Common Thread

February 8, 2023

While I wish I could sit in an empty room and write beautiful prose on my laptop for eight hours straight, such a thing has never happened. What’s more likely is that I’ll finish work some afternoon and find myself thinking of a few paragraphs I could get down. (Then I’ll edit that section to within an inch of its life, but that’s another story.) At the moment, anyway, writing is something I tinker away at rather than the center around which my day revolves.

This is informed by – and in direct competition with – another activity. I recently bought my first-ever embroidery kit. My walls are decorated with finished embroidery, but until last month I had never taken part in what seems like a mysterious (if not magical) craft. After finishing the kit, I am, in a word, hooked.

I was hoping I wouldn’t like embroidery. Hobbies can be expensive, and I might regret not spending those hours on other projects. But I’m afraid that I really enjoyed my first attempt. I liked the predictability of how the thread behaved and the excitement of slowly seeing a design take shape. The process added some color to a gray January.

It also brought up some thorny questions. Was I still being creative if the pattern was pre-printed on the fabric? Would it be better to do the whole kit in one day, learning a new skill without seeming to take too much time? The answers I reached were yes and no respectively. There might not be a lot of room for creativity, but I was still finding out what talents I could bring to an age-old craft. And tinkering away at the kit, a few stitches at a time, became the highlight of my midwinter evenings.

Like embroidery, writing takes a long time to be fully realized. I might like the stitches or words I add one day but then find out the next day that I need to remove them. I’m just grateful that I have a choice: there’s no deadline, no hurry. I can take comfort in doing a little bit at a time.

2 thoughts on “Common Thread

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