We Chicks always write books. But when we don’t, we choose all kinds of other ways to channel those artful passions. Are they the most interesting creative outlets in the world? Well, you be the judge–but they work for us!
There have been times in my life where I’ve felt like all I do is write: write for work, write my novels, write to promote my novels, and then, when I have a little free time, write something new just for fun. But a couple of years ago, when we ducked into a ukulele shop in Kauai to avoid an afternoon rain shower and the lady whose son makes the ukuleles taught me how to play a few chords, I knew I’d found the perfect antidote to all those words. I love being able to pick it up and just play. I don’t have to be good at it. Nobody will ever hear it. It’s just for fun. And there’s no physical proof left behind if I fail—unlike pottery or knitting or any of my other abandoned craft projects. My husband and one of our friends are both learning to play the guitar, so we get together and have ridiculously inept and wildly fun jam sessions that require singing loudly. So far, none of our neighbors have complained, so I call that a win!
When I was a kid, and public schools had budgets, I loved Art. I was even pretty good at it (compared to Math and Science, anyway). I’m not sure what happened, but as a grown up I lost my touch. So now I go to paint nights, taught by my accomplished artist friend Morgan. We switch up the locales around our small New Hampshire town. Last time we had class in a combination antique and florist shop. It’s also a historic home, and they didn’t even mind when we spilled paint on the 200-plus-year-old wood floors. Our next location: a heavily shaded (and mosquitoed) family campground. Morgan says my work is very “painterly.” That’s a compliment, right?
I’m a craftsy person, but in fits and starts. I get a bug up my a–, as my mother would say, and totally commit to one craft at a time. I go crazy for needlepoint, make a bunch of ornaments, and then stop. Last year, to promote my Cajun Country series, I made about six Louisiana-themed necklaces to wear at mystery conferences. Right now, I’m making gris gris bags to give out at signings for the second book in my series. Some crafts go better than others. About twenty years ago, I became obsessed with knitting. For a year or two, I was able to do gorgeous lace and cable stitches. I finished one item – and it didn’t fit. I have half a gorgeous shell design tank top because I ran out of steam to knit the other half… which wouldn’t fit me anymore anyway. But I still have the big tubs of yarn. Along with an entire huge drawer of needlepoint supplies. And shelves of beading materials. None of which I’ll ever give up because I never know which craft itch I may want to scratch next.
Okay, so maybe we’ll stick to our day (and night) jobs at the keyboard. Readers and writers, where do YOU focus your creative energies when you’re not glued to a page?
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