…my life would be totally different.
That’s my Deep Thought for February.
Because if I drank beer ( a beverage I still can’t stand the taste of) when I went to Ireland, I would have spent more time in pubs getting drunk and flirting with black-haired blue-eyed Irishmen, and less time doing this:
(Note: clever use of tea cup instead of Triscuit.)
For those of you reading along, we are in the Febraury chapter, page 31, of When Wanderers Cease to Roam. If you have my book, this is Back Story Stuff but if you don’t have my book, well, then, this is Story Stuff.
I wasn’t always an immensely talented watercolor artist. Once upon a time I was a dedicated embroiderer. So, when I was in a panic about turning 30 [in 1986] and I bought a one-way ticket to the most outlandish place I could think of — Ireland — (I was a big U2 fan) of course I packed about 100 skeins of beautiful French embroidery floss.
In Galway I bought some muslin, a light-weight muslin that gave me problems, but which I stubbornly refused to stop sewing on.
And that’s what I did on my down time in Ireland: I sewed. I sewed on park benches, I sewed (one memorable rainy Bank Holiday in Roscommon) in the waiting room of a bus shelter for eight hours; I sewed in the evenings in the common rooms of youth hostels. The above Celtic sampler is what I sewed. It took me six weeks. I made it up as I went along — that’s why it’s such a jumble. Also, I did say that I was a mite depressed during this time; maybe that also shows in the wayward looks of it.
That bird (above) in the lower right corner is the bird that is was the Irish pence coin at the time; the harp of course is a national symbol; the creatures hovering above the letters “e ” and “f” are, I believe, from the Book of Kells, and the various knots are various knots.
That piece of embroidery shows up in my book on page 31:
You will never believe how I got that stitch work onto the page:
I took my embroidery to Staples and I laid it down on a color copier. Then I cut up the color copy and taped bits of it along the edge of my journal page. That ratty taped-up color copy is what I turned in to Bloomsbury when I gave them my manuscript; Bloomsbury is such a high-quality printer that what they give you in the book is their scan of my color copy of my embroidery and you can still see the stitches! (It’s all chain stitch, by the way.)
Trade secrets, my dears, trade secrets.