Category Archives: Continuing

Let your freak flag fly

This work-in-progress garnered the comment, “I love it when you let your freak flag fly!” on Instagram yesterday. After pressing back to make sure it was a compliment (it was), I’ve decided that the phrase makes a pretty good working anthem.


Maybe articulation will follow, but for now I’ll rely on that old Supreme Court ‘definition’ of pornography: ‘I know it when I see it’. Probably something about voice and style.


Is this square with woven strips and indigo moon ‘letting my freak flag fly’? No. Or, not yet. It is too derivative – persistently, dismayingly derivative. On the other hand, the newly assembled cloth collage below lets me announce: “I’m letting my freak flag fly!”

The early stages of composition nearly always more closely capture my ‘style’, such as it is. I have to figure out how to bring more of the free and pleasing (to me) beginnings forward. This is a question of technique, but not exclusively. To be continued…

Saying no and snow

Two or three inches fell. It felt like a surprise but it shouldn’t have.

It was a week of honoring my basic preferences and screwing up the courage to say ‘no’ in order to do so. One small ‘no’ helped me say a much bigger ‘no’ a few days later.

Both refusals created a feeling of spaciousness and relief. Confirming feelings.

Itchy ambivalence can usually be resolved in favor of one’s own need, experience, and felt sense of the world. To not do so is to stay itchy.

Pretty basic, especially for a sixty year old, but it’s amazing (and common?) how quickly clarity can be clouded by others’ needs or by anxiety about self assertion.

I don’t need to say more now. Just this: it was a week to remember that I bought my first book from Shambala press in 1973. I still have that volume (by Chogyam Trungpa) 43 years later, which is really saying something — do you know how many books didn’t make the cut?

What happens to you when you don’t honor your basic preferences and how do you course correct?

Bitterly cold here again today and I hear that more snow is on the way.

Have a great weekend!

Hermine Wind

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It’s a fluttering, gusty wind out there right now. Not remotely hurricane-like, but noticeable and vigorous. As the light faded, we ate lobster outside to celebrate C’s degree afterall. A really big blast of wind nearly launched the umbrella off the deck. Rain spattered a few times, but we are waiting, waiting, waiting for a drenching downpour. They said Saturday. They said Sunday. Here it is Labor Day and still no rain.

I’m not complaining. The Vineyard is largely without power. Parts of Nantucket and the South Shore, too. No, I’m just waiting for the rain.
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The weekend is nearly over and I somehow feel that it will be hard to get oriented to the new week, the new month, the new season. I hope not. With both K and C traveling this month and my schedule with my sister in flux, the real ballast will be writing.
deemallon_selfWriting, writing, and more writing! And trying to stick to my weight loss or maintenance program. The honeymoon is definitely over.

Heart rash and quiche

A red patch of itch over my heart. Don’t want to ponder its meaning. Just like I didn’t want to think too hard last week about the significance of leaving my power cord at the library.

There’s this: I went to Salem yesterday and it was disheartening for all the usual (mind bending heart rending) reasons. And this: a writer friend sent me an article about self-publishing that harshly critiqued the unreasonable expectations of first time authors and outlined why self-publishing was probably the more likely path to success and then ticked off the fifty things one needed to do to be successful at self-promotion (and I thought selling quilts was awful!). That kept me awake a good extra hour and a half last night.

And it’s still really really hot. We have AC but the body still sweats and suffers walking Finn taking out the garbage running errands. I plan to write swim write today. Maybe Walden Pond for a change? After getting back from China late Saturday night, K is taking the week off.

I’ll leave you with a photo of the quiche I made last night. Hadn’t made one in ages. Oh the steps! The mixing chilling rolling chilling baking one way then another. And that’s just the crust! It was 7:30 before we finally ate. With a filling of egg, carmelized onions with thyme from the garden plus a little bit of Swiss, it was worth both the wait and the gluten cheat.

The stuff we save

  
Here I am a little tongue-tied, a little at a loss, and wanting to show up anyway.

It’s a cloudy, warm Wednesday in February. The dog barks. The fish tank hums. I feel suspended between things, which is nice because my suspense is filled with silent freedom, but it’s not so great because I feel a little unhinged, not as in crazy, but as in not connected.

The cloth drought continues. It’s kinda killing me. I can’t stand finishing big projects and I have three right now: two bed quilts for my firstborn and the Hearts for Charleston Quilt (which is proving harder to assemble on the vertical than I would have liked).

Today I cleared out a downstairs closet because getting the vacuum out had become nightmarish. Boxes of fabric stowed ‘temporarily’ had tipped over and gotten mixed up with unpressed shirts, unpaired socks, camera bags and cleaning supplies. Ugh!

Just folding and sorting the cloth made me feel better. And the closet is a closet again. Later, I’ll iron some of that fabric while watching TV. I will like that, too.

Next week come: my birthday, the anniversary of my mother’s death (it will be 20 years), then: Valentine’s Day. It’s a weird blend.

My mother died when I was 39 and pregnant. More than once, I have wished for her ‘take’ on my boys even though if she were alive, I’d be batting away her pronouncements as if my survival depended on it. Her judgments were painted with a broad brush and right to an obnoxious degree.

Recently, I revised a memoir piece in which I ask for my mother’s advice and found I really could hear her voice. She was saying things pithy, dumb-sounding, irreverent, and wise.

I plan to submit the piece to a literary journal before tax day. I swear! As Deb Lacativa messaged me recently, “It’s time to start collecting rejection notices.”

So, to close, in the spirit of housekeeping, aging, and examining what satisfies, I dragged this link out of the drafts folder: Candy Chang

Several years ago, she painted blackboards on the sides of buildings and stenciled a collection of lines reading: “BEFORE I DIE, I WANT TO _______.” Passersby filled in the blanks.

BEFORE I DIE, I WANT TO: finish a novel; see my sons get married; hold my grandchildren; eat antipasto in Italy; buy fabric in India; take K to The Fat Hen in South Carolina; sunbathe in the Caribbean; knit a sweater that actually fits somebody.

What do YOU want to do before you die?

 

The internet on our PC is broken (I just love saying that… it’s kind of like announcing “the electricity is broken”).  I am posting with laptop and phone, something I never do. 

Six at a time

Six of the teeny scrap rectangles (above) surround by pale green print (below) are attached and mated with batting and a pale blue backing fabric. Last night, in spite of a little bit of dread, I started quilting through all three layers. It’ll be fine. Square by square. No hoop. For weeks in the evening, I’ve been selecting a skein of floss and using it up — stitching open the little seams of the unbacked sections — going square by square until the thread was gone.  It’s not that different with all the layers.  I’ll need at least nine sets of six. As long as I can tolerate the mess in the living room, I can take my time. 

Removing excess

Hanging this quilt in the window makes uneven layering obvious. An excess of layers often results when you add already quilted sections to other cloth. From Jude at Spirit Cloth, I learned the (now seemingly obvious) technique of cutting some of the thickness away — what she calls ‘managing layers’. Some stitching was sacrificed in the process and I will have to fix that later, but for now, I like how it lets the light through.