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Monday, May 25, 2009

Once a Dreamer Always A Dreamer

So...we have this Big Event coming up. And, living with a neat freak, that means (ugh) cleaning the house. Which means that project I've had in a plastic bag hanging over a chair in the kitchen for about...oh, say a month...has got to either be ditched or done.

But this I know: If I ditch it--stash it somewhere out of sight for another day--it will never get done.

Which is why, first thing this morning, I dumped my bargain linen sundress onto the kitchen counter, found the line of teeny crochet flowers I thought would look cute on it, pinned one to the other, and began to sew.
By hand.

Now, I'm not a natural sewer. I grew up with a student mom who didn't bake and didn't own a sewing machine. She could wield a needle, which is about all I can do. So don't go picturing the Bayonne Tapestry here. Just an easy nip and tuck, attaching the flowers across the bodice of the dress.

As I sat there, though, I discovered something kind of relaxing about slowly moving the needle down and up, down and up. My mind wandered. Before I knew I was going there, I was thinking about what it must have been like to stitch clothes together. Before electricity. By hand.

Not just your clothes, either. Everyone's clothes. Needlework wasn't just a decorative skill. It was a necessary practical one.

And what if you were just clumsy with it? What if your stitches--like mine--were uneven and lopsided? I could hear someone (who?) shaking their head:

"That girl will never get it right."
And someone else (mother, sister, teacher?) saying, "She has the talent but not the will."

And why not? Because "she'd" rather be doing...what? Fencing with the boys? Traipsing in yon woods picking wild strawberries?

My mind conjured up a cabin. No, a castle. No, a farmstead. No, a---

You get the picture. I was off and running, another story forming in my head. And I don't even write historicals!

Dreaming stories is probably part of most writers' mindset. But what about everyone else? Can the most mundane task conjure up characters and settings in your mind? Does your imagination "write" stories?


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