Dec 6 2010

Making It

I once hosted an All Soul’s cocktail party. I remember because it was kind of an eccentric occasion, on a weeknight and in honor of a rarely celebrated holiday, at least rarely celebrated with cocktails. I made the invitations by hand. I can still – twenty years later – picture the paper stock I selected, a heavy construction grade in burgundy and rusty orange, and a patterned paper with both these colors and black in a marbled design. Thick felt-tip calligraphy pens, in black, brown and rust, a few lines of clever text, burgundy envelopes and stamps with an autumnal spirit.

I invited all my friends and colleagues from work, thinking of each person individually as I hand-made every invitation. When the exercise was over – two hours and two glue sticks later – I stared at the pile of crafty envelopes and felt supremely satisfied. The work I did then (and do now) keeps me in brain. It was a nourishing pleasure to have been working with my hands.

One year, back when the Paris metro tickets were green, I saved all my used ones and cut them into the shape of a fir tree and pasted them on to home-made Christmas cards. It took me the entire evening, at least twice though Ella Fitzgerald’s Swinging Christmas album and nearly a bottle of wine. I remember feeling it was an evening extremely well spent. I’m tactile, I love to cut and paste.

But during this last year? I made a goal book, the result of an inspiring goal-setting exercise into which I inserted my favorite activities of cutting and pasting and making collages. But that’s about the only cut and paste I managed to get to.

What did I make? Aside from the meals, and the beds?

I made a tribute to my mother that honored her well. I made new bonds with my siblings. I made new friends. I made trips. I made mistakes. I made progress. I made a lot of memories. I made a living. I made love. I made my way. I made it up as I went along.

But next year, I’ll make more things with my hands. It makes me happy.

I’m participating in Reverb10, and this post is in response to a prompt from author Gretchen Rubin: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some timer for it?