As soon as I finished breakfast this morning, I turned on my computer and sat down to my mystery novel. Chapter 2 is coming along nicely.
I decided to introduce the world of fibers! While I know a great many talented fiber artists, I thought about the many (many) times strangers walk up to me and ask, “What are you doing?” Not infrequently people say something like, “I remember my grandma doing that,” which immediately makes me feel like a fossil. (And most people will add, “I wish I could do that.”)
Sadly, too often fiber work is seen as “women’s work” – something they diddle with in their spare time. When I was in grad school I worked at a yarn store, and one rather quiet middle-aged lady came in and asked for some inexpensive synthetic yarn to knit a sweater for herself. She had chosen a lovely pattern, but the sweater would have been amazing in, well, let’s say, something not acrylic. So I brought her to the shop’s “color wall,” where she fell in love with a not-so-cheap yarn. After I rang up her purchase, she pulled out her checkbook and started to write the check – but stopped right before she signed her name. She looked at me and said, “Oh dear, I don’t know what my husband will say. I’ve never spent so much on a hobby.”
I felt a little angry for her. (A hobby? Someone’s making her feel like this is a hobby akin to saving rubber bands?) So I thought quickly.
Me: “Does your husband hunt or fish” (it was Oregon, after all).
Customer: “Yes of course. He does both.”
Me: “How much does he spend on his hobbies?”
Customer, looking very surprised: “Why you’re right. This is nothing compared to what he spends on his hobbies!”
With that, she signed her check with a flourish and gave it to me. Clutching her bag proudly to her chest, she left the shop with a big smile on her face.
I realized she was one – probably of one of many people – who are made to feel their (fiber) hobbies are silly little time-wasters; the real hobbies are things like golf, hunting, and tennis. So I think I will weave fiber arts through the novel!
Now the scene where a fiber art is used for evil, I will definitely keep from Thor. I don’t want him to have to feel he needs to sleep with one eye open. 🙂