Thursday, September 30, 2021

Avoiding Writing: Fun with Crochet!
 First, a disclaimer:  I haven't been "avoiding writing". Not completely, anyway. I've been putting out a weekly episodic story on Amazon's new platform, Kindle Vella (more info on that project here: Serendipity at the End of the World); and being an Assistant Editor for Cast of Wonders also takes up a lot of my time while keeping me immersed in the world of speculative fiction.

But...I wouldn't be a real writer if I didn't have two Works in Progress that are being sorely neglected right now. One is a YA project about Bluegrass/Traditional/Mountain Music and Sirens (the mythological singing creatures); and one is an Adult Urban Fantasy about an ex-special forces sharp-shooter and powerful telekinetic. In my head I think of it as a gender-flipped version of The Punisher but with magic.

Writers like to make jokes about doing anything to procrastinate and avoiding writing: cleaning house, exercising, baking, posting pet photos, etc., etc., etc. I'm particularly guilty of that, and lately my favorite way to avoid writing is by working on my newest hobby: Crochet!

I've mentioned before that my mom is queen of fiber arts. I even modeled a short story character ("The Art of Crafting Resistance") after her in BADASS MOMS, an anthology edited by our very own Mary Fan. For as long as I can remember, my Mom has had a ball of yarn trailing after her wherever she goes. After college, I decided to take inspiration from her and teach myself to crochet. This was in the early days of the Internet (OMG, I am so old) when YouTube wasn't quite the go-to for tutorials it is today. So, I found a "How to Crochet for Beginners" book at the craft store and tried teaching myself a few things. Mostly I learned how to do straight lines. That meant I made a lot of scarves and small blankets before getting bored and giving up.

Fast forward *cough*twentysome*cough* years and the COVID pandemic hits.  Like almost everyone else, I was trying to stay occupied at home in ways that didn't involve actually breaking down and finishing writing a book. So, I got sucked into joining one of those on-line crochet kit clubs that kept seducing me on Instagram. "I'm going to teach myself to crochet again, but for real this time!"

The final product...IF I'm lucky That didn't happen. Not for about six or seven months, anyway. I signed up. I gave them my payment info, and they dutifully shipped me a package of yarn and pattern instructions every month. Those packets piled up under my desk. I had found plenty of other ways to occupy my time, telling myself I'd give the crochet thing a try when I needed a warm cozy project for cold, dark, winter evenings.

Finally, a few weeks ago, the guilt of all those unopened packages got to me. I decided to stop lying to myself and actually open a package and see how overwhelming it all was going to be. Let me backtrack again for a moment, first. Another thing that happened was that my husband starting working out of town a lot. A LOT. And sitting home alone in the evenings was getting majorly depressing--I needed something to distract me. I also have a really hard time sitting in front of the TV (or listening to audio books) without keeping my hands busy. I used to play simple video games on my tablet, but that felt too indulgent and pointless. A little voice in my head was saying, "Couldn't you do something more meaningful with your time?" It gave me the idea to at least spend that time working on crafts or something. I used to do a lot of crafty things, but I'd given a lot of that up with starting a family and writing and working full time and blah blah blah. That little voice wasn't criticizing me for not being productive enough, but more for forgetting about some of the creative, non-writing things I used to love doing.

So...I broke open that first package of yarn, I pulled up the first tutorial video, and I started crocheting.

And crocheting...

And crocheting...

And now I'm totally hooked (pun intended). I've got eight kits in all, and I'm currently halfway through kit three. I hope I keep up this momentum and finish the afghan and don't end up stuffing it away unfinished in one of my craft bins. A Work in Progress never to be completed, sort of like my books. Ha ha ha...*sobs*.

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