Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Crafting With Care

Flashlight in hand, I stumbled to the room where that dreaded apparatus dwelt—the elliptical. It was early on a Sunday—before the dogs awoke, before the sun came up, before my muscles could object. Pushing the lever on the CD player (yes, I still use one), the lilting Celtic melodies stirred my enthusiasm up perhaps half a notch. Let’s face it. At 5 a.m., it’s tough to get excited about exercising.

As the strains of the hammered dulcimer helped my pumping legs and arms get into a steady pace, I forgot about the work and began to focus on the quilt in the corner. My daughter, Bethany’s, quilt.

It was a gift from her college friends, lovingly pieced together after her diagnosis of a terminal brain tumor. One of her friends sent out the word: Make a special quilt square and I will piece them together. And what a work of art their combined efforts became.

During my workout, I visually embraced the variety of squares that spoke of the talent and personality of each pal. One quoted Zephaniah 3:17: He will quiet you with His love. Carolyn, an artist, drew a beautiful Madonna holding the infant Jesus and wrote, “May Christ hold you in His arms as this mother must have held Him.” Kathryn sewed a tea pot design (Bethany loved tea) and stitched 2 Corinthians 13: Praise be to the God of all comfort who comforts us all in our troubles.

Other squares were embedded with photos of better, healthier times. Some had private jokes that made me shake my head. ;-) Others were just a sweet design, meant to cheer my daughter with the love of the seamstress.

They all had one thing in common: each square was formed with fondness. They were then connected through the skill of the quilter into the final, breath-taking product—an heirloom to treasure.

As I thought of the care that went into each stitch, I thought of the words that create my stories. Is every syllable, every phrase, every creative thought, fabricated into a design worthy of an heirloom?

Looking at my book shelves, I can find many a literary treasure: Pilgrim’s Progress; Moby Dick; Jane Eyre. While the writing style of their day has changed in modern times, the carefully constructed threads of story, analogy, and words that capture our imagination make these missives stand out. Each paragraph, each description is lovingly knitted together to create a masterpiece whose value spans the decades.

Much like Bethany’s quilt that will always remain a part of our family, books of intricate design wrought with love will hold their value, long after the writer’s hand has ceased.

If only my words could form into a piece of art and capture the essence of a finely sewn quilt!

Bethany’s friends poured their hearts into this gift for her. Their love and hard work made it the beautiful creation that it is.

I strive to pour every ounce of my creative being—along with a heaping dose of emotion and affection for the story—to fashion a work that will, hopefully, be a gift to my readers. Rather than focusing on my word count, I pray that I can make every word, count.

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