Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Craft (as in handcraft) (02/08/07)
TITLE: Thank you, Mr. Love
By jean Clarkson
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My favorite gifts were craft related. A book called “365 Things To Do” provided something new every day for the year and introduced me to origami. A fashion doll stood patiently on her pedestal while I stitched up Carman Miranda style dresses for her.
Paper of every type spilled out of the bottom drawer of my dresser, ready for my next project. The cubby holes in my desk held spool knitting, colored pencils and paste.
I wrote sporadically in a Five Year Diary I received one Christmas, but most of my entries were only one line long. As a teenager, I began to express myself in poems, enjoyed writing assignments and loved to tell stories to a friend’s children.
When my college English class required a weekly theme, I learned the challenge of writing for a deadline. A friend and I asked the teacher at the end of the year if she would continue to critique for us. She agreed, but other interests intervened and I wrote only what my current classes required.
Poems began to surface again years later when I was a working mom. The quiet commute to work gave me time to talk to God and scribble thoughts at an intersection. I began writing stories and articles moments squeezed into my busy home life. Most of my submissions bounced back to me in the SASE I enclosed, and I joined a local Writers’ Club to get inspiration and critiques.
All this time, I kept crafting and sewing. I did pottery, made banners for the church, polyester pants for my son and my husband, outfits for my daughter and myself. I knitted and did crafts with the children at work and with my own kids.
Crafts and writing were my passions. How does this fit, I sometimes wondered.
The Writers’ Club Christmas banquet that year included a speaker, Edmund G. Love, who moved back home when he retired from a writing career in New York City.
He described his experiences, serving as a correspondent in the army, writing “The Situation in Flushing” about his hometown, and “Streetcars Are For Sleeping” about his adopted city, New York, plus many other stories.
Then he tied together my two loves with one simple statement.
“Writing is not an art,” Mr. Love said. “It is not like creating a fine painting. You take the raw materials and you make something of them. Writing is a craft.”
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