Category Archives: In the Company of Cloth

notes from a quilter, collage artist, fabric collector

Editing as whittling

PCC collage

We are getting rain. The painters stayed home today, but yesterday as I sat upstairs in my writing chair, a man worked on a ladder directly out the window. He chatted on his phone, Spanish providing him privacy since I don’t know a word. But how I worried about him, scaling the ladder with one hand, or gripping the phone with his neck and shoulder while balancing two stories up!

In today’s blessed quiet, I’ve been editing, determined to get my word count below 140,000. Deb would scoff and maybe my paid editor would too. But a lower word count would be more appealing to the average agent. Or so I’ve heard.

Couple years back — before Covid so it feels like another lifetime — Deb visited and invited me as a guest to a writer’s conference where she was the keynote speaker. Talk at the table turned to word count.

“For a debut author, anything over 90,000 is a no-no,” one writer said. Others agreed. (Deb’s speech was amazing BTW — part humor, part wise advice).

Well, I’m not gonna even get down to 120,000, but you have to admit that our minds respond differently to 141,800 than to 139,800.

And I did it! Gonna keep going because I have a new appreciation for where I can carve. Mostly I’ll go to the Eliza chapters because she thinks too much and can be flowery in her speech. Snip. Snip.

Sleeping with a robot

Covid quarantine, continued.

The air purifier in my room is cylindrical, white, and about two feet tall, coming across as a cute robot — until you operate it, that is. It emits an eerie blue light that waxes and wanes — a chilly blue. Eye cover takes care of that, but the noise is inescapable. It should read as white noise but somehow doesn’t. After three days I can’t help but feel the thing is sentient and a tad malevolent.

The bedroom now reminds me of a somewhat creepy Airbnb we stayed in for a night near Portland, Oregon. It was a filler stop the night before flying home and I hadn’t been terribly picky, but you never know with these places, do you?

We got to the modest bungalow late and the place was dark. Everything was in order — clean, well-appointed, but? There was a communal kitchen you didn’t want to be in. The bathroom forced you out into a shared and dark hallway. I couldn’t put my finger on why it made me feel uneasy then and still can’t really. But it did.

I know not to doubt these impressions anymore. Maybe if I wrote about it one of my fellow writers would say the piece paints a classic picture of anxiety disorder (thanks, Linda*). But, so? When K and I were looking at houses there was one that made my skin crawl. K didn’t understand why I so badly wanted to leave but terrible things were happening within those walls, I just knew it.

The robot-air filter must be disturbing my sleep because I didn’t wake up until 10:30 this morning. TEN-THIRTY! I was vaguely aware of the mechanism timing out and going dark and silent — probably around three. I fell into a solid, deep sleep at that point.

Tonight, I’ll run it from five until bedtime and leave it off during the night. K hasn’t tested again yet but is likely still positive. I just read a physician’s explanatory twitter thread about how long a person can remain contagious. Oy.

I’ll cap this off with another mushroom picture from yesterday’s walk — ar, ar.

* Not her real name and it was okay, really. You should’ve heard the prompt response. It was about what a woman does to feel safe when her husband is out of town and might have involved setting up booby traps on the floor outside of her bedroom.

From the pile

I really am finishing things. I thought this “Halloween quilt” was done but decided otherwise recently.

I didn’t like the way the house poked up out of nowhere and lacked stability. So I added some bushes and roots.

The foundation might need a little greenery as well. What do you think?

Meanwhile in the studio I revived a woven paper swatch that I don’t really like and made this “Snowglobe.” The profile is this week’s Paris Collage image.

Incorporating an unlikable element can lead to redemption or regret. This one is tending toward regret.

Sometimes (usually) collage is bing, bing, fuss a little, fuss a little more — satisfaction. Not today.

K is at the office. The table he cleared of papers last night (it’s garbage day) revealed the missing galls. They were just THERE. I flung them over the deck rail into the back yard.

I leave the echinacea until next spring because the goldfinches love the seeds. The birds are so light! And so brightly yellow! Every time I step outside and startle two or three away, I get a little burst of joy.

Afternoon mishmash

Went to CVS for my shots a week early. Oh well. At least I know why I hadn’t gotten the check-in message.

Later, looking at screen shots on my phone, I transcribed some that I want to follow up on: agents, TV shows, recipes, Instagram artists. The odd poem. Mostly the goal is to delete some pix.

Threw the cards: the Hermit again? I already KNOw I feel alone in this publishing endeavor.

Closed all elementary-school-facing windows, put on the ocean noisemaker and the fan. Maintaining sanity. The kids are back and they are UnSettLeD (lots o’ screaming).

Donald flew to DC unannounced yesterday — to golf, to be arraigned? To steal more documents or maybe to listen to his trash son-in-law? The speculations last night were varied and entertaining. It’s hard not to hope that his jig is up. So much made of a pair of golf shoes!

Pine cone oak gall — each one contains a large wasp larva

The answer to WHAT the dickens are these was alarming, yes — especially because I can’t remember if I threw them out or not — but ever so satisfying in how it arrived. In a comment. Thank you Jen! (Over at Instagram @JenniferNyblom — and if you see her magnificent gardens, you’ll understand how she knows this stuff!)

This morning, all the galls are gone

I just made around two dozen of these.

Starting My Grandmother’s Hands again and the point about white bodies also carrying trauma across generations has been highlighted by the Queen’s death and all the talk about the monarchy.

Underlying photo: Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston (my photo)