Thursday, July 28, 2011

Settling Down

“You finally have to settle down to do well the few things that your brain really can do well—the rest no longer seems pressing and distracting, because it is now permanently out of reach. The feeling that you are stupider than you were is what finally interests you in the really complex subjects of life….You realize that you are no prodigy, your shoulders relax, and you begin to look around you…”

- Nicholson Baker, The Mezzanine

I gotta tell ya, this is a comforting thought in my old age. I distinctly remember the moment when I realized I could do most things that I put my mind to, a whole lot of things, but was doing none of them particularly well. Time to let go of those things I'd never excel at and enjoy the work of those who could. Time to narrow my focus and become really good at a few things. That's when I gave up playing the piano and most of the handcrafts I'd been dabbling in. That's when I got serious about quilting. That was nearly 20 years ago, I realize, and I do not regret my decision. And it is exciting to note some new things I've added to "those things I do" - having made room to relax and look around me. Too bad it takes so long to figure out what this silly brain can really do well.

3 comments:

Amanda said...

Oh my, that hit home hard!

When we were at the Kemshall's exhibition John said to me, "you really should stop waisting time on those bed quilts and concentrate more on the art quilts. ".

That was like a 'permission' moment. I actually didn't have to do EVERYTHING, I could just walk down one road for a bit.

He was right. I'm not saying I won't do a bed quilt again, just focus on the walls for a bit and polish my act!

Thank you.

Connie Rose said...

Wonderful quote, thanks! I just reposted on my FB profile with a link to your blog, hope you don't mind.
And I feel the same way!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Amanda, how wonderful for you! There's nothing like a supportive spouse to say what you may have been wanting to do but not feeling comfortable in doing. A second crossroads for me was when I realized I had to set aside the traditional work if the art quilting work was to move forward and get better. That's not to say I still don't love bed quilts and the whole traditional thing or that I will never work that way again (you know I've already been back there!) I'm so glad you've figured this out too and have "permission." Isn't it crazy that it so often comes down to this permission thing?