Speaking about creativity – we were, yes? – lately I’ve been noticing a LOT of synchronicity going on. Two weeks ago, three AWAG (guild) members and I headed off to Tucson for the hook-in down that way. Last weekend, I participated in a hooking demo at Artful Threads with creative women in Belen, New Mexico. Various fiber arts were demonstrated in one of the cooler sites I’ve visited since moving here.
There was a ginormous rail yard next to the Harvey House Museum where we were. This week there’s a fiber sale happening as part of Artful Threads; I’m taking Tom with me if only so that he can see more of the state we now call home . He’ll love all the trains coming and going.
Meanwhile, I’m seeing all kinds of creativity memes and such on Facebook. Just today I saw this from writer Julia Cameron:
As artists, the creative dream we move toward is often visible to us– but invisible to those around us.
Go on, create, bring forth what’s in you no matter what the naysayers or your spouse or parents say. They’re too myopic or maybe just too busy doing their own thing to see the highway you’re traveling on.
Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.
So keep working, reaching for your own particular star in your own particular medium be it hooking or painting or writing or dancing or bowling or… Forget the fear of not being as good as someone else, even if that person appears perfect. I mean, should we all stop hooking just because our mats and rugs don’t look like Deanne Fitzpatrick‘s or Susan Feller‘s or Lynn Stein‘s or any other artist’s work we see in Rug Hooking Magazine? Of course not! Use them as inspiration for your own pieces.
But what’s really brought all this creativity talk home to me is Elizabeth Gilbert‘s book,
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. In late December or early January Beth Miller of Parris House Wool Works in Maine created a Hooks and Books live action and online book club. The first book she proposed was Gilbert’s. What the hell, I thought. I don’t have a book club here. So, I read it.
Much of what Gilbert says in the book is the butt-in-the-chair, labor of love shit that I would call preaching to the choir of creative folks who would typically buy this book. BUT, I’m in a place in my life where I’m actually able to appreciate what she has to say. The bit about combinatory play especially resounded. Combinatory play, Gilbert writes, is “the act of opening up one mental channel by dabbling in another.”
I used to write fiction a lot more than I hooked. Then life became vastly more complicated, particularly with a child having anxiety, emotional, behavioral, and academic issues. Preparing for a move across country didn’t make it any less so. Our emotions in the house were up and down, fighting and flighting. During those years, I moved more into hooking. Even though I design my own rugs, it was a hell of a lot easier in the evening (because that is when I would have time for such personal endeavors) to hook than to contemplate plots and character to write an actual story. I have continued as an assistant editor at Fifth Wednesday, a kick-ass lit journal out of Chicago – I read the slush pile – but it’s always more stress-free to read someone else’s work than to write my own stuff. Plus, I consider it my way of giving back to literature, another labor of love.
Since we’ve moved, though, I’ve been feeling the tug of writing again. I’ve even had some fits of starting and stopping. But I hear the call, and it’s only getting stronger. Maybe it’s because the kid’s graduated from high school (thank you, God!) and has started working (bless you, Target!), and we’ve mostly settled into the new house. Meanwhile, there’s a small but active hooking community out here in in Albuquerque that’s been incredibly welcoming. They’re very open to my less-than-traditional way of hooking. Between them, the scenery, and all the art out here, my own creativity idea well is starting to really fill up again. Or maybe that well is just more accessible now. I’m 51 and I get to re-invent myself to some degree, dump some of my own insecurities, and just explore what I am at this moment: a writer and a hooker.
A friend recently looked at some of my hooking on Facebook and asked a question that gave the writer in me goose bumps.
“Do you hide secrets in your hooking?”
How would you respond?