Monday, March 30, 2009

Quitters never win?

Okay, dear blogosphere, I have a wee confession to make: I'm a starter, not a finisher. I've never really been a finisher. When I was little, I dropped out of watercolor classes, sculpture classes, about 3 different flavors of dance, gymnastics, and voice lessons. The only class I never dropped, in fact, was swimming...and that only because my mother wouldn't let me, citing it as a much more practical class than the others. After all, if I can't paint a watercolor of a pretty bowl of fruit, there are unlikely to be any adverse consequences, whereas if I cannot swim and fall into the ocean some day...well, you can understand her point.

So, I'm now an excellent swimmer, but I can't paint, sculpt, sing, turn a cartwheel, or dance to anything but the really loud stuff they play in clubs. For most of my life, in fact, my sole hobby, if you can call it that, is reading. And now, as a Readers' Advisory librarian, reading has become my career as well. That tends to make it slightly less attractive as a leisure activity, of course, because now there is stress attached to it. Instead of looking at the long list of books I haven't read with the quiet pleasure of anticipation, I now look at that list with the frantic tension of too much work and too little time.

To partly combat this, I do allow myself to focus mainly on books that I enjoy anyway, under the guise of being an "expert" in the genre, ha. But I also find that as much as I do still love reading, I need other hobbies for those times when I just can't face picking up another book.

For a while, I was playing with jewelry making. I'd discovered the wonders of precious metal clay and was having a lot of fun incorporating sea glass and other found materials into silver jewelry. Then, two things happened. #1, I got a new job with more hours and suddenly had a lot less time to sit around playing with silver clay; and #2, my husband and I got a cat, and I could no longer leave in-progress projects laying around to dry, but had to pack up everything every single time I was done for the day. Eventually, and especially when you take my "starter" inclincations into consideration, it became too much of a hassle to do that, and the PMC stuff just stayed packed away. Many months later, I decided to try just using beads and wire and such, thinking it might be easier to sustain than the more complicated process of using precious metal clay, and had a spurt of activity buying beads, creating jewelry, uploading them to Etsy, etc etc etc. I had inspiration out the yin-yang and enthusiasm up to here.

And then, that too became too much. I didn't have to worry about drying times or a hot kiln, but I still had to pack everything away and pull everything out every time, and it was less leisure than it was hassle.

Finally, I begin to understand Virginia Woolf's insistence that one needs a room of one's own in which to be creative. Not, as she would have it, because I need to be away from men and from domestic concerns, but because it is simply so much more convenient to have a room that can be closed off from meddling cats and left in various stages of disarray as projects progress at their own speeds.

My husband referred to me the other day as "the creative one" in our happy little partnership, and perhaps that is true, as far as it goes. I know that often I am bursting with ideas and inspiration...but I seldom have the time, energy, or general wherewithal to complete them. I'd love to work more on jewelry, go back to the PMC, incorporate it with the many little bags of beads I now have floating about. But until or unless I have a real workstation dedicated to such things, I'm not sure how possible that will be.

I'm lucky to live in the age of digital photography, I suppose. If I needed a darkroom of my own, I'm certain that there is no way I'd have been able to sustain my photographic affections this long. (Where would I put it? In the bathroom??) Now, all I need is a camera, a laptop, and a comfie spot on the couch...with perhaps a steaming cup of tea by one hand, and a slice of banana bread by the other.

And one day, who knows? Maybe we'll finally have room to create a work area for all of those projects that aren't so neatly contained as digital photography. But in the meantime, I have my camera, I have a stack of books, and I have a large collection of mugs. Starter, finisher, quitter, winner...what I have will be good enough for now.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not really a finisher either. I have tons of unfinished business laying around - knitting, beading, sewing (oh man the sewing projects....too many to count)
    Sometimes I'll stumble across some of these projects and pick them up again and it's kind of nice rediscovering it.