Tuesday, January 19, 2010

When Everything Just Clicks

I'm feeling quite proud of myself today. I totally knew who the bad guy was in Criminal Minds tonight. I just knew it by looking at him. I should work for the FBI...

I'm also quite proud of myself because I started the intarsia section of my Charlie Brown sweater, and after pouring over a few websites, books and forums, I've managed to do it without any holes! That is something else, people. I mean, I've worked intarsia before, and hooooooley! It wasn't pretty. I felt a bit silly about agreeing to make this sweater, knowing full well I'd have to battle the beast, but I lopped its head off tonight. Woohoo!

In The Zen and Art of Knitting, Bernadette Murphy writes:

Not a single knitter of those I interviewed said of her knitting time that she wished she were doing something else. Repeatedly, no matter how many people I asked, the same response was elicited: "When I'm knitting, there's nowhere else I'd rather be and nothing else I'd rather be doing."

That is the response I would give. I feel at peace when I'm working with my hands. It settles my mind, and helps me to sort out what's going on in there. I often find myself giggling over things that happened throughout the day, or fuming over something that I disagreed with. Regardless of what happens in my head during knitting, it helps me to resolve my problems, or at least begin the process of resolving them. When I'm working on something difficult, knitting or crocheting helps me to empty my mind, to focus, and to look for the patterns hidden there in that strange dimension we call handmade fabric. It's a state that I wish I could sustain all day long... or at least, for a good chunk of the day.

I have regularly sat back in my chair and daydreamed about a life in which I could spend my days knitting, crocheting and writing, getting into discussions with creative people, or exploring outdoors, understanding the hidden formula that makes up the world around me. A life of a fairy child, curious, open-minded, quiet, happy, unjudged, free.

My reality, though, is that I must earn money in order to support myself and to contribute to my family life. I've become accustomed to the comfort of a regular income, and the the surety that I will be alright every day. It's not easy for me to accept, but I do. I snatch every single moment I can to walk into the comfort of my daydreams and my creations.

But, maybe it doesn't have to be that way.

Last week, on Twitter, @steveouch tweeted:

"I got my kickstarter invite! Yah hoo!"

First thought from me: "Oh look. It's a new Google thing."

Second thought from me: "Hmm. Or maybe it's something else..." So, I looked it up.

I found www.kickstarter.com and the subtitle read:

Kickstarter is a funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, inventors, explorers...

Now, I'll be honest and say that I initially thought, "I wonder what kind of yahoos post stuff up on here." But the thing about kickstarter is that you just can't turn up and put up your plans to conquer the world by building a fortress out of office envelopes. You have to be invited. And, you have to have a plan. It's a way to pitch your ideas to the public, to convince ordinary people that you have a project worth backing, and to get those people to give you a bit of cash to get that project going.

In my first few minutes of trawling through projects, I was impressed. These were ideas that people had spent time working on, thinking about how it would work and how it should be pitched. And, within five minutes, I'd donated some money to a project I wanted to support: To Boldly Fold (Where No Bookbinder Has Gone Before) - A New Business Venture. Its tagline:

Leaving the 9 to 5 world to embark on a quest: To spread creativity through handmade sketchbooks and journals of the highest caliber!

Ok, now I know most people out there would say, "What? No one's going to make a living on that! What a waste of time." But here's the point: Here's a person who has already got an existing small business running, and who wants to make a go of it full-time. In her pitch, Melissa Chao writes:

In this increasingly digital and virtual world, I find myself wondering what we’re leaving behind. To do my part in keeping the art of paper alive, I want to start a handmade bookbinding business. I find enjoyment in creating sketchbooks and journals for other creative types. Surrounded by mass produced merchandise, I celebrate the creativity, care, and individuality that can only be found in high-quality handmade goods. I take into consideration the look, feel, and experience of each piece that I create. Craftsmanship is of the utmost importance to me, informing every step of the process.

And that spoke to me. I feel the same way - creativity, care, individuality in the hand-made. I celebrate and stand in awe of the steady hand, as well as the endurance and unending patience required in turning out something perfect... or with the imperfections that a machine would obliterate. And she wants to live the life I want to live. I can't let that pass me by.

So, I chucked in a few dollars. These people don't get the money they asked for unless they can convince enough people to raise the amount they asked. If they don't convince people, they don't get anything at all. And the good news? She made her total. She will go ahead and try to make this happen.

Now, to make sure I am clear: this is not an investment website. It's a site where you go to support dreams and unorthodox projects, things that those who are only looking to get rich are not going to fund. These are the projects of truly unique people, trying to achieve what they cannot live without: the chance of seeing their dreams come to fruition. Currently, the people who can pitch projects have to live in the United States, but you never know...

I could very easily become addicted to helping people out here. And it clicked for me today: maybe I shouldn't turn my back on people with ideas that speak to me. If I did, then how would world-changing projects ever happen? And how will I ever get the chance to live my dreams if I don't believe in the dreams of others?

My next project I'd like to back is BK Farmyards, who would like to develop a one-acre organic farm from under-utilized property. In their pitch:

Not only can the community follow the food from seed to table, they are helping us build a much-needed alternative to the abundance of cheap processed foods and fast-food restaurants.

I'm telling you, if kickstarter was a country, I'm emigrate there. But, for now, I'm going to hope that my existence as a supporter will help to make the world I wish I could live in.

Because I'd really like to get there someday.


Anonymous said...

Dear Adriene,

First off, thank you for supporting my dream AND writing about it here on your blog! It's been quite a ride, but so amazing. Your blog is one of the most heartfelt blogs I've read in a long time. I feel like a lot of people just write because they feel like they have to blog daily or something along those lines. I'll definitely be subscribing and reading your older posts.

Thanks so much!

AdrieneJ said...

Hi Mel!

I'm so glad you got a chance to drop by! Thanks for reading my ramblings, and congratulations again! Good luck!