I haven't written a lick of anything in weeks. I went crazy on my novel draft in November and dare I say, wore myself out. But we creatives must always be doing something shouldn't we?
And so I took up knitting.
It wasn't the first time I'd knit anything. My grandmother taught me when I was young and I made slippers. Then dropped those dang needles and swore I wouldn't do it again. And then here we are, some 30 years later, getting cramped and sore knuckles, using muscles in my hands I didn't know existed. But you know what I found more than the aches and pains? A sort of peace.
With all that's been going on in the world lately, politics and war and hunger and refugees, I needed to shut off. Step away from the devices and the internet and social media and just be, in that moment, focused on what was right in front of me. Family, friends, a sense of happiness and solitude that can't be found amid online chaos. I forgot what that felt like.
Each stitch, a piece of a story. My story. The memories of what the person you're knitting for means to you. How they will feel when they press the warm scarf to their faces or tug that hat down around their ears. The good times. The bad. All little fragments of time stitched into something warm and good and protective and...forgiving.
And then the writer in me, the critic in me, appears. A stitch is messed up. Knitted when I should have purled, dropped a stitch, added ten stitches without knowing how, the rows are wonky, the stitches are too tight, too loose, it won't hold together. Do I keep going or rip the whole thing apart and start over, add more structure, two threads at a time to make it more sturdy, the tension right. Enough tension to easily maneuver the needles, knit after knit, purl after purl. Just move along at a slow and steady pace, stitching the memories into place, but leaving enough slack to allow for new memories to be formed.