Tuesday, May 28, 2013

that system

'If you can't be a good example, be a terrible warning.' I seemed to think in quotation marks yesterday.
I was working on a small quilt project. One of those experiments gone wrong.
It had started out so well too. I had clasped my hands in admiration as I stood back looking at it the evening before. It hadn't occurred to me that I would encounter problems. More than that, it hadn't occurred to me that I would go sadly astray.
I began with a plan but when my first attempts at stitching looked shoddy I thought to overcome it by more of the same. 'Two wrongs don't make a right' came discouragingly to mind.
Taking a deep breath, I continued on, hunched over my sewing machine.
'Never decorate around a mistake,' whispered an unkind inner voice.
As one problem area was subdued, another cropped up, not unlike a classroom of overtired kindergartners.
Actually, that's not a bad analogy. I am still a kindergarten quilter.
My real mistake was to assume that I wouldn't encounter a problem; to assume that there wouldn't be 'technical difficulty.'
Skill is acquired through practice and, oh happy thought, trial and error.
That doesn't feel good; that learning through making mistakes, but it is an essential ingredient to growth. Now who thought up that system?
I worked on my little quilt until it 'became absolutely necessary for me to go.' ( that's a quote from You've Got Mail. A man is describing his dating life and states that he always takes things to the next level, and the next, until he reaches the level where it becomes absolutely necessary for him to go. For some reason, that line has entered the private vocabulary of inside jokes couples enjoy and my husband and I trot it out from time to time)
With the clock ticking and supper prep. looming, I grabbed my water colors and brushes and painted a card by way of comforting myself. I needed to do something creative that was joyous. Something that would make me feel better about the string of mistakes my afternoon had become.
It worked too.
I could feel my spirit quickly revive.
'Happiness lies in the joy of achievement, and the thrill of the creative effort.' Franklin D Roosevelt.

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