Posted by: jeannineatkins | July 28, 2008

Catching Up — a Bit

Years ago while wandering around an antique shop, I found a small stack of great old patches for a crazy quilt that someone had painstakingly sewn, but never put together. I bought these and some new fabric for borders, batting, and a backing, and stitched away. As I worked I noticed that the old fabric kind of pulled. As I kept on, full fledged rips appeared.

I mentioned this to a friend who’s much more of a seamstress and had given me some advice. Now she said, “Oh, yeah, that would happen – the old and new fabrics won’t really go together, and the stitching will stress the old. But anyway, it’s about the process.”

Um, no, I thought. I wanted a quilt. Something I could put on my bed.

But sometimes the process is what we get, and sometimes we have to be in the muckieset parts of it. Here’s the rhythm around here lately: I will finish this thing, get a good if not lovely draft by the end of August, when I need to be prepping to teach three classes and can let the pages sit. I’m not starting something new; I’m not riding to the end of something. It’s working out the middle and, I hate to say it, but that can be, well, boring. I know these people and this place! Can they get themselves a little more together, please? Yes, but not quickly. I’m slowly pushing my way through gritty silence, with a few detours, to find its softer side. Sometimes. Then back to something at least slightly less grating.

But it is summer and there are pleasures. Swimming in the pond, where Saturday I saw a blue heron. On the porch, eating salads with local peas pinched from their pods and blueberries tossed in. My sister and her girls are coming to visit tonight. Last night my husband and I went out to the soft serve ice cream stand and a woman there said, Didn’t you have a Brownie troop here a while ago? Yeah, I calculated, Twenty years ago. Oh, you haven’t changed, she said. Bless her heart, even though she laughed after she said it.

My daughter likes her roommates and classes in L.A. She told me how one friend is doing a project on Stella McCartney so three of them went to her boutique and tried on clothes and took pictures of each other. “They weren’t very friendly to us, Mom.”

Gosh, I’m surprised.



  1. Um, no, I thought. I wanted a quilt. Something I could put on my bed.
    Love that — sometimes it’s NOT about the process. Sometimes it IS about the end product. hehe
    Glad to hear your daughter is doing well. I love Stella McCartney clothes!

  2. process
    I know the feeling I am stuck in the middle of 3 paintings right now and worried I won’t have them done by the time I go back to school. I am glad Em is having fun.

  3. If the next step in the middle seems tedious, maybe you need to skip it. If it turns out to have been necessary, you’ll have to come back. If not, then keep on keepin’ on.

  4. Push on through that middle! You can do it!

  5. Re: Um, no, I thought. I wanted a quilt. Something I could put on my bed.
    What can we say? Sometimes we just want a book.
    And thanks re Em. Hey, maybe someday you and I can go and try on stuff and take pictures of each other!

  6. Re: process
    There’s that end of July feeling, when the calendar is about to flip and summer shrinks. Hope you can make it through those paintings! And after next week, my time is more open so hope we can get together and shirk.

  7. I think we’re we’re thinking on the same line. I was driving after I wrote this entry, and realized as I was smiling at the thought of one minor character — so I’m planning to jump ahead and work on scenes with this rather angry girl. Hmmm…

  8. pushing, pushing…thanks for the cheer!

  9. Blue herons, pinched peas, blueberries: I like your summer pleasures!
    And it looks like they will power you through the middle section. Good luck!

  10. Thank you for the luck!

  11. LOL about the quilt! Something to put on the bed, something to see on a shelf! And the middle sometimes feels a lot like trying to mix those new and old fabrics–you wish you could just ignore the rips.
    The book is going to be great, you know?

  12. Thanks for the look ahead to the end! Oh, yeah, it may take a while — maybe a long while — but one day I can look for a place for this outside of an old chest.
    Back to the rips…

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