Fake It Till You Make It

Sometimes when I'm feeling blue, stuck, or in a funk, the easiest way for me to shake it is to make something, anything.

I used to always consider myself a non-crafty person, someone who even in kindergarten hated making things. Maybe it was because I was left-handed in the land of right-handed scissors, or maybe I just disliked the environments where making happened, the classrooms, the church basements, the drab rec-centers, but crafting was one of my least favorite activities as a kid, and that stuck to me for a long time.

Ever since my teens though, one of my greatest pleasures was making these intricate collage-covered notebooks. Often they were arranged around a particular theme, or how I felt about the person whom I was making them for (they were kinda like a mix tape that way). They'd take days to make, with interlocking images, poems cut out of different magazine articles, secret pockets, or collaged centerfolds, or made-up maps. Often I would buy magazines based on whether the images would work for a particular book I was working on.  The feeling I got, organizing the images, carefully arranging them in to new constellations, new context, a story all their own, was the best kind of blankness, absolute focus. The world, with all its troubles, fell away. 

It was the same feeling you can get dancing to live music, but there wasn't a good show in town every night. There was however, always paper, glue and scissors. 

I wish that someone had told me then that I could make anything. That would have blown my mind. Back in those days, I was only peripherally aware of the idea that I could make my own cosmetics, knit my own scarves, or sew my own clothes. Now, I make and mend much of what I use. The magic hasn't gone out of the act of making though, as ordinary as it is.

These days, there's so much more then paper and glue to chase away the blues: there's embroidery thread, yarn, leather scraps, rad fabrics, paints, linoleum to cut, there's dry herbs, there's beeswax, there's your basic kitchen staples, out of which almost anything can be made. 

I step outside whatever door I'm behind, stretch out, and push in a few stitches, or arrange ingredients into the right order, shake them up, or pour oil over them, and somehow I'm alright again.  A little creativity, a small practical application, can ground me like a lightning rod pulls electricity.