owl in winter

owl in winter

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Weave

Taking a moment to lay the foundation for this post, I digress to my childhood, growing up in southwestern Pennsylvania, and then on to southwestern Minnesota, living as the daughter of an impoverished (meaning without financial means only) pastor, living always in homes not our own, drafty, old, creeky homes, a structure bequeathed to us as our status as the Pastor's Family. We made do, and I can attest to those days as being some of the most interesting and treasured days of my life.

My mother was an excellent seamstress, and I remember all through my childhood and adolescent years, all the way up to the time I got a job and made my own money, how she would take my sister and me to the fabric store in town, and there we would choose what fabric we would wear in her next homemade creation for us.

I remember the papery smell of fabric, I remember how the clerk used to roll it out on the cutting table, all ripples and bounce, and the crisp smack-smack of her scissors as she cut the required yardage. As my mother stood waiting for her goods to be packaged, I would rummage through the Butterick and McCalls books, gazing at this fashion interpretation or that one. I didn't like to sew so much, but I loved the process of the looking, the choosing, the experiencing the dusty, textile smell of the fabric bolts, burying my face in one or two, feeling the rub on my cheeks, inhaling deeply, gazing at the weave, wondering just where this fabric really came from and who made it possible for it to come there to that store, just for us.

There is a weave in writing. Yes, there is a weave in writing.

I write fiction. You may write non-fiction, or you may be a technical writer, or a journalist. I don't think there is that much difference between us. I take my characters, you take your subject if you are not a fiction writer, and you begin working it back and forth, connecting it to this, connecting it to that, back again, and forward. Again, and again, and again. Weaving, sliding between, adjusting the threads, pulling it tight, letting it wander for a minute and then pulling it again.

Think of your mind as a great, giant loom.You are the weaver. The loom, it is sitting there, in the shadows, waiting for your hand to come and work it, to turn the cogs, to adjust the speed, to bring your thoughts, your aspirations, with layers and depth, and precision.

Go now. Pull back that curtain, put your hands on the loom, and just weave.

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