I found my keys

In my purse. Seriously. Don't laugh. Let me clarify: they were in the lining of my purse. Having snuck through a hole in the seam, they hugged up against a corner, making nary a sound except for some stifled giggling as I rifled through again and again in their pursuit. Yesterday, riding in the car with my purse on my knees, I felt the shape of them through the bottom of the purse and assumed I was hallucinating. I was not.

Let that be a lesson to you. What lesson? I don't know. But let it be one.

Lessons are important, after all. I've learned tons of them in the last week. Like, when you're buying cording to make piping for cushions don't just assume that the 99-cents-per-yard stuff they have up front is the right stuff. If you ask the expert lady, she might direct you to the back of the store where the right cording is just 29 cents per yard. Of course, you probably knew that. You probably didn't have to buy 11 yards of the expensive kind, then run out and then discover the right way to do things.

You probably already knew that whoever coined the phrase "measure twice, cut once" didn't realize what a dunce I am and should have said, "measure five times, cut once." So far, I'm averaging "measuring three times, cut twice, never quite understanding what the hell went wrong the first two."

These are expensive lessons, my friends.

But I am learning, and I think that was my point. I have to say I'm a fan of the whole learning process, mostly in theory. Take sewing, however, (which I realize you've no interest in, but bear with me nonetheless) which I have been doing for about two weeks now. I was struck this afternoon by how comfortable I am already with little things -- winding a bobbin, threading the needle, changing stitches, switching the foot on the machine -- that were completely alien to me a fortnight ago. For lack of a better phrase, I dig that.

I must note also that the knitter in me is both baffled by the intense precision involved in sewing and dazzled by what seems like instant gratification of small sewing projects. Knit a cushion cover and it might take you all weekend, sew it and you're finished in a couple of hours, max. I'm not abandoning knitting, however. You can't sit and watch TV with your sewing machine on your lap, nor do you get the same reward of tactile, soothing, repetitive motion from pressing the pedal as you do from slipping yarn in and around your needles.

The common thread (HA! Unintentional sewing pun!) in all of it is that there is probably little I love more on this earth than making things with my hands. With writing, I rarely enjoy the process, but I love the outcome. When I'm making things it's nearly all about the process itself, the challenge, the frustration and ultimate triumph of figuring out a new technique. It's definitely not about the outcome, since half the time it's lousy.

I've had to pull myself away from sewing the past week to tend to writing work that must be done -- articles for a freelance client, selecting and finishing a short story for my upcoming Iowa workshop. It seems that I should just be allowed to putter around all day, doing what I like, making things and being creative. Why isn't that a job -- covering the occasional throw pillow, slowly knitting a summer sweater? It just seems so unfair, having to work to survive, don't you think?