Thursday, August 23, 2012

Living the Life Creative

I am in a mixed marriage. He's a Catholic.  I'm a Lutheran.  He's a conservative.  I'm a liberal. He's a mechanical engineer. I'm a creative. I know, right?!  That last one is a doozy, but somehow we make it work.  There are times though, that he looks at me with the amazement a child would display over seeing dogs sniffing one another.  It's like the old adage: Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.  Except in this case it would be: DH is from Planet Logic and I'm from Ooo, shiny! For those who are not natural born creatives, let me preemptively answer a few questions:

1.) Yes, I MUST touch or smell everything interesting to me.  I know this seems like the behavior of a toddler, but I can assure you I won't be putting it in my mouth, so all is well.

2.) Sometimes I just stare out the window or sit outside and do nothing but take in the sights, sounds, smells, and beauty all around me.  I find beauty in the simplest things: the curve of a leaf, the articulated leg of a grasshopper, the smell of the breeze passing over fresh water, the sounds of nature, and the color palette of the sky.  No, I'm not zoning out. No, I'm not "self-medicating."  ;)

3.) No, I cannot have too many "hobbies." I have an incredible need to express my feelings and thoughts via media, whether it be yarn, fiber, fabric, paint, or textiles.  Every medium is different and offers me the opportunity to create a mood based on a technique, a color, a texture, or a combination thereof.  No, I am not undergoing psychotherapy.  ;)

4.) I cannot force my creativity.  I need to feel in the moment.  Yes, that means I may flake out and not write, design, knit, or create for months.  The entire process is about self-expression, self-awareness, and enjoyment - not about mass-production.

5.) Yes, I make money creating.  No, it's not a lot.  No, money is not the reason I create.  And NO, money doesn't encourage me to mass produce.  Being creative is more of a personal pursuit, than a professional one for me.  I like that I can make money at it, but would not be devastated if I never earned another penny from it.

6.) Does being creative mean I must be unique? Nope.  It means that I'll be creating whatever makes me the most inspired at the moment, whether it's creating a beautiful shawl from a pattern that another artist wrote or writing one of my own patterns.

7.) No, not all artists are clad in Birkenstocks, Boho dresses, smoking dope, and saving the whales while making art that speaks to the socio-economic truths of our age.  Personally, I like to wear my husband's t-shirts, a pair of sock monkey slippers while sipping coffee, and reading blogs.  Oh, and I am a typical mom.  No, I don't live in a commune.  I live in a cape cod with too much laundry, dust on top of the cabinets, and am in a perpetual state of disarray.

8.) It may look like it is just knitting, like Grandma used to do, but it's actually keeping me from dozing off ( or poking my own eardrums out) while listening to the PTO moms ramble on about the perils of the pickup lane.

9.) No, I'm not ignoring you.  Yes, I can knit and listen/talk at the same time.  I'm a mom, for God's sake.  I can juggle, fold laundry, and bandage wounds at the same time.  I think I can handle listening and knitting together.

10.) Yes, I bring my knitting everywhere.  Yes, I talk about it.  I also listen to you talk about Fantasy Football, tail-gating, and your kids' wonderful soccer season while admiring your numerous sports memorabilia.  No, it's not that different.  I just happen to prefer knitting.  It's not any more obsessive than your need to watch, participate in, or promote year-round sports.

11.) Yes, I was born this way.  My mother was not a creative type. My father is into cooking and gardening.  Neither of them even own yarn.  It's not a lifestyle choice.  It's biology.

12.) Yes, I know I can buy socks at Walmart for $2.96.  Yes, I realize you wouldn't have the patience to knit your own socks.  Yes, they really ARE better handknit.

13.) No, I'm not a bored housewife.  Most housewives I know like shopping, spa treatments, PTO meetings, Girls Nite Out, Book Club, and the soccer mom life.  I could do any of those things, but I prefer a cup of tea, a circle of friends, and a hank of cashmere.

14.) No, I don't knit my husband sweaters.  He promises not to try to part me from my yarn and I promise not to make him a $400 sweater he'll never wear.

15.) Yes, there are other knitters under 90 - just like me!  In fact, there are millions of men and women who knit, crochet, weave, and spin - and we don't make toilet paper cozies and ugly holiday sweaters.  Yes, Vogue really DOES have a knitting mag.

16.) No, I don't want to spend 20 hours and my beautiful Merino-Cashmere-Nylon blend (which I stalked a shop update for) to make you a hat.  1.) You won't take care of it as instructed. 2.) You won't appreciate how much work went into making it.  and 3.) You won't want to pay me $40 for the yarn + $5/hr to make it.

17.) Yes, knitting, crocheting, weaving, and spinning are creative endeavors.  No, I'm not trying to find something to do with my time.  See #13.

18.) Yes, I know the yarn at Walmart is cheaper.  No, I don't want you to buy me yarn, especially novelty yarn. Yes, I know it's "just yarn", but I cannot feel inspired by something that is simultaneously chaffing the skin off of my fingers.  Yarn to a fiber artist is like paint to a painter.  You wouldn't take a professional painter (artist) a container of Crayola water colors from the dollar store, would you?  Yes, I'm a professional artist.  See #5

19.) Yes, I take pictures of odd things because I like the color palette.

20.) Yes, I have pictures of my yarn.  Yes, I have pics of my kids too.  No, I'm not crazy.  Yes, I know you all call me "crazy yarn lady." ;p



  1. OMG - Love, Love, Love... esp #16! I am sitting here nodding and uh-huhing... :)

  2. Well said. My friends don't understand me, either. Nor does my family, for that matter!

  3. Awesome and so true. Isn't it good to know we have a community?

  4. I don't even pay much attention to it anymore I have become the crazy fiber animal lady:)

  5. Oh, yes! I could have written so much of that - especially #9, 13, & 16. Too funny because it's sooooo true.

  6. Number 9 is my favorite. This is SO me and my husband.

  7. Could not have said it better myself. I work outside the home and have grown immune to the looks and comments of people who think my day job is incongruous with my fiber obsessions. HUH? We creatives are EVERYWHERE and we NEVER complain that we have nothing to do. I love this list of preemptive answers. Pure genius.

  8. very funny! and it's like you are talking for me :)

  9. Thank you writing what I'm thinking. I have found myself explaining how knitting at meetings helps me focus so I don't fidget.

  10. I'm right there with you Sister! I am married to an electrical engineer & even though we see eye to eye politically & religiously we are very different. I too am a housewife & mom & have not been bored since my first pregnancy 21 years ago! I bring my knitting everywhere with me where my children ask when we go on long trips, "Mom, do you have your knitting?" thank you for writing this, what a joy!


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