Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Smooth as Silk?

I’m changing churches. Not religion, not even denomination, just churches. I’ve been a member of my current church for at least twenty-five years, so this will be a wrench. The problem is politics, and this might serve as a warning to anyone who does public speaking (including me): unless you are a politician or speaking at a political event, don’t let your political beliefs show. I don’t want to get into details, but I want to go on record as saying this has been a painful couple of years, and an excruciating couple of months. I was going to stand and fight (I know I’m not alone in my complaint), but last Sunday I went to a church in my own neighborhood and the relief was so enormous that I knew what I had to do.

Is somebody out there – somebody computer-savvy – looking for an interesting idea for a mystery series? Have I got a lead for you in this news story:

There are all kinds of ways this could have gone. Fortunately, it went the best way. But what if it hadn’t? Or what if this, the first one, went well, but a later one didn’t? That would be the first novel. Vigilantes always start off with the very best intentions, and they begin operations in a venue where police are, or are seen as, lax. It’s a very dangerous perception if allowed to fester, that the police are no longer able (or worse, willing) to act when honest citizens are victimized. This could be a very cool series, but it needs to be written by a young person, or someone who knows how to make computers do as they are told – in a way a reader perhaps not nearly as skilled (me, for example) could understand.

One of the marketing ideas we came up with for Thai Die is Thai silk. Getting some was a long and far more complicated job than I would ever have believed. Thailand does not make silk embroidery floss. Okay, I said, then we can use some of the silk they use in weaving. All we’ll need is a couple of balls of silk thread. I don’t know if it was the language barrier or if the silk manufacturers in Thailand didn’t believe why we wanted it, but it took months. I now have a cardboard box about fourteen inches square and six inches deep containing a large wad of gold-colored Thai silk thread. It doesn’t have the smooth texture of silk floss and I have discovered that’s because it’s wound, not spun. I’m not sure how it makes a difference, but in wound silk the cocoons are heated in water, then the end of the wrapping is found somehow and attached to a wooden bar. Then another cocoon, and another, and another are attached to bars arranged in a circle. The circle turns as it backs away and the thin strands are twisted together. That’s winding. Spinning is done on a wheel – though the wheel doesn’t look like what we think of as a spinning wheel. I’m not sure why that makes a difference, but wound silk feels rougher and is inclined, when brushed up against more wound silk, to become firmly attached.

Anyway, what my designer, the sainted Denise Williams, has done, is come up with a design that calls, in part, for gold floss. And what we are going to do is offer people who come to my signings a free length of Thai gold silk to use in stitching the pattern. This is a unique product, not for sale anywhere. It’s also a little difficult to use, as its rough surface catches on everything, including tiny flaws in the stitcher’s fingers. But its sheen is unsurpassed.

Oh, and I am speaking of this now because I have been persuaded to bring some samples of it to the quilt show in Rosemont and the lecture in Palos Heights this weekend to give away to people who will then have to buy the book when it comes out in December in order to work the pattern.


caryn said...

Well, I don't know whether to be happy for you that you've found peace inthe new church, or sorry that you had to leave the one you were such a part of. It contastly amazes me at how "unchristian" most churches are when it comes to dealing with issues-especially of they involve money. We've been members of two different churches in two different states that underwent major renovations. Before the projects in each of the churches was complete, a substantial number of members had left the church and another group stayed mad for years. Come to think of it, in the last months of her 104 year life, my grandma was still complaining about a "slight" in the remodeling of the "German" church some 50 plus years before that removed "dedicated in memory of" windows.

Camille Minichino said...

On the vigilante thread ... I've always been fascinated by that motivation. (No I'm not young/savvy enough to work the computer end in a novel).
I recently saw Jodi Foster in The Brave One, where she turns vigilante after her fiance is murdered. This movie is a very interesting take on the psychology and the effects on everyone else.

BeadKnitter said...

So sorry about what you've been going through with your church. I know your pain, having went through it myself.

I just finished Knitting Bones and wanted to tell you I have really enjoyed it. Your books are entertaining. I got hooked on them when I had my own needle craft shop. I could so relate to Betsy, which was important at the time because I needed her in my life. Unfortunately, I had to close my shop in January of 2006.

Am looking forward to Thai Die. Thank you for writing your wonderful stories.

Anonymous said...

We just learned yesterday of the many changes to take place in the Archdiocese of New Orleans as a result of hurricane Katrina. Over thirty churches will be forever changed whether by closing, merging or sharing church officials. Many people are simply grief stricken.