Saturday, November 09, 2013

Of Late

So.  Where the heck did I disappear to and what's been going on behind the scenes?

I quit my job and moved to Portland OR.  Was it terrifying to pick up for a new city where I had very few friends and no job waiting?  Absolutely.  But I was stuck, stuck, stuck in California, and I finally decided that if, at 30, I let my fears of what might happen stop me from doing what my intuition told me that I needed to do, well, then fear would increasingly rule my life.  I don't imagine life-changing decisions get easier to make as one gets older.  Facing down your fears is a bit like a muscle, it's gotta get flexed now and then or else it atrophies.  So here I am, nearly 2 months in, and every day I wake up and am glad I did it.  Yes, there are terribly lonesome moments, and also periods of great uncertainty (do I really think I'm going to find a job?  The economy is still shit and Portland is a tiny job market).  But it was what I needed, and I'm glad I did it.  Even if Portland itself doesn't stick, and I wind up moving someplace else (or moving back to CA), it was the step that was right at the time.  I think this city is going to stick, though.

At the end of 2012, I decided stashbusting was my top priority for 2013.  I was tired of looking at stacks of fabric and feeling guilty for not using it; some people might look at a stash and see potential, I look at it and see obligation.  Seriously.  It weighs on me that I haven't sewn things up, or fast enough, and I wind up tackling projects not out of joy or inspiration, but out of this feeling that I gotta get through C, D, and E on the list so that one day I can maybe work it all down and stop feeling guilty.  Craziness!  So I culled 4 bags of fabric and donated them to a scrap reuse store, sent bundles off to friends both local and international, and then got to it.  Unblogged (and possibly never-will-get-blogged): 2 knit dresses, 4 woven dresses, 4 blouses, a PJ set, and miscellaneous household items.  And oddly enough, I haven't sewn a stitch since getting to Portland.   My machine's out, but it hasn't felt right.  I'd like to make myself a couple mini skirts for fall/winter, but we'll see if that happens.

I shall always think of 2013 as the year I went crazy making socks, and the year that my friends decided to start having babies.  Who knew baby clothing was so fun to knit?  An entire garment out of a single skein of yarn?  Mind boggling.  Throw in a couple hats, finishing up an odd sweater or two, and you've got my year in knitting (to date).  Somehow, sweaters for me just feel less compelling at the moment.  I guess I've already got a little stack of hand knits that I cherish, although every time I look at colorwork, I think that I'd really love to make a colorful, intricate, fair isle sweater or two.

Other creative endeavors
I'm writing a book.  This is not one of those jubilant "I got a book deal!" kind of announcements; ever since I could read, I knew I wanted to be a writer, and finally, 25 years after my first realization, I woke up one day and realized I was ready to get on with it.  A writer is somebody who writes, regardless of whether or not they are ever published, and so I am writing the book that I wish I could have read when I was younger.  I'm taking advantage of my free time in Portland to spend lots of time thinking and journaling and freewriting and shitty first drafting and excavating notes and ploughing through old drafts.  It's exhilarating and discouraging, all at the same time, but I have never regretted the decision to take the time off to invest in this project.  I spent a lot of my 20s crafting as a way to avoid writing, but looking back, I don't think I was personally ready yet to really dig in and write, so the way I see it, I gained two incredible skillsets in the process of becoming ready :-).

What now for this space?  Not sure.  I never claimed it on Bloglovin' so I'm guessing about 3 people will see this, but likely it will be the 3 bloggers that I absolutely adore (just kidding, there are more of you that I adore, but you know what I mean!  I feel lucky to have gotten to know some really cool people through this blog!).

When I decided that I was really going to get serious about writing and not go crazy, I knew I'd have to jettison other things from my life.  Writing, personal relationships, and work (when it comes, gotta pay rent!) go at the top of the list, which means crafting falls somewhere below exercise and cooking, although I know I'll never give it up completely.  (If you're curious, writing and crafting used to be inverted!)  I find there is no better way to unwind from a hard week than to put on a couple episodes of Masterpiece and sew/knit a garment.  Maybe this will just become a regular blog - you know, documentation of life, with extra musings on creativity and creative endeavors.  Or maybe it will just fall away.  I do miss this community of people, though, so I guess we'll have to see where life takes us.

One step at a time.  Which is all we can ask for, really.

Anyhow, I hope you are all well and experiencing a good Fall!


Janey Missymoo said...

Wow, that's some brave stuff there, well done on doing what you want despite it being scary! Glad to hear that your doing well & I hope you do keep you blog going in some shape or form. I don't believe that blogs need to be updated regularly (shown by the fact that I seem to update my own like twice a year or something!) but I always love it when an old favourite pops up in my blog reader with an update. Best of luck with the book writing! x

Roobeedoo said...

Shazzam! Watch that woman go! :)
I am so much in awe of your courage and energy to just DO IT!
Wonderful, inspiring stuff! It is SO good to see you channel your creativity in the place it was perhaps always meant to go - and if not, at least you had a stab at it. That, right there, is the most exciting thing of all! Woot!
P.S. I like your mitts! ;)

Sigrid said...

Hi Jessica! I'm inspired by your "just go for it" attitude. I recently read a sort of cheesy self-help book by the author of the Dilbert cartoon and He says that nothing is wasted. Even if things don't turn out quite the way you expect, you will grow and learn something and find someday that it was essential for "success." So good luck, and thanks for the book too!

jessica said...

Janey Missymoo - why hello! Thank you so much for your comment! It's so true - I, too, love it whenever a favorite blog pops up in a reader, even if its sporadic. Not sure why we put pressure on ourselves to update more frequently :).

Roo - yes, the mitts are pretty fabulous, no? Whoever made them *wink* must be incredibly talented!! I wear them all over town and get so many comments on them! Thank you! And yes, it feels really good to channel my creative energies in this direction, thanks for the encouragement!

SIgrid - glad the book got there, and what a great way to look at things :). One day we should have coffee and discuss all those (retrospectively identified) moments! I've a feeling yours are fascinating!

Thank you all for the words of support for this new direction!

Minnado said...

yay! So glad to hear you are THERE! And you are okay. I am greatly in awe of you pursuing your aims, good luck. Love the baby cardigan pretty :) xx

Macska said...

Wow, what an awesome (and scary!) thing to do!! :-)

How are you finding Portland? It's a place I'd really like to visit one day....

Loving all the knitting. And those buttons on the cardigan are simply adorable! :-)

jessica said...

Debbie - Yes, I finally made it! Thanks, the baby cardigans sure are fun to knit! So wee and adorable.

Macska - I'm enjoying Portland so far! It really is a fun and friendly town ... and the perfect place to dive into knitting (especially winter). You should come by sometime!