for the faithful fifteen
The doors opened in December 2007, but somewhere along the line I deleted my first few offerings, so Volume I starts off with the piece I wrote on March 2, 2008.
I am talking about the print version of my Cafe Nita Lou blog, shown in the photos below.
And, yes, I do realize that the image is partially in shadow. You may think it the shadow cast by an amateur photographer; I see it as a visible manifestation of an author's sorrow.
I had such high (and improbable) hopes when I first began blogging, hopes centered on words like Book Contract and Publication. Maybe even Movie Deal and International Rights. I was certain that if I simply put my writing out there recognition, fame, and fortune would soon follow.
And neither did very many blog readers, though I remain deeply grateful for the few and faithful I have. Still, I continued to blog along and a few good things grew out of it. Some of the posts I wrote found a home (in revised version) in my local newspaper. I was asked to give a talk at an Austin high school. I won a memoir contest, complete with prize money! For a while, there, it seemed that my writing career was really, truly taking off--albeit not as dramatically as I'd hoped when I first began blogging.
Then it stalled.
Nothing I submitted was accepted for publication. My contest entries didn't make the list of finalists, much less the rank of winner. An editor's evaluation of my award-winning first novel manuscript was--well, dampening.
And then Real Life turned complicated and difficult.
Physical injury, surgery, recovery; temporary relocation during major home repairs; an abortive attempt to sell our house and the reluctant move back into it. Then came a second injury, necessitating more recovery time--my few and faithful Cafe Nita Lou followers know the story.
I tried to put the best face on it...but the new year brought with it an unprecedented level of stress and anxiety centering around unanticipated family problems, problems so personal and painful they drove me to my knees. The situation continued to escalate throughout the fall. Writing fell by the wayside, thrust aside by the onrush of Real Life.
Though I scarcely even knew how to, my primary coping strategy--surprisingly--became to sew.
But in order to make room for a sewing machine, stacks of fabric, boxes of thread and notions, and a table on which to pin and cut, something else had to go. I decided to take some time off from the quest for publication and fame and fortune as a writer. I packed up my file folders and draft manuscripts and sealed them up in boxes; I stacked my books and literary journals on shelves in the closet or on the floor.
|Cafe Nita Lou blog post 2010|
In this way I transformed a writer's workspace into an artist's studio.
I wish I could report that all the complications and difficulties, the stress and worry of Real Life somehow magically disappeared with closing of CNL and the opening of Studio Nita Lou.
In fact, things have only gotten worse. Truly, dear and faithful blog readers, these Real Life events have broken my real-live heart.
And yet it is some comfort to have chosen to close one door and open another. At least in this I have had a choice. Thus, my choice for now is to sew, and to write about sewing, because to do so is soothing and it brings me some measure of joy. My choice is to construct from fabric and thread and imagination things that bring comfort and delight to others in the way that I'd hoped to do with my words.