I picked up Anne Lamott’s new essay Stitches: A handbook on meaning, hope and repair when I was at the Drake library yesterday. I’m not currently in the depths of despair, but reading Lamott is sort of like listening to a funky California aunt wax on about the universe/her daily life in a way that’s both humorous and flip and randomly profound. And I’m always up for something that attempts to tackle the existential dread.
The book is one you can finish in the time it takes to bake up a loaf of banana bread, and I was drawn to it because the whole thing basically uses sewing as an analogy for carrying on despite all of the Bad Things that happen in life. I found it to be a little bit long on bobo-ish anecdotes (maybe I’m being unfair because pain is pain whether you come from privilege or not, right?), but there were some good nuggets in there. This was one of my favorite quotes on sewing:
background quilt image via Stitched in Color
Sewing gives me such pleasure, because it requires focus and attention and imagination and perseverance. Maybe that’s a bit spiritual. The book’s ethos kind of reminded me of my breakfast table thoughts from awhile back, and of the recent column on the art of presence. Also, Nancy Berns’ TEDxDesMoines talk on Closure, which has more than 13,000 views!
I’m glad I’ve whipped up a few small projects recently. I think it helps my equilibrium. Here are some others I’d love to try:
A quilted kitchen mat seems like a good medium-sized project to tackle