What makes you write a book. As I start my new one with just a half a page written, I wonder that myself. Maile, a reader who has been here for a workshop, asked that in the comments to yesterdays’ post. How does the process work?
My first book, Hook Me a Story happened because I was afraid that rug hooking would not been seen as part of the culture of Atlantic Canada. There were many books on rug hooking but none coming from the place where rug hooking had been so prevalent for a hundred and fifty years. That book was really about preserving culture. At the time rug hooking was a quiet little craft and I wanted to do my part to bring it closer to the mainstream. So I had a bit of a mission with that book.
It took a long time after that to get the go ahead for a second book. Finally , Rug Hooking Magazine published, The Secrets of Design that is now out of print. In that book I poured out everything I knew about design.
The two books I published since then have been with Nimbus Publishing, a small Atlantic Canadian Publisher. One of them, East coast Rug Hooking was also published by a bigger Publisher in the states for the British and Australian Markets. It was retitled Hooking Mats and Rugs. They did a good job producing the new version of the same book. All together, Nimbus and I have sold 25,000 books about rug hooking since Hook Me a Story was first published. Hopefully this has meant that at least that many people have tried their hand at rug hooking. I am pretty sure that is true.
So what is the process of writing a book. I think first the subject has to matter to you, and you have to believe the book has meaning. For me to write, I pretty much have to have a bit of a mission, a reason for getting the words on to the page, in some form. In my last book “Inspired”, I poured out the artistic side of myself. For some reason, I felt I needed to do this. I do not always know why I want to do something, but I really had a desire to write about the nature of creativity. I think that book, though appealing to rug hookers, was really written for anyone who wanted to make art.
My next book has to do with my desire to see younger women, and men keep hooking rugs. I want to see it emerge as a modern craft or art as well as a traditional one. It is both, undoubtedly.
The how of writing is like the how of making a big hooked rug. You just gotta show up and commit to it. I find writing much harder , mind you , as my comfort for it, and my ease with words does not really compare to my ease with wool. I can do it but it does not feel as easy and natural all the time. Sometimes it flows, sometimes it sputters. I just decide that I am going to do it. For this next book, I will be making the rugs first, or along with the writing. The other thing I value is an editor, who can pare down what I have to say to the essential elements. Sometimes you can use twenty words when only ten are needed. It makes a real book, having a good editor, and each time I wrote a book with Nimbus, they have provided me with that. Thanks Maile, for asking the question .
I also wanted to tell you a nice thing that just happened to me while I was sitting her writing this post. The light was fading and my brother in law, George, got up out of his chair and walked across the room, which is a big deal for him as he finds it hard to get around, and he turned on the light for me to see better. I am so thankful for such small kindnesses. That was so sweet.