My year of making has survived its first month, so I thought I should say a few things… I doubt they will be meaningful, but I guess I won’t know for sure until after I’ve written them. For Mike’s sake, I will do my best not to overuse the backspace key as I type this… as he loves to remind me, I have a particularly bad habit of writing – and then deleting – about three times as much text as I actually keep in my final versions.
So what did I make in January? Several loaves of bread (only 2 different kinds – I have developed a liking for rye flour); various parts of a few knit sweaters; a crocheted baby blanket; yarn lanterns; the final 1.5 characters in a two-year old cross stitch project; a dragon; a husky dog; and some soup. In some ways, that doesn’t feel like much, but I suppose I’d think differently if I piled it all up in one place and tried to find it a home.
Overall, I think the hardest part of this year of making is just remembering to post a photo each day – there have already been 3 or 4 days that I’ve forgotten to do it. My other problem is choosing which ‘make’ to post about – its not uncommon for me to knit a bit in the morning before work, work on another thing at work, and then come home in the evening and do something else altogether. In one day, I might knit, bake, and do some sewing up – so then how do I choose which one to feature? In this respect, my need to vary my instagram feed seems to affect the projects I choose work on. Granted, I’ve never been one to knit only one thing at a time, but I now find myself deliberately starting new projects so that don’t keep posting same project all week. Occasionally I will even ask myself if maybe I should bake something, not because we need cookies or another loaf of bread, but because it would be better if my pictures show a wider variety of projects (“better than what?” would be the question!).
On the other hand, my desire to try new things in this year of making is leading me to read and explore about other crafting possibilities. This is good, because its very inspiring, but its also bad, because it puts me into a horrible spiral that starts with the feeling that I really want to make something, moves quickly to stressing about when/how/where I am going to find the space/time off/money to do it, and then being irritated because I know I’d only end up having to figure out what to do with the thing when it’s all finished. I end up feeling all horrible, thinking that if I can’t even get to the point of taking my pencils out of their box, then how will I ever actually manage to draw something, let alone anything I’ll be happy with (drawing is, of course, just one example. It applies to thread, yarn, paint, everything). This spiral is utterly frustrating, and for the moment I am having trouble finding a way out of it… I’m hoping its just a matter of time until I somehow get really excited about one thing in particular, happily go off to pursue it, and completely forget that the spiral ever existed in the first place. (I am very one-track minded when it comes to fun ideas. This is not always to my benefit).
Back in undergrad, I would experience a similar spiral whenever I had to do a paper for class. For even the most straightforward of paper topics, I could beat myself up for weeks – better to torture myself quietly than show weakness by asking the prof for help. In the end, only the approaching deadline would get me writing, and by then I’d be pulling all-nighters to get the thing finished on time. In my mind, not turning in a paper was far worse than writing a mediocre one, so it didn’t matter if I finished only hours before it was due. In some ways, this also seemed a better option, because it meant that I wouldn’t have days to second guess all my arguments before handing the paper in. Finish it, hand it in, then forget all about it… it was a pretty good system while it lasted. (Fortunately, I had usually thought and read so much about my topic before writing that my papers were usually pretty good. Of course this also made the whole circle worse, because I had no motivation to do things differently the next time).
In grade 12, I wrote an essay for English class that was all about procrastination. I can’t remember exactly how it went, but it started with the chiming of a clock at midnight (while I stayed up “late” trying to finish my assignment last-minute) and ended with a comment about how I really hoped I wouldn’t end up in a similar position when I was trying to finish a PhD at some point in the future. About 11 years later – around the time I was madly writing my dissertation – my mother found that essay in a box, and sent it to me as a reminder (or motivator, maybe? I’m not sure). Another six years gone, and I think I would still be in the same position, except that I no longer work under the same kind of deadlines – but whether that’s for better or for worse, I really cannot say.
PS: additions to my “Fifty things” list, from home this time:
- 10 knitting books I no longer want
- about 6 old scarves (mostly store-bought) that I don’t wear
- 2 pillows that are so thick they hurt our necks to sleep on
- old binders and loose-leaf paper (goodwill needs it more than we do)
- Mike’s old drill (does this count for my list?)
The “Fifty Things” book says that if you can’t decide whether to throw out or hold on to an item, you should just get rid of it and all of its associated angst. Is this really the best option? What if you just end up with Donator’s Remorse?