Thursday, May 22, 2014

New Warp, Fresh Page

 My most recent rug is finally off the loom.   It is my first attempt at the outline weave.   There are some mistakes but all in all I am pleased.  It is taboo to disparage your own weaving so I will display it proudly and take what I have learned from this project and move on to the next.

It is the same way with my writing.  When I finish a project I must send it off into the publishing world.  Hope I have done my best and hope my best is good enough for an agent or an editor.  I will always think I might have done a better job.  But I always hope to apply what I have learned from my most recent project to the new work brewing in my imagination.

I am a slow weaver.  Like my writing, my weaving sometimes gets pushed aside for other chores and responsibilities. Or I might sit in front of the loom as I sit in front of my lap top, trying to find the design of my project with false starts and rewrites.  I need to take out an inch of weaving to correct an error.  In the same way I might need to delete entire paragraphs and begin again.

 A new fresh warp waiting to be filled with color and design is exciting and it is scary in the same way a clean new page waiting for the first words of a new story or essay is both exciting and terrifying.  Both a story and a woven rug must have a well planned beginning, middle and end.  I like to have a pretty good idea of where I am going before I begin.

I the Navajo tradition,  Spider Woman turned the clouds into cotton which became the warp which receives the weft which is the sun's rays.

A blank page is ready to receive a story woven from my imagination and sometimes some research, my experience and all that is around me.

For my new project  on the loom I hope to use some of the fibers I have died myself with vegetable dies from wild carrot, walnut shells, sage brush, and rabbit brush.  I plan to go back to the more common flat weave and to make this my best project yet.  One with the right amount of tension and even edges. It is the largest rug I have attempted.  It may take me a year but I look forward to pride in my finished work.

I have several writing projects on my desktop now but the scariest one is a rewrite.  I have opened up a new page in Word and plan to tear the original work apart.   I will use critiques from writer friends and my editor, and I will dig deep into my own imagination to give the story the fabric and color it needs to to make it come alive for the reader.

While I don't expect my rug to appear at a Navajo rug auction, I do hope my picture book project will one day be on library shelves.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Light Writes the Story: Antelope Canyon and a Poem

Photography literally means writing with light.

Thousands of people come to Antelope Canyon outside of Page Arizona each year to capture the light that filters into the canyon and writes it's story on sandstone.

The light etches itself into cracks and crevices.  It flows in waves.

Light colors the spaces and gives us shadow.

It reveals the the story of alluvial formations and aeolian erosion that continues through the ages in this sacred Navajo landscape.

Light sets the mood and changes with the day, the season, the time.

It sets the stage.

Light illuminates the important, give us our moods and inspires the photographer and the poet alike.  It tells our story.

Human Things
by Howard Nemerov

When the sun gets low, in winter,
The lapstreaked side of a red barn
Can put so flat a stop to its light
You'd think everything was finished.

Each dent, fray, scratch, or splinter,
any gray weathering where the paint
Has scaled off, is a healed scar
Grown harder with the wounds of light.

Only a tree's trembling shadow
Crosses that ruined composure; even
Nail holes look deep enough to swallow
Whatever light has left to give.

And after sundown, when the wall
Slowly surrenders its color, the rest
Remains, its high, obstinate
Hulk more shadowy than the night.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Why I Love School Author Visits

1.  I wish I had one when I was in school.  I think I would have published sooner.

2.  I sign lots of books and feel like a diva for a day.

3.  I get to share my stories and my galimotos and artifacts from around the world.

4. And answer questions:  How old are you?  Answer:  I published my first book when I was 35, I began writing when I was 12.  Do the research on line, solve the math problem.  :-)

What is your favorite book that you wrote?  Answer:  My books are like my children.  I have 4 children.  I could never say one was a favorite (although the family has suspicions) ;-).  They are all special for different reasons and they have all given me some trouble along the way.  Every author knows after her book is in print that there are things she could have done to make it better.  We save those lessons learned for the next book.

 5.  I get to see the creativity my books inspire.  And I get new ideas myself.  Teachers and librarians tell me that after an author visit, books fly off the library shelves.  Not just my books, all books.   This is gratifying.

6.  I am always impressed how much the students know about writing and how they get right to work in a writing workshop.  

These kids inspire me.  I need to get back home and begin writing!