Monday, October 10, 2011


Virginia Woolf wrote about a room of one’s own. I have dreamt of such a luxury, space that was mine to do with as I wish. Every time I put any serious thought to the matter, the details change shape and the specifics shift. Sometimes it’s just four walls, other times it’s over the top elaborate. But overall the idea is that I would have a place for all of my artistic endeavors. I once toured Eric Carle’s studio and I was in awe of his flat-drawered filing cabinets. These are the type that would hold maps flat, only he used them to store his beautiful handmade papers. I would certainly put a set of these to good use.

There would be cubbies for yarn, tall pots and jars for knitting needles. Rubber stamps displayed on a small set of shelves, ink pads in their own bins. Paint brushes, gluesticks, beads, and stickers all in a spot designed just for them. A repurposed card catalog would probably be perfect for this. My film cameras would be there somewhere on display, while the typewriters would sit in a place of honor. My latest idea involves a magnetic strip above my desk, the kind chefs use in kitchens for their knives. Such a space would allow me access to each of my scissors when I needed them: the orange-handled heavy duty pair, the tiny ones that cut so sharply and my favorite ones that produce a deckle edge.

Somewhere in the room there would be a bookcase filled with the works of inspirational artists. And hanging above it would be my new calendar featuring my most recent fixation—Nikki McClure. I’m not the type to buy a calendar in September but after years of wanting one, I finally decided to do it. More inspirational than practical, each month is a work of art unto itself. Nikki is a paper artist who starts with a piece of black paper and then cuts out the parts she doesn’t need. Every time I see one of her images, or look through one of her amazing children’s books, I am blown away. I would love to be talented in that manner, but more importantly I wish I had the ability to see images the way she does; to possess a perspective that confidently allows you to take away what you’ve started with, much as a sculptor clears away stone. Cutting those unneeded bits away allows you to see what’s been hidden, and to let the beauty shine through. If I could buy a pair of scissors (or any tool for that matter) that would allow me to trim the unnecessary pieces—instead of holding on for dear life because I will surely need each and every tiny scrap for something later—then I would do it. To toss them aside might actually be freeing. How does one make that leap? How to decide what to toss and what to keep?

Maybe someday I will have a room of my own; where I can sew, knit, paint, cut and create to my heart’s content. A girl can dream.

In our house we have a problem with scissors.  We run with them, we toss them across rooms, we hand them to each other blade first.  But mostly we lose them.  "Where are the [insert expletive or potty word here] scissors?!" is a common refrain, especially around the holidays or in May, when three of our five birthdays fall.  Scissors, nail clippers, mechanical pencils, barrettes - someday we'll stumble upon a gleaming pile in the basement.  Until then, we rage and weep for lack of scissors.

But - a few nights ago while feeding horses by headlamp I came upon these lying innocently on the ground, no idea they'd been searched for the past week.  They'd been buried under a pile of hay raked out from the garage floor - or maybe they'd been on the garage floor and came along for the ride.  The chickens had unearthed them earlier in the day.  Those same chickens I'd sworn at for their pooping habit.  I suppose if they insist on hiding their eggs at least they've earned part of their keep by finding the scissors.

Yesterday I used those scissors to cut pumpkin stems.  Over a dozen pumpkins grew in our garden this year, which is weird since I planted watermelons.  I severed the stems and hauled them to the front yard and L aimed the hose at the clumpy dirt that coated the waxy orange underneath.  M, T and B stuffed old clothes with fresh hay to make three scarecrow boys that now stand at the end of the driveway, frightening passersby with their headless torsos.  I keep catching sight of them through the window and wondering for a moment who's come into the yard.  The pumpkins are curing now in these last sunny days.  Soon there will be pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, jack o' lanterns.  Thanks to the scissors, thanks to the chickens.

Next Week’s Word: Quiet

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