A.V. Walters

I’m weaving again, after a lapse of 15 years. I’m working on rag rugs, always one of my favorite projects. Rag rugs are quintessential American frugal and still they come out beautiful. I like the idea of making something utilitarian and attractive out of materials that have already exhausted their useful lives. I’m not a skilled weaver. I’m anal and dyslexic and I have to think for almost every throw of the shuttle, “Under or over on the first thread?” Still there is a rhythm to it that is soothing. Time passes, your hands do the work and your mind wanders and solves problems you didn’t even know you were having. I started the weaving to remind me of the process. One of the characters in a book I’m writing is a weaver.

I’m stalled on the book, Victorian Rules of Grieving, so I’m going through the motions hoping to re-connect to the characters. The book is a sequel to The Emma Caites Way, which I wrote when I first came to Two Rock. From the start I knew the new book would address some issues about loss (hence the title) with largely the same cast of folks from Emma. Then, my dad got sick.

It’s tough to deal with the same issues in fiction and in life simultaneously. As his illness progressed, it became more and more difficult to work on the book. I couldn’t even edit the second book (The Gift of Guylaine Claire) let alone deal with his illness. A year ago my dad passed away and I’m finally ready to look back at the grieving process and incorporate it into a story that will probably end up richer for the experience. Trust me, this is no way to deepen your literary bench.

Shortly after he died, I had a very detailed and full dream, that came with characters, plot and even a title, The Trial of Trudy Castor. It’s a hoot, a depression era speakeasy-rumrunning tale of crime and intrigue. I started writing it immediately. My dad would laugh. He loved my grandfather’s stories about running booze on the Canadian border. I figure the dream was a kind of gift from my dad. So, for the first time I’m writing two books at the same time. Oh yeah, and helping with the edit of Guylaine. It doesn’t rain but it pours.

That’s what brings me back to weaving. Each day I go out to the loom (which is in an unheated room, formerly a balcony that was enclosed–and then another balcony added on–don’t get me started) and I weave four or five inches. This particular rug has a history to it. I made a comforter cover out of two sheets, back in the 70s. I used it for decades. It drove my sister crazy. She couldn’t believe that I was still using ‘that old thing.’ I’d tell her each time, “But it’s not worn out yet,” and she’d sigh. Finally it did wear out and I saved the fabric. I know it will drive her crazy to see this reincarnated rug. So I’m weaving. As I do so, the story returns and the characters become more solid. It’s a good way to make good use of a gloomy winter day. It’s too early to rifle through the seed catalogs. I have a million things to do, but this weaving is centering. In a week or so, I’ll have a rug. I’d show pictures, but I’ve never been able to figure out how to upload them.