Ahhhhh. . .yesterday I spent my first day after the holidays working for an extended period of time on a quilt. I had also planned to begin a blog post but the list of possible topics just kept growing and I was having trouble picking one. That in itself became a possible topic--the explosion of ideas that often follows a complete break from what you're working on, but that path is a little too well worn.
At times when I have too many quilts in my head that I want to make, I have found myself locked in a state of hesitancy and have to consciously tell myself (as I do to our dog when it is 15 degrees out and she is in search of the perfect spot in which to do her business) just choose one--well, in the case of quilts, maybe two or three. So I took a deep breath and focussed on: a Word for the Year.
This is always a hot topic around this time on the Quiltart e-mail list that I am part of, and many of the participants share their chosen words and then actually put them up on their studio walls in some form, while others comment on the silliness of the whole concept. I felt I agreed with the silliness side last year but in quiet moments found myself playing the game of what word would I choose if I didn't think it was silly. Typically I came up with not one but two related words: Dare and Dance. I even thought of a way, if I made them into a quilt, to make Dare morph into Dance.
When I remembered them, these actually helped me out a few times during the past year and so, silly or not, (we all need a healthy dose of silliness, anyway), I am going to come clean this year and declare that I do have a Word (or Words) for the Year. They will be the same as last year because I think these have enough meaning left in them for me to work for another year.
"Dare" is important because at times--fewer than when I began, but still some times--I find myself frozen by a myriad of fears about my quilting: What if I can't do this? What if I can't do this well enough? What if I spend all this time and it just doesn't work? What if I choose this idea and there is a much better idea just around the corner? What if there is something more meaningful I should do with my life? What if everybody laughs at me? At times I need to connect with the courage to lace up my ice skates and take that first step onto the ice (total metaphor here--haven't had the courage to skate in about ten years). There are plenty of safe quilts I can make, but growth involves risk, and even though I know this like a cliche, the word "dare" reminds me of the excitement and value in taking that risk.
But once I take that first step I need to let go, to find the joy in what I am doing, and "Dance" perfectly encapsulates those qualities. When I get into the jaw-clenched, shoulders-raised state, I need to remember to dance--and maybe be a bit silly at times. Early in our marriage, my husband and I took some ballroom dance lessons, but we never got beyond mechanically following the steps, much to my chagrin because I had dreaming of waltzing effortlessly across the floor. I had pretty much given up until, about five years ago, I talked Tom into taking a swing class and after a few lessons, we were somehow dancing. We certainly will never win any contests, but I do know what "Dance" feels like.
Perhaps this year I will even get around to putting these words up on my working room wall. Or perhaps not.
Anyway, if you are still reading, thanks for the company, and Happy New Year!