Kay and the Universe

Instagram just reminded me that it is a year since Kay died. I’ve never been good at remembering dates, but I knew it was some time in May. I recall having one of the worse bad back days ever, spending the morning semi-conscious in bed waiting for the pain killers to kick in, slowly composing an email to my agent saying I wasn’t sure I’d be able to continue writing as a career, then when I finally managed to get up and download my emails the news arrived.

I recall being seized, afterwards, by the conviction that maybe it was time to head toward being a teacher of weaving instead of a student.

So I signed up for a year long 4-shaft weaving course intending to power on through the 8-shaft one next and get ‘qualified’, such as it is. I got more involved in the guild. I spent months preparing for a rigid heddle workshop for summer school that I hoped I could repeat again throughout this year. I started looking for university textile courses.

And the Covid19 happened.

If I was the sort of person who believed such things, I’d say the universe was steering me away from that grand plan. But then, if I was the sort of person who believed such things, I’d have said Kay’s death and my back issues steered me toward it. Which all confirms to me that the idea that the universe is pushing me anywhere is bullshit. After all, if the universe wanted me to teach weaving it would have ensured Kay hadn’t died so I’d have the chance to absorb all the knowledge she was so enthusiastically and generously sharing.

So what do I want me to do?

Learn – doing the 4-shaft course has reminded me how much fun it is to simply LEARN. It’s been a long time since I felt that.

Teach – I enjoyed the workshop. I enjoy teaching friends. I caught some of Kay’s concern that knowledge was being lost and I want to help preserve it.

Do – I still want to make things. My back issued mean I can’t do it as much as I’d like, and learning and teaching were supposed to fill those gaps.

Adaption and flexibility is how people are surviving these times. So maybe I need to look for different ways to do the above. Go back to teaching myself once the 4 and 8 shaft courses are done. Find ways to teach in person safely, or online. Varying the kinds of making I’m doing to gain more overall output.

When I read through Kay’s blog a year ago, I admired how she had adapted to change. That makes me feel like maybe I can as well. Maybe that’s a lesson she can still teach me, a year since her passing. You just have to find a way.