Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When Good Hobbies Turn Bad

There was a time when I was the queen of hobbies. I must have taken up dozens of hobbies which having experimented with, I quickly put back down. I suppose I had a need to feel accomplished, and goodness knows I reveled more in the accomplished tasks than in the actual practice of whatever hobby I had chosen to pursue.

I learned to knit from instructions in the Book of Knowledge, a vast encyclopedia of facts, geography, fairy tales and lessons in everyday life that was my constant reference when I was young. But knitting was tedious work, I soon found, and having begun with the intentions of knitting fabulous sweaters, I ended up making several pairs of mittens and one or two hats once I had discovered the joy of circular knitting needles.

I am afraid the same held true for crochet. Plans for large, warm afghans to cuddle up in on chilly winter nights ended up being pillows or afghans done in a large, open woven design that did little to keep in warmth but reduced the time it took to finish a project to a couple of days at most. I found crochet to be even more tension-causing than knitting and I am still not sure if several loose fillings were a result of the teeth-grinding that usually accompanied each row of crochet.

I turned to the arts, with an eye to "learning" to draw and paint. Much work went into learning how to produce a few things - a square-rigged ship, an apple blossom - despite my frustrating lack of ability to realistically render three-dimensional objects into two dimensions. I have two or three pieces of artwork that were produced during this period. They are sufficiently well done to elicit the approval of friends who can't draw at all but I would never show them to anyone who actually possesses any artistic talent.

It may be that writing is simply another one of these hobbies, except that I never studied writing, never planned any writing, don't bother working hard enough at it to cause my teeth to shatter and can't say if I ever produced anything worth the reading. I think of all my hobbies, it may be the one I do just because I like to do it. Perhaps that's more important than whether or not I do it very well.

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