When the man in my neighborhood “sold” me a tapestry loom for a can of cookies, a loaf of bread, and a future weaving, I had no idea how this would change my life. (To read about how I learned to weave, read the story Becoming a Weaver).
Despite dealing with a difficult child, intense work as a teacher, playwright, director, and writer, and later, another challenging marriage, I had something of my own. Something I could do that satisfied my need to create that wasn’t subject to other people’s opinions, schedules, requirements, or wants. I wove with my fingers and a fork, quietly, simply—without a plan. If I liked what I wove, I kept it. If not, I undid it. I learned the hard way that if I didn’t like what I wove, to unweave immediately. Too many times I thought I could live with what I’d woven, only to realize five inches later, I couldn’t. Unweaving and then reweaving, with weaving on top and below it, is tedious and problematical. I learned to pay attention to what I felt without making excuses. The weaving process was mine. Only mine.
In 1984 I began teaching in the Honors Program at the University of Delaware. Part of the students’ course work involved writing a paper, which they then gave to a writing fellow for comments. After revising their papers, students gave the “final” paper to me, their professor. I was supposed to comment on their work, but no more writing was required. The second revision was the end, a process I found unsatisfying and often suggested to students that they continue exploring their ideas. Occasionally some were willing to consider further drafts but I never thought to propose additional revisions as a requirement or to use my writing as an exercise in revision.
I moved to Santa Fe in 2001 with many unfinished writing projects, including 90 pages of a book, Dancing With Wonder. Since I was no longer teaching, no longer having to meet with students, no longer dealing with committees, I had all the time I needed to finish writing about my work with stories in the US and abroad.
I tried. I wrote and rewrote. Good thing I was writing on a computer so at least I wasn’t wasting paper. Despite countless hours of writing, I hated what I wrote and could not get to an acceptable page 91. Desperate, I even took a nonfiction workshop, something I’d never done before. None of what the instructor said proved useful
Life tales from a woman different living in The City Different.