Sunday, June 17, 2012

Here's a photo of my Confetti Cats project  
It has been way too long since I last posted to any of my blogs. I have kept in touch on Facebook and liked the short sweet way of connecting with stitching friends while I sorted out problems I had with the blogging process. It happens, now that my savvy technicians have prevailed, that I had an insidious virus that made it nearly impossible for me to access my blogs. Add to that the changes blogger has undergone, AND my terrible case of procrastination and you have my list of excuses.

As creative people we tend to keep a stash of reasons and excuses for not getting into the sewing room or not finishing up those most boring aspects of making a project -- just stitch on the binding and be done with it!

Since my last blog entry I have become catless. All three of my darlings died. Two of them were 20 years old and were brother and sister and died within a week of each other. We had been expecting it for several years, but our Bernie seemed to keep them young. When he died unexpectedly (heart attack on blood clot, we think), the other two began their decline. These past few months may be the longest time in my life that I have remained catless. When we lived in the middle of farm country some friend or farmer would provide a new feline for our household. Or some beautiful fur baby would simply show up at the doorstep and move in. Often family members gifted our sons with cats as birthday presents. But our geography and cat circumstances are different these days and no cat has come knocking and I don't know any farmers within a 1200 mile radius.

But, as someone who does not relish house cleaning, I find a hairless home rather inviting. I keep telling myself that as soon as I eradicate the entire house from the last of their cat hair, I will get another cat -- or two. I haven't rushed into cleaning. I may have a fear of commitment or it could just be procrastination. That fear may extend into sewing projects because I haven't even been knitting lately and haven't touched the sewing machine in far far far far far too long. Maybe I have a virus, too....

What I am doing is reading. And I'm finding books that I enjoy and draw inspiration from and books that cause me to think. Right now I have three books open at the same time -- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers, and Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt. All are amazing in their own ways.

I'll admit that The Historian has been on my shelf for a good long time. I had heard from friends how good it was, but I thought I didn't want to read about blood thirsty vampires. So far it is about the hunt through history for such a creature -- Dracula -- and the writing is quite good. Perhaps what changed my mind was reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Decent writing, a rather lean plot, too much tea drinking and sniffing of each other, but an interesting love story and history lesson that involved witches and vampires. It was a much improved version (in my opinion) of Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I only managed to get through the first book of that series. Harkness is writing a trilogy and I'm looking forward to the second book. I do hope she can afford a better editor for the second book.

Friends have been extolling the virtues of Eggers' book, a memoir/fiction combination if he's to be believed. And I must admit that the writing style has drawn me in, although I can't seem to find affection for the characters. But the stream of consciousness kind of writing, the way the story flows and stops and flows and changes direction and yet works, really works, has me reading to see how this works. The storyline of an older sibling taking a much younger brother to raise after the death of both parents within weeks of each other due to cancer also keeps me reading. The honesty or apparent honesty of the voice is also inviting, but 20 year old self-indulgent young men really aren't my favorite characters, so I'm lapping up parts of this book and tolerating others. Yet I recommend it, especially to writers who want to see a book put together in a different way.

Ahhhh and then we come to Tony Judt's book that taught me, within the first few pages, the difference between  liberals and social democrats. Perhaps the one thought that has drawn me into this book was

"Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. ...We have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: .... We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth."

So for anyone who has had the same feelings that I have -- that there is something profoundly wrong with a country who worships making money rather than providing services or making a product -- you might find this book fascinating. So far it is an easy read. I like his informal style. But for me it isn't a quick read because I stop to savor and ponder and consider and weigh what he's saying.

So this is what I've been doing lately. This is what has kept me from the blog, from  the sewing machine, and from my dear fabric loving friends. I hope to do better at multi-tasking.