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|"My quilt-making endeavors are all over this room...."|
I’m glad to be here on May Day. Thank you, Judith, for inviting me. If I talk too long, just give me a high sign or, you know, slip into the back and have a nice nap.
|Yup, a thread addict.|
Outside of family, church, and food, I have two consuming interests: I make quilts and I write books. My quilt-making endeavors are all over this room I work in. I have machines and tables and way too much fabric and books and patterns and thread—good grief, the thread! When I spent the winter in Florida, I took along several spools of neutral colors. When I came home, I had those spools plus five or six more that weren’t in the least neutral but that I liked a lot.
Writing, on the other hand, takes up much less room. In this age of electronic storage, I tend to keep tea bags and old phone books in the file drawer of my desk. The stacks of papers that used to cover its top have been replaced by the Kleenex box and a spider plant and a copy of my latest book (of course that was accidental, Judith—surely you don’t think I placed it there!) [see photo of Liz's latest at the bottom of the page.] The cup I once kept pens and highlighters in now holds a nail file, scissors, a box knife, and the Cross pen my husband gave me for Christmas years ago. The pen needs an ink refill, but I don’t care about using it, only that it’s there as a tangible sign of the support he’s always given.
Even the computer doesn’t take up much room. Best of all, it’s portable. If I don’t want to work at my desk, it goes into the house with me and I sit in the recliner with it and a cup of tea.
And there it is. Finally! I knew if I wrote long enough I’d come up with a reason for having done it.
I love to sew, and it’s something I spend hours of every week doing. I love sewing’s tools and toys, the scent and feel of fabric, the satisfaction of creating something pretty. The only time it’s portable, however, is when I’m hand-binding a quilt. I do that in the same recliner I sit in to write. I curse and feel righteous and stab myself with pins. I stitch until my hands are so cramped I can scarcely straighten them again.
I plan to tell this story to the grandkids I make quilts for, maybe adding a little embroidery to the tale I tell. More blood. More hours. More cramps. I hand-bind them because I love you so much, I will say. Well, I do love them that much, but that’s not why I hand-bind them. It’s because I don’t machine-bind well.
When I bind the quilt, it’s an ordeal. I have to take needles, thread, pin cushion, scissors, and the quilt into the house. I have to arrange myself and the quilt just so in the chair, then get up to go find the reading glasses I’ve left…somewhere. As soon as I get comfortable, the phone will ring. And, no, I am not a person who can let it ring. Ever. Then I have to go find the Band-Aids.
|No recliner...no footstool...no one to talk to...|
Could I bind the quilt in the office-sewing-room? Maybe. But quilt-binding is a social thing, a recliner thing. My chairs in the office are comfortable, but there’s nowhere to put my feet up. No one to talk to.
Writing? I’ve said it before, forgotten it, and am saying it again. It’s more than something I do—it’s a big, messy part of who I am. Not just me, I am convinced, but most writers.
The reason it doesn’t require much space is that the important components are inside oneself. The threads—tough and colorful and complex—are the workings of the writer’s mind. The tools are as simple as a pen and notepad (with lined paper) or—if you’re a young writer—an especially retentive memory.
The toys? They can get as numerous and sprawling as sewing toys, but they’re not necessary. If you want to “hand-bind” a book you’ve written, all you need is your laptop—everything else comes directly from the heart through the fingertips. You don’t have to have your feet up. You don’t want to talk to anyone. You specifically don’t want anyone talking to you. It’s not social at all. Because, in the end, when you are writing a book—or short fiction, or an essay—it is just you and the story. It is who you are much more than it is what you do.
It can sometimes be, if you’re lonely or overwhelmed or can’t think of a thing to say, a curse. More often, it is the greatest of blessings.
Wake up back there, Judith! I’m done. Thank you again for inviting me to Thursday’s Child today. It’s been a splendid visit, but I need to get back to work.
|Here it is--The Girls of Tonsil Lake!|
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I'm awake! I'm awake! Thanks, Liz, for insight into the writing world and a peep into your sewing-writing room.
Liz's books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble--her latest, The Girls of Tonsil Lake, is women's fiction, and it'll have you laughing and crying (well, actually, all her books do that). But if you like friendship books, you'll love the four women who've been friends for nearly 50 years.
In October 2014 Harlequin will release Back to McGuffey's (I think it's book #9, right, Liz?), in their Heartwarming line of sweet, wonderfully romantic novels. I can't wait. Both online booksellers offer it now for presale!