Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Finishing School

I have a penchant for new things, especially new ideas and new books. Oddly enough, at the same time, I have an almost stodgy love of the familiar. I find it very comforting to be able to close my eyes and know where everything is.

At first I thought this longing for the familiar was because I was in the midst of so many new things, but it has been a part of me since the days I was old enough to ride a bike on my own. I lived in a time and a place where I could hop on my bike and be gone all day exploring a creek near our house or roads that wandered through neighborhoods with their own patches of yard and trees and dogs without raising any alarms. I hope somewhere kids can still do that.

A favorite game on my bike riding adventures was to follow a road to its very absolute end. This could get pretty tricky when roads veed or, worse, still, wound round in circles in the developments where roads were meant to look less like they were part of a development. Neither houses nor flwoer beds can ever quite accomplish the insouciance of nature, so I often had to go round in quasi circles and ellipses to follow a road to its end.

The exploring part of the adventuring always ended as the sun got lower in the sky. The last part of the trip was to race home before the last light was gone. As I pedald past the houses whose lights were just coming on in the windows, I wondered briefly about the people behind them, but, after exploring, I craved the familiarity of home. The bike adventure always contained both a beginning and a finishing.

Unfortunately, many of my current adventures do not have a built-in conclusion. I have several short stories in draft, several knitting projects that are in various stages of almost done, a flower bed that has been cleared but not replanted, and the rooms in the house that I had targeted for the first wave of refurbinshing are still sitting not quite done. All this un-done was tasking my energy, so I sent myself to finishing school--not the posh how to walk gracefully and set an elegant table kind of school--the buckle down and don't stop til it's over school.

I started with my leg warmers. I did not quite get them done in a day, but I got them done before I did anything else. I finished my sea weed scarf. OK, again not a big project, but all things are created equal I decided in my finishing school. Ironically, this post languished a day or two in my dashboard, but, now, it too, will see the light of day. I will probably never graduate from finishing school, but I will move on to larger projects. As the days stretch into a reasonable balance of light and non-light, I feel a hopefulness returning.


At 1:44 PM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

I often feel as if I have a thousand eyes, each seeing something I want to start, or have started, so I start things and then go to something else. Also most of the fun is in creating and starting, not in finishing. However, there is a different sort of satisfaction in finishing.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

You know how hard finishing is for me. I agree that the most creative part is in the invention. Lately, tho, I have been looking for such challenges in all aspects of a project--the conception, design, new stitch, casting off in design, and even the dreaded stitching up.
I am wearing a red beret that I knit and finished just moments ago. I have also decided that using up my stash of yarn is part of both finishing and being creative. So it's kinda all in the way you think about it, I guess, which is probably the hardest part of all. I recently read another Alexander Mccall Smith book entitled The Right Attitude to Rain. The title was better than the book, but he always offers a good read. BBC put Precious Ramotse et al into a movie on Sunday. It was not as good as the books. They mooshed several stories together and worked too hard to be plotty (or should that be plot-ous?) so that the characters had no time to just revela themselves as they do in the stories.

At 1:42 AM, Blogger Hayden said...

landgirl, plz forgive this off-topic comment - but I couldn't find an email listed.

you might be interested in looking at nita's current post at http://matronofhusbandry.wordpress.com/

she mentions her trick for herding cattle...

At 1:48 PM, Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

I think this is very true... and hard to do... knuckling down and actually finishing something. And it's especially true that the cumulative weight of all these undone things can be crushing. I notice the relief every time -- all too infrequently, alas -- when I go on a putting things in order and finishing them off binge.

But it does equip you to tackle the next project and I appreciate the reminder.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Thx, Hayden, for sending me to Nita's post. I love reading her stuff. Alas. here we have no corn (maize). Cattle love barley, but it does not have the same shake-ability.

At 4:33 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Oh, Cur, we do have to keep each other on task. Och aye its nae easy though-- I thought you might need a bit of Scots English to flavour your day. Have you said what this new project of yours is? For me, I have 3 blog posts waiting in the wings and about 6 short story drafts. Arggh. Even saying it out loud made my shoulders kinda sag with the weight of it all.


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