Monday, May 26, 2008

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Notes from Under the Fog
Portland in May. Rain. A little sun. Rain. Grey. Fog. Rain.
I've been away from posting for a time. Working all the many layers of establishing a means of income from this mission of mine. Thinking I don't "have anything to say". Wanting to be crafting some cleverly perfect musings about Death. Sharp natters. Insightful commentary. Barf. This isn't my 'novel' --it's my blog. I get to write in it! Sometimes it's all of those things I listed. Sometimes it's different. Like today.

During the time 'away' I've been learning on my new sewing machine all about 'free motion quilting'- which is a feature I am adding to the shrouds. I've been making more of the pet shrouds, meeting with veterinarians, sourcing biodegradable ribbon (harder than you might think....) . I've been using the lovely embroidery features on the new machine to trim the shrouds I'm making. I'm writing new brochure copy, consulting about the website, researching micro-loans, venture capital, angel investors, etc. etc. I've almost got my new logo done, am about to have a photo shoot, about to launch the website....(sooon....sooon....)

And for some reason have encountered a large layer of terror.

Feels like a big lumpy 'something' under a rug in the doorway. Sometimes, somehow I step over it, or cringe around it....or, lots of times I just sit in the room feeling like I can't get past it. What does it mean to really really put these shrouds 'out there' in a *bigger* way in the world? What am I fearful of? Getting it right? getting it wrong? getting too many orders? getting no orders?
There's some kind of perfectionism lurking here, I know it. I just read something about this from, 'Art and Fear' by David Bayles and Ted Orland, quoted in a book about quilting creatively. Here's an excerpt...

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group:. 50 lbs. of pots rated an "A", 40 lbs. a "B" and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot-albeit a perfect one- to get an "A." Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work-and learning from their mistakes-the "quality" group had sat theorizing about the perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay... To require perfection is to invite paralysis.

Every day there is something to be done. Every day there is fabric, thread, batting, ribbon, and time-- to 'waste' create things with. A day with no 'product' isn't necessarily wasted.
Doing Doing Doing....No one thing I do is any more important, really, than any other. It's easy to see that when I'm, say, on retreat and deep into the silence. But the world out here seems so convincing in its urgency. So emphatically sure of the hierarchy of tasks and the necessity of a ' finished, perfect product'.

It seems like I'm waiting for something to be "done". (preferably perfectly) in order to have it 'out there' for 'public consumption'. Maybe this is what has stopped me from writing these last several weeks....I don't 'have anything "done".
And now, in my mind, I am hearing my octegenarian friend, Jean. Once, in a conversation about wanting to be 'done' with things she said to me "Done? DONE?! ... 'Done' is Dead, Dear!"
I'm smiling again. She cracked me up with that one. There's nothing like a good perspective check.
So...I'm not done. Still here. Glad you are too.