Metaphor for My Life

I had a dream that I was at an Asian buffet.  There were so many choices.  I wanted to try everything.  I was frustrated because I knew that if I tried everything, I’d be too full to return to those dishes I liked best.  But how would I know which ones I liked best unless I tried them all?

My dream book says that dreams about food often simply mean you are hungry.  But, no, I was not hungry.  When I woke, I thought, this dream was a metaphor for my life:  my life as a buffet.

Typically, I recently abandoned poetry writing for oh, let me list the things I’ve been doing:  Chinese brush painting, Chinese calligraphy, preparing an assortment of items for my stash of Gorilla Art (bookmarks, altered postcards, etc., that I leave in books I return to the library, especially if they are on hold for someone else), drawing imaginary creatures (from examples in Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists by Carla Sonheim), making wire wrap jewelry, reading a book about the Northern Romantic tradition in modern art, and quilting. 

Now the first items were all limited in time and scope.  The quilting project is one of those things that I started and cannot let go.  For years now, two at least, I have been working and re-working this quilt.  First I pieced the top.  That was fun and easy.  Then I quilted it by machine and made a terrible mess.  So I took a class.  Within an hour of the class I knew everything I’d done wrong.  I picked out all the quilting.  That took a few months.  Then something intervened (see above list…it can be repeated with small variations…or add an overseas trip, which takes up inordinate amounts of time before and after). 

I planned to finish the quilt this summer.  After all, I knew what to do now.  I started to get ready.  No notes.  I’d lost the notes from the class.  This kind of disorganization never happens to me, but there it was.  I emailed the teacher and she graciously and generously sent me her best advice and copies of her handouts.  Okay.  I got started and thought this will not take long, and, what I would call the “preliminaries” did not take long. 

What I discovered was that once the basic outline of the quilt is in place, the real work of QUILTING begins:  small areas, lots of stitching and very time-consuming.  It took me a couple of days to recover from figuring out that what I thought I’d finish this week will likely take me another month or two, if I’m lucky.

It’s the process, not the outcome, right?  Yes, but…  It’s also all the choices out there and I seem to have to follow them all and hang on to finish them as well.  My life as a buffet.

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