A piece of writing is never finished. It is delivered to a deadline, torn out of the typewriter on demand, sent off with a sense of accomplishment and shame and pride and frustration. If only there were a couple more days, time for just another run at it, perhaps then…
– Donald Murray,Â The Maker’s Eye: Revising your Own Manuscripts
I read Donald Murray’s essay when I was in seventh grade, taking my first serious writing class at a summer program for the gifted and talented. This class literally changed the course of my life, igniting a love for the written word that’s never entirely left me, even when chasing other topics. And I loved his essay, especially the closing lines.
Which sum up almost completely my perspective on the phoenix wall hanging, which I have tentatively titled Born in Flame: Phoenix Rising. I’m not happy with it; it isn’t done yet, not by a long shot. I want another three months to think about it, revise it, maybe replace the couched thread with some freeform embroidery to define the shape without making it rigid. I want to build a couple more prototypes, followed by a “real” piece. This isn’t a finished piece – it’s more of a minor study on the way to a major piece.
But the fact is that I have a deadline, and it’s coming up way too fast. If I want to enter this piece in the Pikes Peak Weavers Guild Firestorm exhibition, I have to have the application in by the time I leave for Massachusetts, which gives me exactly two weeks to finish it. During those same two weeks I have to write a paper for my study group, a presentation for the museum, nine book blog posts, and a book proposal. I simply don’t have time to tinker with it anymore.
So I have decided to tear the piece out of the metaphorical typewriter and declare it finished. I took it to the framer’s today; they’ll get it framed by the 30th, whereupon I’ll take it off to a photo shoot, and send in the application. Done.
I really hate finishing a piece like this, but there is simply no other choice. As Murray said, “If only there were a couple more days, time for just another run at it, perhaps then…!”
Off to do some more writing! If I can catch up enough, maybe I can sneak some more weaving in. It would be really nice to finish that warp off before I leave…!