#12. Making things (FAIL)

Oh, friend. How I’ve let you down. If you’ve come here for wacky tales of how I changed this past week – especially after last week’s dubious, existential ranting about not-changing – how sad and disappointed you will be. I hope you have someone to hold and comfort you. This week, you see, was supposed to be about getting creative, about making things. I love, love, love to make things with my own two paws. I like to knit, sew, embroider, crack tiles and past ‘em together into mosaics, mix up bath potions, glue cotton balls and twigs together into Christmas ornaments and make shoebox dioramas of Johnny Tremain. (Okay, the latter I haven’t done since fourth grade, but I loooooooooooooved it then.)

However, I haven’t been making much stuff lately, which I realized as I was dusting and discovered a thick layer of filth coating my sewing machine. (This, by the way, is super good for sewing machines. Nothing ensures smooth performance like a motor full of dust.) I couldn’t actually remember the last time I’d dragged out my machine, yet it sits in the corner of my dining room, surrounded by spools of thread and lengths of fabulous fabric, waiting to be used. When, exactly, did I stop using it?

It occurred to me that maybe this was contributing to the disquiet I’d been feeling, this remove from the creative side of myself. The last vestige was just some catatonic knitting while watching TV. I could argue that that didn’t really involve the focus that a major sewing project did, or a mosaic or even doodling freehand embroidery for a pillow.

So I decided to spend the week making things again, even if that was daunting. Even if that meant having to re-learn stuff I’m embarrassed to have forgotten in the first place. I decided I would make one thing a day. Then that seemed ludicrous. Maybe not an entire thing, but I would make something – work on something – every day.

Only…then, I didn’t. The first day, depending on your definition, I may have adhered. I made a bookshelf. That’s right, from scratch. I went outside and I felled a tree from our front yard. (The big one, the 50 footer. It’ll grow back, right?) I chopped the wood. I cut it, sanded it, planed it, mitered it, then I constructed a modest three-shelf unit for our dining room. That felt like plenty, so I quit for the week.

Okay. That’s not what happened at all. I put together an Ikea bookshelf and somehow convinced myself that, at least for that day, I’d made something. Now, I recognize that I was perhaps adhering to the letter of the law rather than the spirit. I may have technically constructed a thing, but it didn’t really tap into my creativity, which was really supposed to be the focus. I resolved to do better the next day, finally tackling a tough

Then I took allergy medicine and it made me sleepy and I didn’t do anything for four days. Wow. That sounds even more lazy than I thought it would. In fairness, I didn’t feel well. My resolve waned. I was just so low energy. So…uninspired. And, on top of it, I had a family issue going on and I allowed myself to go off into a place of fear and worry where the only thing I could conceivably been making were ulcers.

I had a moment or two in there when I thought: I’m making my bed, that’s something. I even had a point on Saturday where I really, truly believed I should get points for making a sandwich. I’d clear lost sight of this assignment. Possibly of reality. The week of change had failed. Completely and totally.

So there you have it. My excuse, such as it is. But next week will be different. It has to be. Why? Because at this point, I’m even boring myself.