Saturday, 14 March 2009

I read, therefore I've done


I have too many books.
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I am the sort of person who has to read about something before I actually do it and I enjoy reading about my interests almost as much as pursuing them, as they say, in the flesh.
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There is nothing I like better than deciding I would quite like to take up, say, macrame (not that macrame has ever taken me by storm), taking myself off to the library, finding as many obscure books about the subject and reading about it until I am convinced I need all the kit. What usually happens at this point is that I will mention to my NRH that I think I'll pop to Hobbycraft or wherever to stock up on macrame kit and he will utter the word 'Why?'.
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My impulse is to then say 'why not?'.
This, it seems to me is the ultimate difference in our personalities.
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NRH reads for information (mostly WWII battle histories).
I read for inspiration.
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A few years ago, I became very interested in gardening. I now have a wide collection of gardening books ranging from the 'expert' series by that Hessayon guy to some lovely horticultural pornography with delicious photographs of pods bursting, blooms budding and baskets overflowing with fertility and ripe, bountiful fruits. Sorry, got carried away. Our garden currently looks like a flat hedge and I am just about to take a trip to the garden centre to buy the biggest squirter of legal weedkiller I can find. We have couch grass, ground elder, nettles AND an ivy infestation, not to mention the dandelions, speedsomething and other assorted growy things that I don't want to grow.
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I then had children. This, naturally, required a different genre of books: books on pregnancy yoga, books on what to do with one's perineum, books on whether it was a good idea to let your entire family sleep in your bed until they started having proper boyfriends and girlfriends. I had books on learning to read, learning to write, sibling rivalry, toxic childhood, listening to children, feeding children, telling children off.
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Now, you may know if you've popped over to 'craftdelight' I have a current interest in stitching and knitting and embroidery (oh my). I now have so many books related to my current and, it would seem, abiding passion, I have had to organise them. The above is but a small portion of my collection.
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Books are the best way I know to indulge my interests and aspirations without taking the risk of actually failing at them. Every time I open a book of patterns and instructions, I admire the skill of the author and enjoy their choices of fabric, typeface, structure and yarn. I believe I have similar skills. I convince myself that if I had a fortnight to myself and didn't eat from the dining room table for a week, I, too could rustle up a domestic goddess apron or a pair of fair-isle plus fours with no trouble at all.
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In fact, if I read about a project, admire the project, consider doing the project for a minimum of about ten minutes, I think my brain produces the same neuro-receptor-reactions as it would do if I'd actually bought the wool/fabric/materials and spent a sizeable amount of time completing said project. I am able to convince myself that I am as clever and as accomplished as the seamstress/knitter/embroiderer or artist I'm reading about and, indeed, almost able to convince myself that I've actually done it.
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I realise that this is nothing to be proud of. It's very like watching all those home improvement shows, or watching Nigella make some amazing pud and not being able to change a plug or boil an egg but, hey, there are things that get in the way of having a beautifully crafted life and a girl's got to get her fun somewhere.
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Now, where's my library card gone?
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4 comments:

Kathy said...

What's a beautifully crafted life without PLENTY of dreaming to along with it???--- sounds like we're both extremely good at that part!

Only Me said...

You can never have too many books - they always looks great on the shelves,and you may need to refer back to them. I often find myself wanting to browse other people's bookshelves - they are usually much more exciting than my own.

pinkcatcustardandcake said...

I could so relate to this posting! I'm the same, get all the materials, buy all the books and then move onto something else. Mum and Dad bought me lots of calligraphy pens, inks and books for Christmas 2007 and I've still not touched them. You've reminded me that I must.

There must be a name for this affliction - 'dream crafting'?

Garden Girl said...

Hmm. You're not a Gemini are you? Its just that I am and have a habit of doing the same thing!
I ALWAYS buy books for every interest or hobby I've ever had...camping/knitting/mosaics/gardening/allotments/homemaking/sewing/knitting/cooking/jam making/chutney and pickle making/opening a cafe! and then I move onto the next one...that's not to say that I don't dip back into the books all the time though, I just like learning and knowing everything I can about each subject.