A Hidden Tragedy:
I've found a lot of things inside the hidden quilts I uncover: pins, needles, bobbins, a gold earring, a braid of human hair. Tonight I found something I never expected, the traces of a possible tragedy.
The quilt involved was covered on both sides with wholecloth (no patchwork, just two pieces of cloth quilted together) and from the dry-rotted condition of the covering layers, I had little hope for the quilt inside. The 1940's fabric fell apart as I removed it, and I'd estimate the quilt hasn't even been washed in fifty years. I revealed a red and rust-colored quilt with a simple, lovely abstract applique design. The interior quilt was most intact, and had fared better that the covering, thanks to the stronger fabric from which it was made. It wasn't until I had reached an edge that I realized that the quilt was actually red and white. Something had stained most of the white fabric.
Quilters know what bloodstains look like on old quilts -- if they're left in long enough, they fade with washing but never quite come out. Blood also stains a certain way -- the edges usually remain darker than the center of the stain. Often old quilts are stained with from menstrual blood as well, as women in the past didn't have the convenience of Stay Free and kotex. I just didn't equate those little stains with this huge area on the quilt that went through all three layers. I spread it out on my bed, and measured. The staining covers an oval area in the center, about 30 by 45 inches.
A woman bleeds a lot during childbirth, and it's possible that is what happened to this quilt. And yet looking at the size and severity of the stain, I don't know. My gut tells me it wasn't a birth, or if it was, something went wrong. And why would someone save it and cover it over like this? I'll never know.
A thought train hit me a few hours ago, right in the middle of my sewing, and I nearly stitched my fingers to the quilt as I worked it out. Or it worked me over, not sure there's much difference. This is the kind of scene that rushes out of you and onto the page, and you hardly have to touch the first draft later, it's so right. I had the same thing happen with Terri and Cort's big scene in the last romance, but I wasn't expecting another whammy so soon after. And this is the final scene for the book involved, and for me endings never develop from a scene rush -- I usually have to think those out for weeks.
The former ending was fine; sews up the plot neatly but just seemed kind of, I don't know, eh.
I guess that's been subconsciously bugging me or something, because this scene is
the ending I should have written. Everything I've done has been leading up to this. It changes several plot lines in the next book, but it actually makes them stronger, too. This will also be the kind of ending that will bring me much unhappy e-mail from the folks who hated the ending of BV, but hey. Gotta go with the rush.
Truly, Madly, Deeply:
Twice today my temper bordered on nuclear meltdown; twice I was able to walk away without exploding. The anger didn't linger the way it usually does, either. I sat and worked on the quilt in progress for a while tonight, trying to decide why it's becoming easier for me to accept versus vent. Dare I hope that I am finally growing up? Or has certain wisdom offered by my good friends finally started to sink into the gray matter? Either way, I like the feeling. I could get used to this, easy.
I have to blame one of my friends, though, she reminded me last night of what is important, and what is not. I thought of what she said -- and we all need those reminders, whether they be gentle nudges or good swift kicks in the backside. So what happened today that was good: my son and I decided to build an underwater volcano for his science project; my next two books are outlined, my cat didn't throw up his dinner tonight. I also had a great workshop session, I restored a three-inch patch of embroidered silk daisies, and my daughter asked me for an extra hug at bedtime. Those are the important things, the good things, the joyful balance to the unpleasant pettiness and blunt stupidity I had to step over and around today. When you think about moments like those, you can't maintain any decent amount of anger at all.
Reloaded and upgraded some of Phil's software, which is making him cranky but we're back online. I think I'll get a new hard drive for him after I get the main systems back up and running. He's been pretty good about running everything except Microsoft Word, but I think it's some incompatibility bug with his Corel.
While AOL was taking forever to reload, I sat down this morning and outlined two book proposals the old fashioned way -- writing them out on a legal pad -- and discovered how much I miss doing that. I type or use the voice recognition program to save time these days, so I hardly handwrite anything anymore. I've got the second Fire book mostly plotted but still mulling over some points with the third. I'm also reluctant to do much until we talk new contract with the publisher or decide to go elsewhere. My other contract has been settled to everyone's satisfaction, so at least that's done. One proposal pending, and then I can schedule my life for the next year.
Not to be conceited or anything, but:
What Type of Seducer are You?
I am the Ideal Lover
Most people have dreams in their youth that get shattered or worn down with age. They find themselves disappointed by people, events, reality, which cannot match their youthful ideals. Ideal Lovers thrive on people's broken dreams which become lifelong fantasies. You long for romance? Adventure? Lofty spiritual communion? The Ideal Lover reflects your fantasy. He or she is an artist creating the illusion you require. In a world of disenchantment and baseness, there is limitliess seductive power in following the path of the Ideal Lover.
Symbol: The Portrait Painter. Under his eye, all of your physical imperfections disappear. He brings out noble qualities in you, frames you in a myth, makes you godlike, immortalises you. For his ability to create such fantasies, he is rewarded with great power.
created by polite_society
Thanks to Kane
for finding yet another online quiz I couldn't pass up. :)
I was putting together a CD for a friend and dragged out some of my old albums -- this is way-back week for yours truly, apparently -- and listened to a few last last night. Mostly New Wave (the Clash, the Police, Dire Straits, the B-52's); everything I thought was so cool when I was twenty. New Wave is old now, like me. They play "Money for Nothing" and "The Sultans of Swing" on the oldies radio stations these days, and everyone chuckles over the girls with big hair and guys in semi-drag. Not like I was really hip even then; in fact I was so clueless that someone had to tell me that Boy George really was
I don't miss being twenty, but I miss the world I was twenty in. Whatever you think of 80's music, we definitely had style. We had Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me with Science" which I still consider one of the strangest/funniest songs ever recorded. My partner John and I would blast The Fixx and Power Station while we were on the road -- we would sing along at the top of our lungs, too -- and more than once the dispatcher threatened to quit when John regaled her with his version of "Some Like It Hot." I think John was half-deaf, though, it's the only way he could have tolerated me singing. George Clooney hadn't made it to TV yet; I thought Donnie Van Zant and Robert Palmer were hot (Robert Palmer still is.)
I've got Toto on at the moment, and "Rosanna" still sounds as good as it did twenty years ago -- beautiful, lyrical stuff. I think I'm stuck in the 80's as far as rock goes, but there are worse places.
Found some old, old files in my FTP too. This is from 1999:
Up and Down and Up and Down:
I'm down again, and probably won't be back online until Tuesday or Wednesday (this post is coming to you courtesy of Kinko's.) As soon as I test all the systems and get them rewired in their proper places I'll be back. March stuff for the web site is already late, but I'm hoping to get that off this afternoon, if Phillip will cooperate. I think he's sulking now that Drefan's back.