Monday, February 7, 2011

Finishing Energy

Permanence/Impermanence 58 x 46
I have tons of starting energy.  I have three unfinished mid-grade novels (and one that's done but in the process of revision).  I have several picture books that are nearly perfect.  I have a huge pile of quilt and fiber projects--not to mention jewelery, paper, and other craft projects--that have been started but never finished.

When people say, "I don't know where you get all your ideas from," I can only think, "Oh, and there are plenty more where those come from."  I have more ideas in notebooks, on scraps of paper, on napkins, and just wandering around in my head like Terry Pratchett's "inspiration particles" that have gotten trapped there and are just waiting for me to get off my duff and do something about them.

But finishing can be difficult.

First, I think finishing is hard for me because once I'm done, all possibilities are closed down.  What was once open to all sorts of shifts and changes has now been fixed in time.  It's finished.  As a poet, I can overcome this locked finish.  Marianne Moore, Robert Frost, and other poets changed their poems between editions, continuing to revise their work until their deaths no matter how many other versions of the poems were out there.  Certainly, painters do this, too.  But it seems a bit harder with fiber art.  I can add something on top, but I can't change things much once the works are finished and bound. I like to "dwell in possibility"; I'm not so fond of feeling stagnated.

Also, finishing brings it's own sadness.  My older son is a singer/songwriter and all around amazing young man, and he and I were talking about this the other night because he had just finished two songs he was pleased with and was feeling a bit blue about it.  "They're good songs.  I like them, but I'm feeling kinda down now," he said.  And I knew just what he meant.  When I finish something, I often feel a quick burst of elation--"That's it.  I'm done.  Ta da!!"  But that is quickly followed by an emotional downturn.  "Well, that's over with, what next?  Blah, blah, blah."

Of course, because my head is full of inspiration, I don't stay there too long, but it's a bit disconcerting to have that blue wash of sadness over every sunlit space of completion.

I think because of that, I don't always like to finish things.  Even if they are going well.  Even if I can see the end, and I know that it will be wonderful when I'm done.  Even if I'm just sick of it and want it out of my life.  Finishing something takes a courage and energy that we don't often talk about.

But this month, I"m trying to gather that finishing energy around me so that I can clean out my closet of all those nearly done projects.

So far, I'm three big projects down.


I finished this quilt.  It isn't a prize winner.  It's just to keep a little extra warmth around, but I love the playful sparkles and the spots.  It's called "Jack Amish" and it's my design based on a Chinese coin variation with fabric gifted to me from Mindy Marik when I was just beginning my circles exploration.  I don't like to work on "big" quilts, so I know that's one reason why I didn't finish this.  Also, I wanted the outer border, but I didn't have all the colors from the center, so I'm not thrilled with how cool the outer border reads as opposed to the entire quilt.  But now it's done, and I'm sending it to Chris Landis to long arm.  Yeah.

I've also finished another big quilt.  I think of it as my summer quilt.  This is a pattern by Janelle Cedusky of Nellie J Designs from the  Dec. 2009 McCall's Quilting.   I wanted a summer quilt for my bed, and so I started this a little over a year and a half ago.  It wasn't a hard quilt, but it's big and since it's not my design, I didn't feel as invested in it.  But now it's off to Chris to be quilted.

The final quilt I've finished is another big one.  (Can you see a pattern here.)  It's one of my rust dyed quilts, and thankfully MVAQN has a show coming up at the Dayton Library that I wanted to show this quilt in, so I had to get it finished.  You can see the entire quilt up top in the opening picture.  And I've taken a close up of some hand stitching here.  The quilt has been a challenge because it is all Peltex on the inside, so the hand stitching that I wanted to add was challenging (as was the hanging sleeve, ugh).  But now it's done, and I love the way it hangs.  I'm not sure I'll work this big with Peltex again, but it was a fun experiment.

Permanence/Impermanence, detail

So, I celebrate a new month, a new year, and a new phase in my life by learning to cultivate and honor finishing energy. And, of course, finishing things leaves me lots of energy to start something new!

4 comments:

Pam Geisel - For Quilts Sake said...

Love the "Permanence/Impermanence" quilt...can't wait to see it in person (and in actual size)!

LaughingLG said...

Thanks, Pam. This is a much bigger quilt than my usual, so I'll be interested to hear feedback. Glad you like the picture.

Michigoose said...

Congratulations! I think most of us have this experience from time to time...It's like collecting..the excitement and thrill is in the hunt, once you've found it...well, hmm. Not so much fun.

I'm always racing on to the next so somehow, I don't get the separation blues. :) But then, my pile of fiber UFOs is taller than yours I fear.

LaughingLG said...

Lisa, it's hard to imagine a taller pile than mine, but your house is newer and you have more storage space ;-).