feel pulled in more than a few directions, like if I had another three or four hands, not to mention more gray matter, so much more would be accomplished. The quilt would already be bound, I’d be up to page two hundred ninety-six, and San Francisco would be up three games to one against Kansas City, eager take the Series at home. All three of those notions would involve time travel, or some form of futuristic manipulation, for which I am very unpracticed. All I can do is read one chapter at a time, sew the binding one side at a time, and watch baseball one inning after another (hoping Madison Bumgarner will continue to display his magic at stadiums far from home).
Usually I am content with my output, be it of words, stitches, full laundry baskets. Maybe autumn stirs my heart to do do do… It’s finally cooling off in Silicon Valley, and I want to start a crock pot of chili, as well as mop my kitchen, throw the sheets in the washer, write this post, read Chapter 22 of The Hawk, cut fabric for the next quilt, and about fifteen other items on my mental To Do list; I tend not to write all of those, because I am a firm believer in what needs to be accomplished will be accomplished. But that doesn’t mean those things don’t whirl in my brain. And I do scribble short lists, like groceries to buy (spuds and olives for potato salad, as well as bananas and almond milk), notes for The Hawk, quilt math. Post-it notes are scattered throughout the house with information for upcoming comforters, but then I change my mind about how big to make said quilt, which makes that post-it note obsolete. And sometimes I even recall I turned a fickle eye to those measurements.
Sometimes I forget.
This morning, when I finished Chapter 21, I wondered if I had yet reached that proposed breaking point; glancing at a post-it note to my left, why yes I had! I had written this information the last time I read through this novel, during summer, right before I started working on it again in August. I smile now, because I had noted pages 1-104, 104-204, 204-301… Now it’s up to 473, hmmmm. I guess as I continue reading (with no firm date set upon when I will next add to the story), I’ll find where the next appropriate break belongs, somewhere in the upper 300’s, maybe low 400’s, who knows? And even when I find the right stopping point, might it be a moot point if when (not if if) I finish this tome, deciding to publish the sucker uninterrupted?
Questions for later dates, thank the lord! But still I ponder these ideas, for these are the ideas that don’t go on a written list. These queries linger in my subconscious like purchased fabrics attached to no firm quilt idea, bought mostly because the prints caught my eye, tugging on my heart. It’s like living in the present while keeping one foot within an ethereal orbit, not quite like hoping for this or that, but maybe merely keeping an open mind. Which might at times be like leaving the barn door open, letting the animals escape. Or maybe it provides those without a home some shelter. Yes, I like that notion much better.
In the meantime, I need to throw in a load of clothes, get to the store (potato salad isn’t going to fix itself), iron that binding. That was what tripped me up last night; I iron the binding flush with the front of the quilt, which makes it easier to pull it around to the back for the hand-sewing. More tasks than I can shake a stick at, but in manageable chunks, all will get sorted. And as for the Giants…
All I can do there is sit on my sofa at five p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, with the thought of what will be will be. And if it’s that Madison Bumgarner records several more scoreless innings, excellent! I’ll stitch to strikes thrown, groundouts accumulated, perhaps a run or three coming from our sluggers. It’s coming on late October, autumn has arrived. Let the game, and everything else, begin!