Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lessons From The Spindle: One And A Half Weeks On

Making myself spin every day has been hard for me. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to fiberarts. When it doesn't go right, I tense up and in turn mess up the spinning. I start to grasp the roving more tightly and my drafting becomes more 'ripping', I cringe at each scub and uneven patch. When the thread snaps and the spindle falls, I turn red with embarrassment, even though I'm the only one in the room.

I've struggled to clamp down on the perfectionist and just concentrate on production. Some of the wool I've spun is done well and some not so well. But that's not the point. The point is simply doing, actually practicing and not fearing the mistakes.

There have been days when I haven't wanted to pick up the spindle and spin, and this week, I'm worried that I assigned myself a little too much to spin for the week, life just keeps getting in the way, and unlike my forebears, I'm still terribly self-conscious of spinning in public. The perfectionist that stops me from doing so many activities if I'm not sure I'll do them perfectly (or as close to it as I can manage) steps in.

Once again, these are lessons from the spindle. The more I spin, the more I'm surprised by how much spinning can teach about life and the more I think I understand a little more of how spinning became its own mystery of sorts. It's not just about wool production, there is so much more to spinning... sisterhood, the transmission of stories and legends, a schooling of sorts, morality, taboo, heritage...

But back to that damn perfectionist streak. This perfectionist streak, which I don't often acknowledge or realise is most definitely there. It's what stops me from actually moving forward with writing my book, or the myriad of other stories I have in my head. It's what makes me edit and re-edit and re-edit again and again and again until I'm second/third/forth guessing my word choices and the mental picture I'm painting to the point that I can't write full stop (I'm already on my third edit of this blog post). It's the part of me that causes me to stop seeing the scene that I'm writing and to see only grammar tenses, punctuation and words. It's what stops me from moving on with my career, this all-pervasive fear of failure and not being that perfect person.

I'm only just beginning to realise these lessons, hopefully given time, and more spinning, they'll sink in and I'll actually finish that book and plant the seeds for that career I should be getting on with.

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