Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Creative Process

I think I've talked about my (cough-cough) creative process before, right?

You know…the one where I tear my entire house apart, wildly flinging yarn, needles, books of every description, bits of paper and so forth over my shoulder while in the throes of creativity, and am then startled to find myself sitting in the middle of what might be mistaken for something left behind by a tornado strike?


SEE, here's the thing. I got this idea and it involves laceweight yarn and lace patterns that may or may not currently exist and The Mabinogi(on).

Hey, I never said my Creative Process was particularly logical. Or even grounded in this reality. In many ways, it is actually the antithesis of my database-programming life, which is forced into rather narrow and predictable channels because computers do not deal well with people suddenly yelping, "Oh! You know what would be cool?!" and then charging off on some wild tangent that has nothing to do with whatever you were just doing.

It throws off their groove when you do that.

ANYHOO. So I'm up too late making notes and sketching out patterns and working out math (ugh, mat not working right, not working right at all…) and looking things up and suddenly I discover that I can't find my copy of The Mabinogion.

This led to a long, involved conversation with the husband around whether or not I owned a copy, and what happened to the copy we eventually decided I did, indeed, own once upon a time but which neither of us can remember seeing in literally ten years, and while we're on the subject, what ever happened to that big old musty volume of Brehon Law I also used to own but now cannot find…?

And then I showed him my (rough!) sketch of what I had in mind and he laughed at me and said my horses looked like sheep.


Harrumph. OK, OK, so I can't draw for poop, BIG DEAL, and can we PLEASE stay on-topic here?! Because you know what else I can't find? Most of my "big" stitch dictionaries. Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure that I own more than one (1) "big" stitch dictionary. I'd swear I owned at least three "big" books with lots and lots of pretty pictures of various stitches, including lots of lace ones.

BUT, they are nowhere to be found. And I know this, because I have pulled every single book I own off the shelf looking for them. Unless they have somehow gotten where books do not go (which is possible), they no longer exist in the same space-time continuum as the Den of Chaos.


Furthermore! My Creative Process has now led to even more destruction of my bedroom…which I believe I mentioned earlier is (ahem) somewhat untidy right now. "Somewhat untidy" being a phrase which here means "please, dear God, do not let my mother come over and see this room right now because she may have a heart attack and die and I would feel guilty forever and ever because I killed my mother with my untidy ways."

Partially this is not my fault. My husband hosted a D&D game here last weekend, and before said game started he cleared a few areas (like the front room and his Man Cave, which was being used as a guest room)…and by "cleared" I mean "scooped everything into baskets he then carried upstairs and dumped on the floor in our bedroom for me to deal with later because I am the only person in this house with the Mystical Psychic Powers necessary to decide where things belong."

One of these days I'm going to go completely off my cracker and start holding objects dumped into my lap for sorting to my forehead, intoning solemnly, "Oh brother-spirit of the {object}, speeeeeeak! Tellllll me where yoooooou beloooooooonggggggg…"

Bonus points if I actually hear a response…

But getting back to the untidiness around here, partially (mostly) it is totally my fault. My bedroom is also my office, which is also my Etsy store, AND my workshop storeroom, plus my research laboratory and furthermore I keep my clothes in here and oh yeah, all my books (including, usually, the missing ones) and all the bills that need paying and my harp plus all music for said instrument and the music stand(s) and my spinning wheel and of course a small assortment of things like stools and chairs and I'm sorry, were you still wondering why my room is a wee little touch on the crazy side?

…did I mention two baskets of fiber waiting to be spun (badly) (I'm SO not in love with my spinning right now) and a lifetime supply of Chapstick…?


NOW, here is the thing about my Creative Process: It renders me almost completely blind to such things.

Oh, sure, I know it's there. I even know – in a distant, out-of-body-experience kind of way – that I'm Doing It. I see myself fling a book down on the table and whirl away to snatch up some silvery-gray roving to ponder the possibilities, and some disconnected part of me mutters, That
isn't going to put itself away, you know…

But it doesn't really register. I'll drop five different skeins of yarn onto my big craft table and fiddle with them, then snort and walk away to grab a sixth skein and a set of #7 needles to see how that one turns out. The mess is getting awfully big, that disconnected voice remarks.

But it just doesn't sink in. I'm busy. I'm Otherwise Engaged.

…I'm trying to make this stupid swatch look like a horse, and furthermore trying to figure out how I can work it so the math comes out right…I don't want a massive "blank" spot at either end, but I'm about ten-fifteen stitches short of a fourth repeat of the pattern at the start of this panel…hmmm…maybe I could add a ten-row pattern somewhere in there, or add two rows to each of the three other panels…? Let's see, if I'm adding two stitches per row…{several pieces of wadded up paper get thrown in the general direction of the trash can, a pen gets left absent-mindedly on the floor, calculator tossed carelessly into a basket of fiber, skein of now rejected because it just isn't "it" yarn is sitting on the floor wondering what it did to deserve such a fate}…

But then, eventually, inevitably, I snap out of it. Maybe I Got It (or Gave Up On It, which happens too darned frequently), or discovered in my ramblings that somebody else did all the hard work for me and I can just download their pattern and be done with it.

And, like, ohmygawd, what the @*^&@ happened in here?!?!

Tonight, I finally nailed down the basic outline of the shawl I want to attempt to create. I've got the patterns I want to try, the theme I want to follow, the yarn and the needles. I put together a concept sketch (limited drawing abilities, how I curse them) and roughed out the math (Needs more work. Send rum.).

And then I knuckled at my eyeballs, swiveled around in my chair, and looked at my bedroom.

Holy. Fish. Paste.

I…really don't know how to put this…

I have created a disaster area in here that will probably take two or even three full days to straighten up.

Which I will get to right away, of course.

After I've figured out that math problem, and maybe done just a few rows, you know, just to see how it goes…


Steph B said...

Funny, your creative process sounds a lot like mine. Although I try to avoid math whenever possible. Math evil. Beads and yarn good.

RobinH said...

You know, housework would be so much easier if we didn't have to start by rolling a will save....

harper said...

Oh my deity-of-choice. I think your bedroom and mine might actually be connected by some sort of worm-whole affair. They sound exactly the same! Actually I think I may also be married to your husband; they also same-same! Does our husband also say to you "where is the thing-thing?" (being something that belongs to them only and has nothing what-so-ever to do with you) and expects you to be the only person on the planet who knows where it is? I firmly believe that tidying/cleaning is beneath creative people, which is why my house is a midden and I am waiting for the knock on the door that signals the arrival of the health department.