Monday, May 25, 2009
No Aptitude for Artistry
Meet Deborah Sharp! our guest blogger today.
When I met Camille/Margaret at this spring's Malice Domestic conference, she nicely invited me to join the crafty authors at Killer Hobbies as guest blogger for a day. Like the former reporter I am, I did my research on the Killer gals: reading earlier blog entries, reviewing bios, perusing their books. My conclusion: Each is a goddess of creativity. And, man, am I intimidated!
With one book under my belt, and the second, Mama Rides Shotgun, coming out this July, I'm finally starting to feel like a real author. Even so, I feel like a pretender here today. My shameful secret: I was born without the handicraft gene. I have absolutely no knack for know-how.
Having two left thumbs is bad enough. But I can't even claim a real hobby, unless you count combing thrift shops for deals and then gloating about them to full-price-paying friends. Anybody see the blue suede jacket I wore at Malice? Found it brand new at a thrift store, tags from a posh dress shop still hanging from the sleeve. I paid $4.50. Would have been $9.00, but it was half-price day.
See what I mean?
I guess it could be worse. The main character in my funny, Southern-flavored Mace Bauer Mystery series has a hobby. She watches Cops on TV to see if any of her ex-boyfriends show up.
I've always envied people who can make things. My carpenter father built beautiful wooden cabinets. My mom sewed her own clothes. Their creativity must have skipped a generation. I still remember the trauma of home ec class. Tasked with making a simple, A-line dress, I ripped out the zipper so many times, there was no fabric left in the back. The teacher finally told me to step away from the sewing project. She offered to pass me with a C if I'd scour the stove and clean the floor after cooking class.
''Gladly,'' I said, mop bucket in hand.
At Malice, I sat in the audience for a panel featuring some of the talented authors on this blog. All around the room, women's hands were busy, creating beautiful things. Knitters. Crocheters. (Is that a word?) And someone doing something called ''counted cross-stitch.'' Manual dexterity and math? Ohmigod, the two hardest things in the world for me. Talk about feeling inadequate.
I read an earlier post here by my friend Joanna Campbell Slan, who said she's tired of feeling she has to apologize to folks who sneer at crafters. It made me wonder about the source of such arrogance. Jealousy? A need to feel superior? When I looked around the room that day at Malice, I felt only admiration (Okay, maybe a little envy).
Joanna wrote: ''. . . any creative or learning endeavor should be sacred and valued, not laughed at.''
Speaking as a craft-challenged individual, I couldn't agree more.
Afterword from Camille: Deborah may think she doesn't make anything, but if you saw her at Malice, you know she can make any audience pay attention and have fun. She had me making a list of how to give a pitch and make everyone feel special. That's a lot of making!