If you didn't read, then I would have no one to share my cherry pie with, would I?
**************The topic of connections has been much on my mind recently. As I worked my way through the plagiarism issues, a question first occurred to me, then began to nag at me, and eventually became the raw material for contemplation.
If the words do not belong to me (and all I must do is open my copy of Websters to confirm that others have used that word before) then what does? And where does the creative process come into the equation?
To put it in knitting terminology, Who made the sweater? Was it the knitter, who performed the manual labor? Or the pattern designer, who provided the template? Maybe it was the independent dyer who created the color. Or the one who spun the wool. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the sheep, without whom none of this would be possible, after all.
I think that what creative people do is form connections. The words aren't mine, but the way I connect them, is. The yarn and the pattern aren't mine, but the color and fiber choice is. The design is original, but it is made up of stitch patterns from Barbara Walker's Treasuries. The painter didn't make the pigment, but she chose which colors to put where, and in what amounts.
We didn't make the raw materials, but we connected them. And how we have connected them is what makes the world so varied and so endlessly fascinating.
One of the core principles of Next Voice, the company that is publishing my book, is that "It's only about the relationships." All of life and the quality thereof can be boiled down to those five little words.
Think about it. At our basic physiological level, our body is composed of an intricate web of relationships or connections. It is a delicate balance, and when one thing goes out of place, often the whole organism is affected, for better or, too often, for worse.
And the brain? Well the old cranium is all about the synapses, the connections. Without them, there is no thought at all, let alone original thought.
On a sociological level, humans need to form groups to survive. The need for connection is one of the most primal of all human impulses. One which we know well, as part of the knitting community.
We can exist alone, but we thrive communally. And if we are blessed, our relationships deepen, and we can move through community and into true communion with one another.
Even the very fabric of knitting is a series of connections and relationships. Each stitch is connected in various ways with others. Connect them all the same way and you get garter stitch. Turn it around on a regular basis and you get stockinette. Mix it up a bit , twist and shout, and watch the cables take shape. Bring some of the stitches a little closer, create personal space between others, and you have lace.
In ordinary discourse, we generally plow along from point a to point b, taking the shortest distance between two points: a straight line, or track if you will. Now don't take me wrong; that kind of communication is important. It connects us one to another, and passes along useful information in a timely manner.
But I believe a writer has to jump the tracks, and form what may seem at first to be extraneous detours., if she hopes to write anything new and interesting. For it is in the relationship between two formerly unconnected images or ideas that one finds that "Aha" moment. That serendipitous moment when a previously unimagined whole coalesces from two differing parts. That's the joy, the passion, the spark of creativity that takes the ordinary wood of daily existence and turns it into fire.
Today, I was reminded of how much better my husband and I are together than apart. He is the analyzer, the fixer upper, the rationalist, the guru with things. "Give it to Dad. He can fix anything." I am the intuitive one, who reads emotions and people like he reads tech manuals.
My coffeemaker went belly up on me yesterday. Now for some, this would not be news. For me it is a disaster of epic proportions. I looked at it, couldn't figure out the problem, threw up my hands and gave up.
He took the blamed thing apart, cleaned all the parts with vinegar and a toothbrush, reassembled the machine, called the helpline, and when all that didn't solve the problem, arranged for them to send a postage paid pre-addressed box for us to send it back to the manufacturer for replacement (thank God for two year warranties.)
Alone, I was up a caffeine-free river without a filter. Together, we, didn't fix the machine, but at least we figured out what to do about it. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
There has been a thread recently running through blog postings, about how people feel they are somehow less creative if they make a chevron scarf, or a monkey sock, or a Kauni sweater, because everyone else has done it already, and the blogger in question has stolen or borrowed the idea. Well, news flash, people. All our original ideas stand on the shoulders of those that came before. There is no truly "original" material in this world.
But there are lots of "original" connections, and for that I am profoundly grateful.
Here are some connections I have made recently:
This picture of hostas in my side yard
made me think of this sweater pattern by Joan McGowan, with its undulating ribbing that echoes so well, the veining in the hosta leaves. I know one day the right yarn will present itself and a new whole will emerge. Someday...
But what about today?
Combined with this:
Handmaiden Silk Maiden in Ivory
(from my stash)
Handmaiden Ivory Seasilk
(also from stash)
To create this:
The beginnings of the back of Nora Gaughan's Sand Dollar Pullover from Knitting Nature.
The Silk Maiden is a little light for the pattern, but adding the seasilk and double stranding not only makes the yarn fit the gauge, but it contributes to the chiaroscuro, or shifting sands element of the sweater. See?
I didn't write the pattern. I didn't spin the wool.
But I made the connections and that makes it mine.