This post has nothing to do with crochet and everything to do with writing. Putting thoughts to paper (or in this case, screen) is something I do frequently. Mostly I write in a little moleskin notebook: the 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches variety with a hard cover.
I used to have several notebooks for lists and thoughts, but in an effort to simplify, I switched to a single notebook for everything. Writing by hand is therapeutic. Zen, almost. I write slowly and deliberately with a Bic Cristal Pen with blue ink. Typing is done in a fast and frenzied fashion that would please Mavis Bacon. But with typing, my thoughts are often disjointed. Writing by hand forces me to think and create and contemplate.
Today, I find myself being distracted watching the birds at my bird feeder. A single blue jay, a grackle, chickadees, house finches with their fushia breasts and cardinals partake of the offering. The grackle summons his fellows and they set all the smaller bird to wing. Then, the grackles leave and the smaller birds continue their feast.
The sun is out after what seems to be a month of rain. Still, I dilly-dally, not working.
Today is raining… well sprinkling. It has been doing so for the past 24 hours and everything looks drenched and as tired of the rain as I am. Birds are sulking, plants are dripping, water pours from the eaves of my house. Dreary.
But, watching the rain makes me think about all the things that I can create. It rejuvenates my brain as if the rain is washing away all the cobwebs and clouds I carry around inside. I feel like singing.
New ideas pop into my head: Make summer gloves and summer fingerless gloves. Make unique crocheted items and sell the patterns… not just the items. When I say unique, I mean one-of-a-kind pieces. Free form crochet. Interesting color combinations and designs.
I am not a crocheter who can sit and just crank out hat after hat to attempt to sell. I get bored with repetition. So, I making sketches of items in my little black book that I may or may not crochet eventually. The fun for me is in the planning.
I was curious about where in the brain creativity is created. I looked over several articles dealing with creativity and design and the conclusions were nebulous.
An article in The Guardian from December 28, 2015 stated:
Even in the wilderness that is human thinking, creative ideas seem to be deliberately designed to defy empirical inquiry. There is something elusive, perhaps even mystical, about them – visits from the muse or lightbulbs come to mind.
Where does ‘creativity’ happen in your brain? Arne Dietrich
A test was developed to measure creativity, like thinking up alternative uses for a common object like a garden hose, for example. Theoretically, the least thought of solution was supposed to be the most creative.
Hmmmm. Really? Does that mean if I figured out a way to use a garden hose as monster truck tire and 18 other people did, too, that I am less creative? Even if I never consulted with those other 18 individuals? Even if I came up with an ingenious solution all on my own?
Einstein (allegedly) said that the measure of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination. And isn’t imagination where creativity starts?
Everyone is busy. That doesn’t even need to be said. We have tasks that we must do every day, like brushing teeth or eating. We have task we chose to do every day, like making the bed or reading.
In my case, not only do I have the necessary tasks, daily, I have to battle with my creativity. So many ideas. I don’t get single bulb ideas, I get chandeliers of light bulbs over my head.
What normally happens is there is so much rolling around in my brain, that I get overwhelmed: Writing ideas, crochet projects, organization projects, business plans. Not to mention actually working to earn real money. (I am a scheduler with A Closer Look Mystery Shopping and I do mystery shops for several firms.) On top of that, I have grocery shopping, cooking, dish washing, laundry, finding time to work-out a few minutes every day, and sleeping.
I don’t get single bulb ideas, I get chandeliers of light bulbs over my head.
From what I have read, to be truly effective, I have to set up a routine and make deadlines for myself. I’d rather chew on glass, however, there is merit to this suggestion. This is, I am most creative in the morning, but that is when so many of the “ordinary” tasks take up precious time. Better if I would ignore my mother’s voice in my head telling me I have to make the bed and clean the kitchen before doing anything enjoyable.
Ideally, I would get up, make coffee and toast, then slam out two hours of solid creativity before making the bed and cleaning the kitchen. I could work on those new crochet patterns, write stories, create a business plan, mentally organize my closets.
Then, I could do my job, which is repetitive and not terribly creative. Then, after working a few hours, I could work on the actual crochet project. Another repetitive task that is closely akin to meditation.
Every year, about this time of year, I get this idea that I should do something meaningful. Maybe a lot of people do that. New year, new ideas. I don’t really make resolutions. This is more of a PLAN for the year. More precisely, projects I hope to complete.
CHESAPEAKE BAY CROCHET
Overriding everything is getting my online business, Chesapeake Bay Crochet, really moving along. I actually sell more items on eBay, but I don’t plan to close my Etsy store. Also, I am selling items on this blog, by listing my latest projects.
This will involve creating patterns to sell as well as finished items. I have spent time researching key words and updating my SEO knowledge to be relevant to today.
KEEPING A DIARY
No, I am not thirteen. What I mean is, I have a little pocket size notebook that I intend to take with me everywhere I go. You can get them at Amazon. They are inexpensive and small enough to fit in a purse, backpack or whatever else you carry on a regular basis. This little notebook will be the place where I write down everything: ideas, grocery lists, interesting things, funny things, sketches, things I am thankful for, reminders. One notebook for everything instead of having several locations for all of my stuff. Don’t you just love organization?
READ THE BIBLE EVERYDAY
This is not a new idea for me. This is a plan I make every year. Even if my Bible reading consists on just one or two verses, I will read a portion of the Bible daily. Yes, I am a religious person and I believe in what I read. The Bible is my source of comfort, intelligence, wisdom, ideas, knowledge and belonging. I do not read it just for the sake of running a race or for a sense of accomplishment. Over the years, I feel as if I have read the entire Bible. It doesn’t go like a novel, where you begin on page one and carry on until completion. Depending on the day, I will carefully choose what to read: a song, a prayer, practical wisdom, history, an individual’s story.
Okay. So here’s what’s been going on in my life that has rendered me unable to post another chapter of my novel…
First, I sneezed a couple of times uh… caught a summer cold uh… came down with pneumonia and then spent a couple of days, no weeks, months under the weather…
Okay, here is the real story: An airplane fell from the sky and crashed through my office window completely destroying my laptop, my tablet, my phone, my empty journals, all my pens, a typewriter and lots of light bulbs. Oddly enough. *notices no one is believing that story, either. *
Fine. You win!
I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK! ARE YOU HAPPY, NOW? ARE YOU HAPPY YOU MADE ME SAY IT? (Dramatically illustrated by the typewriter with a blank sheet of paper and a notebook with pristine white pages in the photo below
It’s just that outside is so beautiful with the bright sunshine, the pretty flowers, the brilliant green grass, the summer breezes. Who wants to write, expressing the darker innermost thoughts of a couple in the midst of a tragedy in their marriage when the sky is so blue? Who wants to dwell on such deep negative thoughts and ideas (even though I know how the story ends) when the house finches and chickadees are clustered around the bird feeder, feasting on the seeds I gave them? How can the world be horrible when the tomatoes are changing from bright green to bright red even as I write?
I will wait for a rain storm or an earthquake in a faraway place or the darkness that come right before the dawn to write another chapter in my novel: The Road of Change.
I didn’t mean to neglect it. I never set out to neglect it. It was not a goal, an aim, an ambition.
1. fail to care for properly.
Life came at me with
the force of a hurricane and what with one thing and another, time slipped away. Time s
eems to pass much more quickly now than it did even a few short years ago. Breakneck speed. Blue lights flashing.
But, what is taking up all my time? I work, sure. So does everyone else. I watch Netflix just like most of the people I know. I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner. I work out 3 to 4 times a week. I do laundry, clean my house… all the mundane stuff everyone else does. So WHY do I run out of time? Where does it all go?
Is it a lack of commitment? A lack of ambition? A lack of care? NO, I shout to myself.
The moment I had been dreading arrived. Barbara retired early. Ernesto and Charlotte went out together and Matt spent some time chatting with Chris and me. Finally, Matt asked if we needed anything and I told him no. He said, “That’s me off, then. You two sleep well. French toast for breakfast. No special time to get up. Sleep as long as you like.” He disappeared into the room he shared with Barbara.
“Do you think you can stand to spend one night with me?” Chris asked.
I didn’t trust myself to speak, so I merely nodded and headed toward the bedroom. I grabbed my pajamas out of my suitcase and told Chris I would be back in a few minutes.
I went into the bathroom and closed the door. I sat on the closed lid of the toilet and buried my face in my pajamas. So many thoughts swirled in my head. Earlier, no time presented itself for me to ponder the things Barbara said to me. I felt properly chastised for ignoring my husband. Chris said it to me when he told me I didn’t spend time with him. Because of my anger, I didn’t pay attention to what he said. He told me what he wanted; me wanted me to pay attention to him.
All day, every day. Big things don’t destroy a marriage. Little things do. My husband and I needed to spend every single moment possible together to get over the hump. Kathy was not the problem in my marriage.
Chris was on the right side of the bed when I entered the bedroom, bedecked in my pajamas. He always slept on the right side of the bed. The lamp on his side was on, so I didn’t bother with the one on my side of the bed.
“This bed is pretty comfortable,” he said to me.
I pulled up the blanket and slid in next to him. The bed was a full size and we slept in a queen size at home. I felt the warmth of his leg beside mine.
“I was kinda dreading this,” he told me.
“Me, too,” I confessed.
“Matt gave it to me with both barrels,” Chris said.
“Barbara did the same thing to me.”
“Matt told me if I wanted you to come with me somewhere, I should just ask instead of waiting for you to invite yourself.”
“Barbara told me I should get you involved in projects like getting you to help me make dinner.”
“Please don’t make me do the dishes,” he said. My first knee jerk reaction was to get angry with him until I saw the smile on his face.
“You don’t load the dishwasher correctly, anyway,” I told him.
He was silent for a few moments, then said, carefully, “Is it really that important how the dishes go into the dishwasher?”
I looked at him for long moments before I said, “No, not really.”
“Maybe we should listen to Matt and Barbara. Maybe,” he said, “We need to get to know each other, all over again.”
I held my hand out to him and said, “Hi, my name is Anne.”
“Chris Archer,” he said as he shook my hand. He held onto it and didn’t let go. “It’s very nice to meet you, Anne,” he whispered. He kissed my lips, slowly and softly. Then, as I felt the panic rise in me again, Chris said, “Sleep well, Anne Archer.” He released my hand, reached up to turn off the light and turned onto his side. Just like he always slept. How odd to be so familiar with him and to feel like I was in bed with a total stranger. Of its own accord, my hand snaked over his belly as I spooned him from behind. Just like it always did. Habit. Chris grabbed onto it. Out of habit. Soon, he snored. Just like always.
It’s quite simple, really. I have been working from home and writing and developing my online crochet business. So let me break it down…
Working from Home
I have a job that I work at a few hours a day. I am a scheduler with a Mystery Shopping company called A Closer Look. Plus, I also still do random mystery shops on the side. Scheduling normally takes 4 – 6 hours a day 6 days a week and consists mostly of emailing, calling and texting existing shoppers and recruiting new shoppers.
I am still working on my novel that many of you have been reading: Road of Change. Do not despair because more is coming soon.
I have an online craft store on Etsy where I post my crochet creations for sale. I also post them on eBay although I don’t have an eBay store front… no matter. I can still post items for sale.
I also post on Facebook’s Trash and Treasure and on Pinterest.
Those tasks take a minimal amount of time compared to actually creating the crocheted items.
Reading and Journaling
Additionally, I still read quite a bit. Every day. And I write n my journal. I make to-do lists and reminders and thoughts and ideas.
Needless to say, I have a pretty full day. I have found I am busier now than when I was working 40 hours a week at a job I absolutely detested. Retirement didn’t come quickly enough for me.
Now, working from my office, I have a wonderful view out of a window of a city street, my postage stamp sized back yard that has a bird feeder and bird bath, a chicken coop, rabbits living under my tool shed and a yet-to-be-planted outdoor garden. I can watch cars, weather, people walking, wildlife, trees and the neighbor grilling his chicken every afternoon when he gets home from work.
After wrestling with the blankets all night and waking up so tangled up that I could barely get out of bed, I realized it is Sunday. Sunday and I can sleep without an alarm. Sunday and I can make a tasty brunch. Sunday and I can just be lazy and happy. I can do what I want.
I read an article about being resurrected. I browsed through Facebook and even made a couple of posts. I waited to put on clothes, preferring my pajamas and no bra.
I felt like a cat who finds a spot of sun to take a nap. I felt like a stack of pancakes. I felt like journaling in a hammock.
I felt like experiencing the silence you find in an empty church building.