The cotton industry once featured the tagline “Fabric of Our Lives.” It’s a phrase layered with multiple meanings, and for a writer provides a wonderful metaphor. The fabric of my life — the experiences and observations and associated meanings — rolls out as if on bolts. Some times I get to pick the fabric, always going for life’s equivalent of Chinese silks and embroidered satins. At other times, fabric is given to me without my having any say, like when I learned to sew in 4-H by using the required gingham material.
As a beginner, the gingham was perfect for teaching me how to measure and cut and sew along straight lines as I created first an apron then a dresser scarf. The likelihood of success was greater using neat grids. As skills improved, I moved on to different fabrics and complex patterns. Yet, it’s the basics of taking fabric and cutting it into patterns to create something useful or beautiful or both. This is what writing is for me. It allows me to use the fabric of my life to shape a variety of items, some practical, some decorative.