Sunday, December 11, 2016

Lessons from a Maroon Skirt

Yeah. If only it had looked like this.

from Jody Feldman


Dear Jody,

You are capable of creating wonderful things ... if ... you ... don’t ... rush ... the ... process.

Remember 7th grade home ec?

While you’d been cooking for as long as you could hold a spoon, sewing was as foreign as a Fellini film. By the time you learned to wind the thread around all the gears of the sewing machine, your classmates were already stitching the seams of their gabardine A-line skirts. That’s when you felt the pressure to move faster; cutting, pinning, basting, stitching, hemming, and at some point, managing to fit in a working zipper. You took your maroon masterpiece home and deemed it perfect to wear to school the next week. You basically defied anyone to know it was self-made. And then. One of the first people you saw, someone only in your math class, passed you in the lower hall. “You made that in home ec, didn’t you?” And you never wore that skirt again.

Don’t do that to your books. Sure, you can continue to set aggressive deadlines, but know it’s better (and more expedient) to turn in work when it’s ready; not when the timer dings. Then maybe, on first submission, your agent will directly pass your book along to your publisher. She will not send it back and send you reeling in a tizzy when deep-down you already knew, in this form, it was that maroon skirt all over again when it could have been, well, maybe not Chanel, but ... you know.

6 comments:

  1. Love this Jody...brought back my own attempts to put a zipper in a maroon corduroy skirt in Home EC...3 times!
    I wore that skirt until it wore out!

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    1. You were braver than I was, Darlene. And probably more skilled :)

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  2. Oh, man, this is true. I love the visual of the skirt...

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  3. Ha! I threw my A-line skirt into the home ec room trash can in sobbing despair, and the teacher rescued it for me. I put the scene of my catching my hair in the sewing machine into my book LIZZIE AT LAST. Thanks for the painful but also sweet memories!

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    1. My pleasure? I'm sorry? At least it turned out to be a force for good in your life :)

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  4. Thank you, Jody. It's nice to see that people understand what objectivity is and have an ability to remain objective in relation to themselves. Your letter brought me back to some of the moments of my life and it made me think about a lot of things. I do not want to repeat my mistakes. I'm the writer. I improve my writing with mastergrades. Now I've started my first book and I hope it will be successful. It's not easy task, anyway.

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