Sometimes when I’m stuck in my writing, I sit down and write to myself. It helps me figure out what I’m supposed to say next. Here’s a little bit I found in my files that helped me focus when I was stuck while writing Sheepish. Focus in memoir is so important, as is structure. It’s fun to go back and see that the book basically does what I struggled with here, which is a huge relief!
My head is full of more than anyone needs to know about sheep and wool and the history of sheep and wool and the environmental impacts of sheep and wool and the impact of free trade on sheep and wool and how to weave and why you would and how to knit and why you would and how clothes are made and why we should even care.
But how do I put this all down in a way that makes sense? I need to spin what can be a painfully dry history of wool into stories that captivate. I need to weave together our modern view of clothing with the patriotic actions of colonists during the Revolution. I need to knit together the environmental impacts of wool, cotton, and other fibers.
Spin…weave…knit. The language of fabric has thoroughly been woven into the fabric of our lives. See? The words circle back on themselves. We can’t talk about life, about complexity, about interconnections, unless we use the language of fabric. We may think sports metaphors are deeply embedded in our language, and they are (tackle the job, hit one out of the park, ball’s back in your court, time out, etc) but using the act of making fabric, something we humans have been doing for thousands and thousands of years, is even more firmly embedded.
The problem is most of us are so far removed from the process that we don’t recognize it.
Writing to yourself is a great way to make things clear. I need to do it more often!