Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest Blogger Lorelei James - Arts and Crafts

There are authors who claim writing is an art…and some who claim it is a craft.

Here’s a confession, whenever I used to hear the word “craft” no matter what context it was used in, I couldn’t help but think of the traditional type of craft…a homemade macramé wall hanging, or a painted ceramic frog, or decoupage candles, or other types of knickknacks that are hand-crafted, not the dedication and perseverance I associate with my job as a writer of commercial fiction (which I don’t consider art most days either, just entertainment). When I joined an all female multi-author blog www.murdershewrites.com and I was trying to get a feel for their expectations as far as my contributions, one of my blogmates piped in, “We don’t expect you to always do posts on craft,” which sent me into an immediate panic. Craft? Really? Like step-by-step instructions on how to craft beaded napkin rings?

Oh. Right. She meant the craft of writing. Ha ha. Good thing I figured that out on my own and didn’t have to ask for clarification because that would’ve been an embarrassing blonde moment.

As long as I’m in confessional mode, my trepidation about the word craft stems from one thing: I’m not a “crafty” type woman. My mother is. My grandmothers were. My daughters are.

So what happened to me?

My paternal grandmother tried to teach me to crochet one year when I stayed at my grandparent’s farm for a week. Bear in mind, this woman defined patience. After several days where she saw no improvement in my pathetic scarf, she sweetly patted my knee and said, “I’m sure you’re good at other things.”

Same thing happened when my maternal grandmother tried to teach me how to knit. She told me I had too many fingers. When my oldest daughter learned to knit at age 14, and took to it like a duck to water…I’ll admit there was jealousy intermixed with my pride. And don’t get me started on how the visual artistic gene is missing from my DNA entirely. Luckily I married a very artistic man and that gene is has been passed onto our children.

I used to sew—not particularly well, I ended up with a C in home economics classes. And wow, does that date me. Even in the late 70s guys weren’t allowed in the classes designed to make girls better at the domestic arts. Neither were girls admitted to the industrial arts classes. So I was very happy when that all changed in my daughter’s generation and boys and girls were required to take both cooking and shop classes. Probably some of those preteen boys in my daughter’s classes were better at sewing on buttons than I am to this day.

Anyway, in the days I call “pre-published” I used to do counted cross-stitch. I was actually pretty good at it, because hey, even I can count, and I enjoyed it enough to call it a hobby when asked. So when the holidays roll around, I have the urge to make the cute Christmas ornaments I find in my mother’s women’s magazines I always thumb through. I’m stuck in that limbo where I have the desire to return to my hobby…but not the time. And maybe that skill set I thought I had is lost.

What defines a hobby? Does it take skill or just passion? Even though I worked at writing, until I was published, it was more a hobby for me. I don’t consider the interior work I’ve done on our house a hobby because it was a necessity to make the house habitable and palatable. I don’t consider summertime boating a hobby because there’s not much skill involved in hopping in the boat and zipping around the lake. I could try to pass off my obsession with finding funky cowgirl boots a hobby…but it’s more of an addiction J

These days I don’t always see paper pattern cutouts and skeins of embroidery floss in my head when I hear the word “craft.” I’ve accepted I’m crafty in an entirely different way than most people. And I’m pretty sure my readers would rather have me crafting a new book than starting a new hobby.

Lorelei James used to have a life - now she spends her days and nights immersed in the world of writing about sweet talkin', hot bodied cowboys and the women who are tough enough to rope them in. Obviously she has the best job in the world. For more information on the books, visit Lorelei's website: www.loreleijames.com


Anonymous said...

Loved your post. And I'm so not crafty at all. And I used to do counted-cross stitch as well. Finished a nice piece for my husband but never got it framed. And I have a really great project that I started for me that I haven't worked on in over 10 years. The kids have used most of my old floss for sewing patches on their Camp Fire vests. Not enough hours in the day and reading is a much easier hobby.

Linda S said...

Lorelei, I think your writing is a very special craft because it takes a very creative mind to do what you do so well. I for one am glad you write.

kog said...

Lorelei - I love the Rough Riders series! They are some of the hottest and sweetest books I've ever read. I don't read many westerns, but I make an exception for your books every time.

Re: crafts. Everyone is creative in some way. You craft words. And I'm glad you do!

Anonymous said...

Hi LJ, love your post :)

Kathy said...

Ha-I'm a crafty person but I,too, am missing the knitting/crocheting gene.

Your books are more than entertainment. They are not mindless fluff-they have a great deal of depth and substance. They make us stop and think.

And they make our husbands very happy =)!

redjuliet said...

I'm not crafty either. My Grandma has made quilts for all of us and I started to work on one. It's still in a box, waiting to be worked on! I think you are AWESOME at your craft! Your Grandmother was right! Thanks for all you create which keeps me very happy!

Cec said...

I'm not crafty or anything my mum gave up on me along time ago!
Love the post!

Kelly Jamieson said...

Lorelei James is at our blog!!!!!! Excuse me while I have a fan girl moment. *Ahem* Okay I'm good now. Lorelei, yes you are "crafty" and we love you for it!

I used to try to be that other kind of "crafty" -- sewing and home decorating, but I think those were just attempts to express some kind of creativity, however pathetic. Writing works much better for me! And I think it's a craft AND an art.

Tiss said...

Loved you post. I do the crocheting and I did the cross stitch, but I've burned out on it. LOL. Now my hobby is reading your books and books of other authers. LOL. Thanks for learning your "craft". And sharing it with us.

daydrmzzz said...

I'm a very crafting kinda girl :) I make wings, tutus, costumes, blankets, crocheting, sewing, painting, and photography. I think that a hobby is something that you and enjoy n love doing. great post

Lorelei James said...

Hey, everyone, thanks for the encouraging comments! I'm glad I'm not alone!

smiles said...

I would like to think I am crafty but if you look at what I make compared to my sister I pale by comparison. But hey, I still plug away at crafts, never give up