Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Through The Looking Glass

by Julie Coulter Bellon

It’s been a busy week. My sewing machine and I have been going like crazy. I made my daughter a beautiful Alice in Wonderland costume that I’m pretty proud of and I’m just putting the finishing touches on it today. Sewing is something I didn’t think I was particularly good at, but I can’t tell you the satisfaction I’ve received seeing this little creation coming out of my efforts. To start with a basic knowledge of sewing and a few yards of fabric, that ends with a beautiful satin dress and apron fit to be worn in public is like a minor miracle for me.

It’s sort of like writing a book. I start with an idea from a snatch of a news story that gets my imagination working overtime and I start jotting down plot ideas and thinking about characters. The blank page becomes cluttered with words as I try to express what my imagination has come up with, and before I know it, the manuscript is done. I tweak here and there, just as I did to custom fit the dress I made for my daughter, and hopefully meet all my deadlines. Of course, for Halloween, the deadline is only two days away and I finished with time to spare.

Generally with my writing, I don’t finish with time to spare. I get addicted to revising and I keep on tweaking right up until the deadline. That’s usually how I stop revising. When the deadline is here, I have to stop. With the costume, however, I’m grateful I finished with time to spare so I’m not stressing about it. Well, I stressed a little last night since I bent the needle and was having bobbin issues, but with the help of my husband, I was able to figure it out, fix the problem and finished the apron without any more mishaps. Which is sort of like writing. I like having someone to help me fix the problems, like my writing friends I talk with and fix plot/character issues with, because they understand the workings of a writer’s mind. And it makes the process a lot more fun.

Of course, the process ends when you show your book off in public and hope it turns out like you imagined it would. I think it almost always does, but I worry still about people liking what I've done, etc., just like I’ll worry a bit about the costume. I mean, I think it looks like Alice in Wonderland’s dress (but I'm a bit prejudiced) and my baby will be an adorable white rabbit to go with Alice, what could be more perfect? I’m actually sort of thinking about being the Queen of Hearts. (I thought about making two of my sons be the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, but when I floated the idea to them, they gave me the look that said I had been sewing a little too long and so I gave up on that.)

But if I was the Queen of Hearts, then I could go around saying, “Off with their heads!” Which, (since I’m relating this to writing) is something that I’ve thought about saying after a particularly bad review. Haha. Just kidding. Sort of. I’ve learned a lot from reviews, that’s for sure, and I try to improve. Just like with sewing. I’ve learned a lot from this project and if I ever do it again, I will be better. I hope. But if not, I can look at this dress fondly and know that I did it. I jumped in, I learned, and I tried my best. And that’s all anyone can ask for when they take a peek into the looking glass


At 10/29/2009 1:10 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

That is totally awesome about the costume! Make sure to take a picture so we get to see it!

You should definitely be the Queen of Hearts. That would be cool.

At 10/29/2009 4:53 PM, Blogger Anna said...

Yes, I would like to see a picture of the costume.

I was hand-stitching a costume because I didn't want to set my sewing machine up and didn't know how to put the bobbin in right. My husband convienced me just give it a try and I had a ton of fun making costumes for my kids.

I never thought I was all that good at sewing, but it isn't really that hard. Take a basic pattern or look and just be creative in your thinking.

At 10/29/2009 6:15 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

I love this post. I can feel your same discovery and elation. I love when you accomplish something and take a step back to see it really come together. (Which is also a hint about showing us a pic!)

At 10/29/2009 7:12 PM, Blogger Laurie LC Lewis said...

I wish I could get past the point where one sorry comment can deflate me. Is there a therapy group for this problem?


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