The thing about writing is it doesn’t have to be perfect. Repeat that to yourself again and again. It doesn’t have to be grammatically correct. It doesn’t have to happen in paragraphs. It simply needs to come from your heart.
I have just returned from a Slow Stitching retreat hosted by A Gathering of Stitches and to say it was an awakening experience is a gross understatement. Sure there was quilting—some of it tiny, some of it slow, although decidedly better and therefore faster—and I’ll talk more about that in another post, but I wanted to write, before I forget, or rather to remember, that for me, this weekend ultimately became about the people and the experience, rather than the stitching.
I’ve written before about my inability to make and maintain friends, and I have found myself inadvertently wrapped up in another drama this week that I just don’t have time for, or rather that I don’t want to make time for. Patience is not my strong suit.
I registered for this retreat with one goal in mind—to get to know Chawne Kimber (of Completely Cauchy) and Carolyn Friedlander (well, of Carolyn Friedlander) better. Chawne and I had chatted electronically before and I suspected (correctly) we’d have a lot in common as we both have strong opinions on “things,” and Carolyn—well she is a Florida girl, and us Florida girls have to stick together. [As it turns out Chawne is a Florida girl too.] Plus, I think they’re both crazy talented. What I didn’t anticipate was the connection I would also feel to each of the other women who attended. From the get go it was like walking into a slumber party (but without all the junior high bullshit) where even though you hadn’t met these people you had an instant connection. Early on we discussed quilts with words, and two women old enough to be my mother (one who was there with her grown daughter) both comfortably dropped the f-bomb like it was nothing. My immediate reaction was to relax. I realized early in that first group conversation that I wouldn’t have to filter or censor my words, my opinions, or my perspective. I was comfortable, and would be accepted. We were all comfortable and accepting. As the weekend went on I realized that these women, who came from all around the country, but with a concentration from Maine, were profoundly opinionated, and (fortunately) liberal. They were not afraid to speak their mind on a host of topics such as politics, religion, or the substance, or lack thereof, of the world in which we quilt. There was, laughing, and storytelling, and different perspectives, experiences, and histories. I have missed this kind of interaction with women. Not just recently, but in general.
This weekend made me realize that I want more, need more. More substance. More discussions. More meaningfulness in my quilting, my relationships, and the intersections of the two. I need to do the work to cultivate these types of relationships. If I want to be recognized for my work in quilting I have to 1) finish more and 2) get vulnerable and put myself out there.
One foot in front of the other.