I picked up beading much faster than I picked up writing. I’ve only been able to tell a more or less coherent story from beginning to end for a few years. Of course, I’ve only been beading for a few years compared to artists I’ve encountered in the wild. And come to think of it, I got decent enough at writing after the beading thing occurred.
I remember it was the dead of summer and I’d driven my Mum up the walls pacing the living-room (I was unemployed and helping take care of her Demonhaus, but that is another story), so she gave me a wirework kit in an effort to contain me for a few hours. It worked. Well, I stopped pacing. I didn’t leave the living-room alone. For the rest of the time I lived there, I was often sighted at the coffee table, swearing at tiny bits of glass.
In six months, I went from that little kit to one of the most difficult beading projects from that year’s especially challenging Artist of the Year series.
On the other hand, I wrote for close to twenty years before I looked at anything I produced and went “That is good. Let us go with the thing.” Again, a lot of what I learned I taught myself starting out. I couldn’t tell you how many words I wrote and unwrote, how many guileless side character I killed off or how many terrible ideas I inflicted on the writing partners I’m now very apologetic towards.
Now, my early beadwork I can show you. The evolution is quick and brutal over six necklaces.
The thing was, and maybe because the two things happened at the same time, I was as happy with a good story as I was with a flawless 50+ hour choker. So, I went off and I made good stories and ridiculous adornments. There was nothing wrong with that. Next thing I knew, fiction-wise I was up to armpits in Jealous of Roses. It was good as well.
So, I was explaining my learning curve variance to Lily Xavier and I got one of those pauses of recognition you sometimes hit on IM. Anyway, it seemed like a pause of recognition to me. It could have been one of her dogs decided to protect her from the internet. I know there was a pause on her end followed by “I see XD”. I distinctly remember the XD.
A few weeks later, we were sitting in a green room beside a bunch of burlesque dancers, as one does, when Lily said, “WOULD YOU BE OPEN TO SOME CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM ON YOUR WRITING?”
It was a bit loud in there. I still answered, “SOUNDS EXCELLENT I DON’T GET A LOT OF THAT.” This is true. It may also be related to the fact I often write about hitmen.
“YOU HAVE A LOT OF GREAT IDEAS BUT YOU GET DISTRACTED WITH HOW MANY. ITS LIKE GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF A BEADING STITCH?”
I could do that. “WRONG-ANGLE WEAVE.” And be as cheeky as possible about it.
“OK SO IMAGINE IF SOMEONE EXPLAINED WRONG-ANGLE WEAVE TO YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PATTERN YOU’D ALREADY STARTED.”
“THAT WOULD BE HELLA ANNOYING.” I laughed, but then I added. “ACTUALLY I HAVE THAT PATTERN AND I HATE IT.”
“IT’S OK TO HAVE A LOT OF GREAT IDEAS BUT SINCE YOU’RE USING ALL OF THEM AT ONCE SOMETIMES IT’S EXPLAINING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PATTERN. IF YOU COULD NARROW YOUR FOCUS DOWN SOME THAT WOULD BE A LOT MORE ACCESSIBLE.”
I nodded. “NOW WHY THE HELL DIDN’T ANYBODY PUT IT TO ME LIKE THAT BEFORE?”
“THEY DON’T BEAD.”
Which is about when the light went on. That maybe, if I fixed a few little things here and there maybe I could have a great story someday. I responded to my epiphany as any brave, hitman-writing author should. “OK COOL I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR FEEDBACK. LEMME THINK ABOUT IT.”
“I HAVE SOME EXAMPLES. I WILL SHOW YOU.”
I nodded. I knew what happened the last time I got examples. It’s called a wall of vintage cabochons. Still, I was lured on by great. Well, besides the fact it had been so damn long since anyone freely gave me feedback and…
“THEY HAVE DRAGONS.”