"Never give in, never give in, never give in."
~ Winston Church ~
Well Gee Willy Wonka. Who'da thought? Not anyone who knows me, that's for sure. Today I have begun actually spinning on a spinning wheel. That might not SOUND like such a big deal since I have been spinning and selling my art yarns for years, but I have always been a hand spindle spinner and have rather a huge collection of spindles at that and love them, but I have LONGED to spin on a wheel. I just never could get it. It was like higher math to me while with a spindle in my hand I felt like I had been BORN spinning and have spun hundreds of skeins of yarns, but, I have still longed to spin on a wheel (... and with the equivalent of about a dozen 18-wheelers full of fiber if'n I didn't ding/dang/dong get goin' on a wheel I would never get all this fiber spun in three lifetimes on a spindle...).
The thing is I have purchased three wheels. I bartered the first one, a perfectly gorgeous, brand new, Kromski "Symphony," for fiber. It nearly gave me a nervous breakdown and I crept happily back to my spindles but that gorgeous wheel's new owner did dandy on her from the get-go. But Gertrude, above, was always my dream wheel, an Ashford "Country Spinner" and this is an older one because you can no longer get one with a single treadle which is what I really wanted. I bought her used in 2005 and could never get going on her. The next year I bought a vintage wheel not made since the 70's, and had no better luck with her. She's not a looker but a fine little wheel. Her name is Matilda...
Since I spin thick art yarns I needed a wheel with a large orifice (the opening where the fiber feeds through onto the bobbin) and when I started looking a few years back there were precious few wheels with large orifices that the then newly on the scene art yarns could easily produce. Now you can find a number of wheels for this purpose and that's grand, but I'm an old fashioned sort of girl and I like old, vintagey, used things. The energy of a spinner gone by who spent many happy hours spinning away on her beloved wheel, which is now in my living room. I've got a real mess over there, just opposite me, where the wheel has been set up with a good spinning chair, a huge container of fibers on one side for spinning and a giant basket with handspun yarns on the other with my huge fiber art piece that I'm working on on the other. I got so excited about getting going I just wanted to get this entry up but within the week I shall get several more pictures of both fiber art and wheel-a-spinning in a new entry. And it won't take so long for the next entry to get up because all of a sudden something conked me over the head and I am, well I blush to say this, kind of giddy-happy!!!
Embarrassing, I know. I will be 57 on the 30th of next month but yes I still do get giddy-happy and I even think the pugs get kind of snorty-giggly right along with me. Happiness is contagious. Why you should hear big Flounder Bird, my greenwing macaw. When I start laughing he starts cackling with glee sounding more like Vincent Price than V.P. did in his day. That bird is scary-adorable.
I don't know what happened to me, I really don't, but Gertrude has been calling to me. I mean seriously creeping into my consciousness and doing a number on me. I've almost gone out to the shed to get her 100 times, but today I charged straight on out there, carried her in, got the polish and rag and cleaned her up until she gleamed, sat down with what I admit was a nervous grimace and tried. And failed. And tried. And no-go. And I kept gritting my teeth harder and getting more determined. And then I laughed. And then I relaxed. And then I thought, "Oh, what the hey! It's bound to happen sooner or later." And DANG, as soon as I relaxed it happened sooner!
Now, I've not ANY illusions that I'm spinning great yarn on her yet, but I'M SPINNING ON HER AND WE ARE BOTH ALL WHOOZY AND WHEEZING AND GIGGLING AND CLUNKING ALONG. And I will be spending many hours a day I can tell you and we shall be, if wobbly at first, spinnin' away, "to infinity and beyond!". Buzz Lightyear would be so proud! He he he. I feel silly I'm so giddy, but Gertrude and I are going to conquer the world, or at least our own little corner of it.
The moral of the lesson, as Winston Churchill said, is to "Never give in, never give in, never give in." It may take years but one day a bee gets in your bonnet and you don't even allow yourself to imagine it WON'T happen. It's taken me nearly 7 years to get to this point so don't feel bad if it takes you a while, whether it's spinning or running a marathon, or flying a plane, it really doesn't matter. It's never been about the wheel. I made up all kinds of excuses like the fact that I'd bought her used and something "must have been wrong with her." Well there wasn't diddly squat wrong with her. Me, that's a whole 'nother matter. Timing is everything, and it's never in our own imagined time frame. That's the thing. We think we can conquer time. Well, that idea can be set out with tomorrow's trash. Just get up every day and keep on keeping on living the best life you can and when the time is right -- and not a moment before -- the "impossible" says, "IT'S TIME!!!" and you're off to the races.
I would like to address something else here. It's embarrassing too, but so full of lessons and truths that I'd like to share that I think I must, especially since I've gotten over the hump so to speak (which has only taken, oh, say, 12 years or so...).
I have been a professional writer for more than 30 years. Taught creative journal writing classes for thirty, five online, before there were the plethora of books that there are out now on journal-keeping. It's a wonderful thing and should be shared and multiplied and added to and just be the creative explosion that it has become and I am thrilled about that, but after having been scarily prolific to most people for 4 1/2 decades, when my 30 year marriage ended something happened to me. It was the beginning of my going into deep seclusion, a place in which I've found comfort and respite, and really the place I prefer to live and be and do my work, but then, ahem, the work part, well, it has dragged along hither and yon and not done so well. Fits and starts and sales and publishing things here and there but I used to be a writing machine and in most of the last decade the vast part of my writing has been on blogs.
Now, here's the thing and it's something I want to say LOUD AND CLEAR not just to others but to myself, so I can hear it and remember it and feel the flood of gratitude I now do to this marvelous art form and the community of friends I've made here. Here goes....
You see everyone who knew me as a decades long prolific writer who wrote for magazines, newspapers, was published in anthologies, and had three small presses, (...this was under my previous name, and I'd like to leave it there. I changed my name legally in 2005 after my divorce was final and it was a rebirth for me. All that I was helped lead me into who I am and am becoming, but it is the work I have been doing in the last 12 years, the new woman that I am, that is the direction I both want to take and be remembered by if my work is remembered at all. That matters to me.) and more, have worried about me. If I heard from one more person that "doing all that blogging is keeping you from doing your REAL writing" I think I'd throw a cantaloupe at their head. Or bash one on mine. And I didn't realize until just this week, with certainty, that though I always BELIEVED (or wanted to) that they were wrong, now I KNOW they were wrong.
Blogging did not "take my real writing away from me." No, blogging kept me writing when I might not have otherwise during the most difficult decade+ of my life. Blogging has probably SAVED my life in more ways than I will understand or see for sometime, and I am committed to this blog and to all of the wonderful people who visit and the dear friends that I have made in the blogging community for the rest of my days. YOU, dear friends, have been a life raft in a sea that I thought I might drown in, never to be seen again. The kind men and women and their wonderful blogs and wondrous creativity and even more incredible huge open hearts have meant more to me than almost anything ever has, and I thank you all, humbly, from the bottom of my heart.
I AM Maitri Libellule, legally, spiritually, and every other way imaginable. Maitri has to do the work now. There is no such thing as resting on past laurels. They had their day. I'm proud of my accomplishments and certainly much of what I did, like having had 3 different small presses, and writing for so long, are the foundation of what my work is today, but we can take all of that and funnel it into a new reality and that is exactly what I am doing. And I am spinning, and I am blogging, and I am writing a book that is a compilation of everything I love, writing and art all in one, and this too has held me back for EONS. I kept feeling that I had to -- and most of my friends were encouraging the same thing -- write a "traditional" format book and try to have it published through one of my past agents or find another. This never felt right for me and it has kept me frozen. I'd start but always get to the place where the ice was too thin and I was afraid I'd fall in and I'd slip-slide back to shore and another ill-fated, lately started book would fall through the crack in the thin ice. AND I THINK THAT THIS IS WONDERFUL!!!
Wonderful because it is a Testament to everything that I have come to believe, and that is that if we are continually fighting our way upstream against what we really long in our hearts to do we will never make it. To thine own Self be true. I may end up being the woman in the flamingo hat with all the pugs and parrots that scares the hoo-haa out of the neighbors who think I'm nuts all the while I'm just sitting here doing my work as happy as a clam, but by gosh and by golly I'ma gonna do it all the way I want to do it. The way I BELIEVE I am MEANT to do it, and I have no doubt that I will succeed. I don't know what that success will look like, but if it keeps my life moving forward in a positive and loving way, keeps me productive and able to feed the zoo here, fills me with a sense of purpose and allows me to achieve my deepest, most important goal, the goal that is seated in the prayer that I wrote for myself decades ago and say every day of my life, "God, help me to be a channel for your peace, love, light, hope and joy." then I will have achieved something that I can be proud of.
I may never, as most of us don't, ever really see or know what I have accomplished and plenty of people around me will never truly understand, even if they love me and want what's best for me, but finally I have to live my life the way I see fit, and try to do the best for myself and others, and it all finally came together when I sat myself down in front of Gertrude today, foot to treadle, fiber being guided gently and a bit sheepishly through my hands, and then --- oh red hot heavenly days, I DID IT -- and it wasn't just spinning I was doing, it was finding myself. She was always there waiting, but I couldn't believe in her. Today I do. Two parts of myself are coming together as one and I can hardly believe it.
In the end, none of it is really my business. In the Zen sense spinning will do spinning and writing will do writing and I will breathe and bow and feed my animals, chop wood and carry water, and continue on. I have no way to see the future and it doesn't matter. Today I know I'm on my way. Today I'm writing the book I want to write the way I want to write it and I am SPINNING amongst pugs and parrots, mountains of books and fiber, music and air and light and the first flowers of spring and a marvelous cup of tea right here beside me. I am blessed beyond measure, I am humbled and grateful, and now my job is just to live my life, do my work and yes, keep blogging. Blogging had a big part in getting me here. Blogging is not a waste of time, no, blogging is a CELEBRATION.
Today I feel so much JOY! Hot dang diggity dog, it's about time.
With more love than I can possibly say, and big warm hugs going out in every direction...
P.S. Just put a folder full of nearly 80 photos of a sampling of my fiber work up from 2010-11 on Facebook. You can visit the album here if you'd like to have a look-see!