Thursday, June 18, 2009

In Which I Desert Poetry for Quilting

The end of our fiscal year comes June 30, and this year is the first one where I've been an administrator--which means I've had more discretion about how to use my leave days. I'm not very good at this yet, so I've ended up with unused leave days at the end of the fiscal year; I didn't want to run out of leave time, so I took leave time sparingly, and so I have lots left at the end of this fiscal year. I'm diligently trying to use them up!

Yesterday, I took a day of leave and spent much of it quilting. Every so often, it seems that everyone is having a baby, and this year is one of those times. I like to make a baby quilt for friends and relatives who are expecting, and yet, it's a project that can't be put off for too long, regardless of the demands of work and regular life.

I like making a baby quilt. I do all my sewing and quilting by hand, so I appreciate a small project. Unlike the larger quilts I have that are only partly done, baby quilts are manageable with a 40+ hour a week administrative job. It's satisfying to make so much progress in just a few hours. I love the festive fabrics I choose for baby quilts. I love how soothing it can be to sit and stitch--I don't feel that way when I use a machine.

Since I was making so much progress, I decided to keep quilting at mid-afternoon. I thought I might switch to poetry, but I wanted to finish my project for a baby-shower-imposed deadline.

It was a satisfying day, and yet, I feel slightly guilty for not giving equal time to poetry. But I have many creative interests, and increasingly, I have less and less free time. Part of me wonders, would I have a book with a spine published by now, if I had devoted all my free time to poetry?

Of course, I think that all my creative interests feed each other. I've gotten some great poems that I wouldn't have gotten, if I hadn't been quilting or cooking or painting or playing with clay.

I used to hope that I would write myself out of my job. That was back in 1992, when I started my first full-time job at a community college. I wasn't exactly sure how I would do that. I had vague ideas about a best selling novel. I wrote several novels. I couldn't get them published, much less translate them into best sellers.

I like having creative interests that I don't need to turn into money generators. I certainly wouldn't mind if I published a book of poems that turned into a surprise best seller. Given the state of publishing right now, though, I still wouldn't quit my job. Even my job has given me some delightful poems. In fact, as I sift through them, I realize I might have enough for a chapbook of poems about life in the modern workplace.

I'll continue to think about that possibility as I sew. Like walking, sewing is a great activity to help my subconscious start working on solutions and start ups.


Shefali Shah Choksi said...

I do agree with you! we are not machines who'd perform better if we kept at a singular task: in fact quite the contrary!
I love this entry since it celebrates the diversity of the conscious, creative mind.

Kristin said...

Thanks for that vote of confidence. A conscious, creative mind: great phrase!