Dearest warm blankets, foggy windows, dewdrop morns spinning reality from the unreal. My fellow daydreamers, lollygaggers, the procrastinators, unbelievers. The true believers. We’re going to be okay.
We’ll write down everything, one way or another. Make the villains faceless or tattoo them with our own pasts. We’ll make a secret grief palpable, let readers taste the fear that rides the back of our throats. We will purge nightmares, make them gossamer threads to weave between the poetic. Sometimes we may startle or delight with the plain truth right there in black & white for anyone to see. We have the power to create, the choice to share or keep it all to ourselves.
We can live wherever we damn well please because we name the towns, sketch out our neighbors, color in the lines, let the sun set or rise or sleep beneath gauzy clouds.
My maternal grandmother learned to sew out of necessity. In her younger years, even if there had been stores nearby with off the rack affordable fashion, it all would have remained out of reach. She learned to sew, to patchwork, to crochet, and never took the time to consider any of it art. The crocheted blankets were for winter nights, the dresses or aprons or curtains modest but colorful. She strayed from traditional patterns just enough to leave her mark.
And when those blankets or dresses or aprons or curtains got too threadbare for mending, they went to the scrap pile, sure to be reborn one day in a beautiful quilt. Nothing so stylish or timely to be sold at a trendy swap meet, way before etsy or ebay, these creations served multiple purposes—gifts, lovely decor, sure to keep away a winter chill.
My grandmother spent her life in poverty. Lived most of her childhood and adulthood in abuse and lack. Everyday she got up, put on a handmade apron, cooked meals, cleaned house, and created art out of necessity.
I never had a hand for sewing. Though I worked diligently enough one autumn when the knees were too sore to do much else, crocheting scarves for Christmas gifts. That was temporarily satisfying. Rather expensive. And not so fabulous for me to ever try again. All through that autumn I thought about my lousy ineptitude. My lack of necessity. I could have saved about fifty bucks, driven to the mall, and bought scarves for everyone on my list. Probably had a nice lunch and bought a book, too. But I stayed the course until a dozen were complete thinking of my grandmother, shipped them off, put the yarn and needles away, and couldn’t tell you where any of it is today.
Maybe I gave some thought to whether or not the recipients experienced the same feeling I did after being gifted with that pink and white quilt, or the eighth grade graduation dress with the little red buds and princess cuffs. Someone made this for me, out of love, out of nothing but scraps of fabric. Out of hours of their life.
I can’t do that with a needle and thread, but I can tell one hell of a story.
We’re all going to be okay.