I’ve had the idea of this post since early August, but then it was time to go on holiday, and since my return, sewing amid revisions have usurped my attention. Not to mention that this topic is somewhat daunting, ahem, but having dropped hints toward it in my previous entry, it’s probably time to follow up with some succinct explanation.
However, succinct is not my middle name, lol. Instead I will try to expand the few notes I made before we traveled to the Midwest, in the hopes I get the basics of my sentiment down correctly. Of course, my views are completely subjective, so take my musings with a grain or two of authorial (and quilter’s) salt…
Equate writing a novel to quilting in that the seams must last as long as possible – so a book must be written with the greatest of care humanly possible….
Why the Peach Tree conundrum matters – that while I don’t take myself too seriously, I do take into account the novels I write with all due gravity….
I’ve linked the peach tree note to a post I wrote about it, if you’re interested. Okay, so writing and quilting aren’t life and death matters. They are at best occupations, or simply hobbies, or are they more? Just this morning I came across several quotes from Man Ray, which probably is why I’m writing this post, as he straddled the line perfectly between what was necessary and what was superfluous in art. A good sense of humor struck me first, but underneath was the realization of just how our personal efforts, regardless of how widely they are embraced, demand the best we can give of ourselves. Within a wider quote, Man Ray says: To create is divine, to reproduce is human. He’s not talking biology, but art. By now drama in any genre has been written and rewritten extensively, but our own twist on various themes remains essential, as does the duty to set forth those paragraphs (and comforters) with as much imagination and respect for those to whom we are presenting them. I wouldn’t give away a half-finished quilt, nor should I publish a tale merely because I can do so. Now, having said that, let me also state that some of my first indie novels are…. They aren’t of the same quality of what I now produce. But at the time they were the best of my abilities, and released with honorable intentions, same as the first quilts I made. Life is a constant learning process, and artistic growth is often cataloged for all to see. So I won’t discount those early efforts, but I most certainly can exceed them.
To me, the gift of publishing independently demands I do my utmost to provide readers with the highest level of my talents, and I feel the same about making quilts. There can be no shortcuts permitted, for a quilt would unravel after so many washings, just as a novel falls apart if not properly researched and plotted. I don’t want to waste my time, or that of whoever receives the spoils of my imagination, in doing a half-assed job, excuse my French. Certain projects are covered by a caveat, like The Hawk for instance, as I note that it is a beta-version, and critiques are most welcome. When I find a typo, I attempt to correct it as quickly as I can, and in the case of quilts, patches are applied when seams rupture. My efforts are solely human in nature, although the inspiration is quite divine. And I smile as I proceed in these tasks, for what a tremendous pleasure to craft stories and stitch quilts! As Man Ray also says: I have been accused of being a joker. But the most successful art to me involves humor. This is essential in accepting responsibility, for it keeps me from taking too much pride in what I do. As I noted, writing and sewing aren’t life and death. Yet the intrinsic value remains and a fine line needs to be tread in keeping these gifts honest without my shadow overpowering them.
My goodness, that’s quite a lot to say early in the week! Yet these thoughts have been crowding my brain, and as I’m nearly back to writing, space was necessary, ha ha, just like clearing off the little quilt wall as the next fabric WIP cries for my attention. Last night I finished hand-binding a baby quilt (photos included within this post), washed it this morning, and hope to send it later today. Another part of the great responsibility is to see these projects through. I’ve been graced with nimble fingers as well as inventive gray matter, so idle moments are rare. I welcome your thoughts, and I thank you for reaching the end of this rather scattered but well-intentioned post.