When I was a young lass, as someone might say, I would, occasionally, in a fit of hopeless yet determined creativity, forsake all other preoccupations my old home had to offer and retreat to what was known as “The Sewing Room.” As the haunt of my earliest days (it used to be my bedroom, back when I was a toddler) the walls of tiny pink rosettes amidst delicate sprigs of green grass were, and still are, really, a bit idyllic-looking. It was a very small room, befitting a very small girl. After I moved into a larger bedroom, the place became stuffed with arts ‘n’ crafts. It was the perfect nook for a preteen with more vision than talent, but who still loved scribbling shieldmaidens swirling in magical cloaks, clutching bent swords in their spidery hands.
Upon opening the door to this lair of “stuff,” I would have to take some care not to be first discouraged by the odor of musty fabric and bottles of disintegrating paint, some of which dated back to 1988. Mom’s domain was on the left side of the room, one long, white desk, over which hung more shelves with boxes of lace, pins, things-to-be-fixed, things-to-be-created, and acres of yarn, complemented by (at one point) sixteen books on knitting. Underneath said desk were plastic drawers full of feathers and bows and fake flowers. An everlasting smell of crunched ribbon pervaded the area. On top of the desk sat various trailing scraps of fabric, a few miscellaneous piles of unspecified crafting materials, Mom’s sewing scissors, her very special paint pens, and It: Mom’s new-a-few-years-before, high-tech, ultra-sleek sewing machine. It had a screen, like a computer. Mom neither liked me getting too near her prize, nor fiddling with her side of the room in general. She (rightly, in retrospect) thought I would just add to the mess, so I stayed to my side of the room as I, my tape player, and whatever book-on-tape (or, later, book-on-CD) I was listening to at the moment, navigated the barely eight-foot length of floor.
On my side, we’d dodge stacks of Play-Doh, pipe cleaners, and an ancient, cutting-edge (literally), metallic Garfield-themed trash can, heading for the furthest corner of the room where my desk was. As a precaution, I usually wore slippers when venturing upon the in-need-of-varnish floors of the Sewing Room, not wanting to encounter a splinter nor a stray pin. The place was on the edge of the house as well, with an old wooden window that needed replacing, so it was quite cold in there.
After depositing my tape-player and straining for the plug, I needed to attend to my desk. Having suffered the ravages of time, the honey-brown desk – which was cheap to begin with – usually needed its joints shoved back together before I drew on its surface. And while the edges of its once sharp skeleton were eventually dulled by age, back in the beginning, I’d usually emerge from my seclusion with a few scrapes from the horribly pointy corners. It was a small price to pay for the hours I spent there.
I look back at my old drawings now, and some, well, I can see what I was going for, but time and taste has not done them any favors. More are merely mediocre. A very special few I actually think are decently good. And some, of course, are quite horrible. It is the experience, of having the time and space to sit in my own little corner, in my own creaking chair, drawing whatever and wherever I wanted to be, that is something I miss a bit more than I realize sometimes. So, today, I like to take the time, now and again, to root out a box of colored pencil ends and spend a spell in thoughtful drawing. It’s not quite the same as it once was, just as my drawings are never exactly as I picture them. But, well, it’s close enough.