Category Archives: commitment

The rechristened Roxy Music quilt….

“I tried, but I could not find a way.”

Sometimes the best plans go awry; I truly didn’t mean to resurrect this quilt.  I meant to cut out the best square, preserving it in some fashion.  However, when I sat to do the actual removal, my heart said No.

“Looking back all I did was look away.”

Herein lies the basis for my artistic guidelines; follow the gut instinct regardless of what seems more appropriate.  Hence the length of The Hawk, ahem, but also put into practice when it comes to sewing.

“Next time is the best time, we all know.”

Chopping this piece into smaller bits felt wholly wrong, and suddenly all the scraps littering my table, plus some rescued from overflowing tubs, became quite useful.  The only hindrance to writing up this post was the pesky sun, and how inadvertently I kept finding more broken seams to cover.

“But if there is no next time, where to go?”

But why call it a Roxy Music quilt?  “Re-Make/Re-Model” is from their first album, summing up what I’m doing with this project.  That wasn’t my intent, yet in choosing fave scraps as well as some plain white fabric alongside bright threads, I have reclaimed this quilt from where it began, turning it into a comforter for the 21st century.

“She’s the sweetest queen I’ve ever seen (CPL593H).”

The back fabric is in good shape, now spruced up by purple, blue and pink.  Maybe as time goes on, I’ll incorporate other shades, but for now these threads work fine.

“See here she comes, see what I mean (CPL593H).”

I’ve been mending this quilt for several evenings now; the impetus for saving this project was in part due to my need for a new evening hand-sewing task.  I’ve come to revel in those nighttime stitches, whether or not sport lingers in the background.

“I could talk talk talk talk myself to death.”

Of course, I’ve set myself up for eons of patching, but something about that feels liberating, as if giving this quilt an entirely new life.  While the top was fraying, the rest is in good shape, part of what seemed so criminal in cutting into it.

“But I believe I would only waste my breath (ooh, show me).”

I didn’t wish to destroy it, but breathe into it another existence.  I could have titled this post The Pleasure of Being Crafty Part Three, but talent with needle and thread only scratches the surface, which is outwardly all it seems I’ve done.  Yet this quilt is more now than a recycled comforter; it’s indicative of embracing what seemed unnecessary by adding my own stamp(s).  My breath is now a part of this piece, for better or worse.  Better, I believe, for the quilt as well as the tune.

Back on the horse one more time….

After a much needed break, today I started what will be the last section of my serialized WIP, The Hawk.  Not sure how long this part will end up, probably more than the 60-70K of previous entries.  And as I began this morning’s work, I had to wonder, was I even going to manage a full chapter?  Initiating another hunk of this project is never easy, but today felt especially laborious.  After the first scene, I sat back, staring around where I write, and sew.  I took two rows off the quilt wall, pinned them, then sat back down again.  Then I got up, made some tea, returned to my chair, read over what I’d written, drank my tea, considered sewing those pinned rows, then gritted my teeth ever so slightly and banged out a paragraph.

Then I saved my work, closed the document, and had a snack.  Recently I’ve been battling acid reflux, but if I eat every couple of hours, I feel okay.  And while it was almost lunchtime, that paragraph had the essence of another strong scene, or at least one that would culminate in enough words to say I’d written an entire chapter today.

Sometimes writing is merely an act of patience; if you’re willing to wait out the blockages, sure enough something ends up on the page.

By the time I’d finished that scene, I needed more than a few nibbles.  I also required a little downtime, for it has been a while since I last worked on this tale, and honestly, the thought of this being the last time I open the document in order to start up yet another part is….  Jeez, it’s more than a little terrifying, perhaps that’s why the words were so stubborn.  There’s a lot of ground to cover in the conclusion, and while I don’t want to miss anything, this novel is already so big, I don’t wish to overstay my welcome, if you know what I mean.  It’s not only readers I’m considering, but yours truly.  Three years I’ve been plugging away at this behemoth, and I am *SO READY* to be done with it.  But not in a hurry-up-and-fly sort of manner, pun intended.  The proper pacing is essential, and after all this time, I want to get it right.

Ha ha ha!  Maybe that’s as absurd as what this novel has become, but I can only do what I know is true.  The quote above has been a guiding force since nearly the start of this book, that index card living on my desk amid post-it notes, Carmex, dental floss, seam rippers, and pin cushions.  I don’t know if I’ll frame it when I’m done, but it needed to be showcased, not only for its depth.  That I haven’t lost it over time is amazing, just as I’ve kept the flame lit underneath this story.

But a different theme now reigns within The Hawk, that of keeping the faith.  Maybe it’s due to me trusting that eventually I was going to reach this stage, lol.  Mostly it’s that this novel isn’t merely about life after conflict, hawks, or familial drama.  It’s about trust, love, and brotherhood.  As I glance at GK Chesterton’s words, I’m reminded of various moments within The Hawk’s creation scattered amid my father’s final months, the arrival of two grandchildren, as well as other milestones too numerous to mention.  This book isn’t only three years in the making, but lifetimes in its humble creation.  And it’s not over yet.

However, for the last time I’ve started a new section, one item to check off.  And I’m willing to wager that not every writing day will be as rough as this one was, although they’re not going to be simple.  But the thrill is that they will be; I shall finish this book.  And when I do, hehehe, one helluva party is happening at my house!  In the meantime, there’s words to write, plots to twist, characters to torture, I mean, explore.  And a message to unveil, the likes of which I’m waiting to learn.  Tomorrow I’ll peel away another layer to find what treasure awaits.

Reconciling Past, Present, and Future

When I was in my twenties, having had my third child, I suffered from headaches.  I went to see my doctor, an older chap not far from retirement.  He checked me out, then said, “Well Mrs. Graham, I think you have too many children.”

Photos are from summer 2005, in Helmsley, Yorkshire.  Some of The Hawk book covers are from this trip....

Photos are from summer 2005, in Helmsley, Yorkshire. Some of The Hawk book covers are from this trip.

Um, what, I have too many children?  My first thought was, “Well Dr. So And So, what am I supposed to do about that now?”  I don’t recall what I said, but obviously I didn’t have any serious issues, and now a good twenty years later, all seems fine.  But as I wrote today, fleshing out yet one more set of characters for The Hawk, I thought about that dubious diagnosis and how it relates to my WIP.

Yes, Mrs. Graham, I think this book has too many children….

Actually youngsters are on my mind, not the nietos, but a plethora of kids growing up in Karnack, Texas in the autumn of 1963 as well as an unnamed western town.   I’ve reached JFK’s assassination, which has taken a lot from me to weave into the story, but along with that tragedy has blossomed Luke and Tilda Richardson and Hiram Bellevue.  Let’s not forget Walt and Dora, the Richardson parents, which means I’m shoehorning another half dozen characters within a novel that seems to expand like some long lost galaxy finally turning up on properly equipped telescopes.

But you know what?  I don’t care.  There was nothing I could do two decades ago to answer that silly doctor’s retort, and again today I’m not bothered that this story spins further into something that thankfully doesn’t give me headaches, just some achy arm muscles.  But as I said to my husband this evening, quilting will be taking a back seat this year.  I’ve got a novel to finish!

(Do you know how GOOD that is to denote?  The last two years writing has felt like an extra within my life, coming and going as if I could set it permanently aside, dude!)

In the last few weeks I’ve added another 80K to this manuscript, whoo-hoo!  This book will be as long and involved (with as many kids and kitchen sinks) as necessary.  Since starting this novel, I’ve come to the distinct realization that a bigger story than originally assumed is being told.  And that too is just fine.  (Just fine!)  Having been at this writing gig now for over nine years, an independently published author for coming on half a decade, I have my feet under me.  This isn’t like the quilting, which at times feels utterly new.  With writing, I do know what I’m doing.

I wonder if this is from where I dreamed up the gate to the Snyders' property....

I wonder if this is from where I dreamed up the gate to the Snyders’ property….

I don’t say that to brag; I say it secure in my vocation.  This authorial stuff is a calling, don’t think it’s not.  And like anyone called to this or that task, confidence springs from experience, also from letting go of expectations.  So welcome Luke, Tilda, Hiram, Walt, and Dora.  Eric, Lynne, Sam, Renee, Marek, Laurie, Stanford, and Seth are happy to find room for a few more folks.  And while I’m still hoping to complete this behemoth by the end of the year, I’m also aware that deadlines in indie publishing are solely at my discretion.  However lengthy this story needs to be, so be it.  And however long that takes, okay.  Those headaches from my youth weren’t due to an overabundance of children, and this novel won’t suffer from a few extra additions; let the words, folks, and chips fall where they may.