A Compromise 

I’ve been feeling wistful about not getting in on the homemade mask-making movement. I’m a pretty crafty person, so much so that my craft supplies have spilled out of my craft room and into the dining room. I don’t have elastic, but I have a very nice sewing machine. I have fabric. Boy, do I have fabric. My friend and poet, Christine, got me hooked on batik fabrics years ago, and that’s basically all I buy. Except I have hit the brakes on buying anymore fabric for the last couple of years. I need to start using what I have before I add to my stash.

Despite having most of what is needed to make the masks, I have been reluctant to uncover the machine and get sewing. This is because I have edits to do. If I pull out the sewing machine and start ironing, measuring, and cutting fabric, it will take over my dining room table. And this is the place where I research and write. 

I received a beautiful letter from my editor regarding the first round of edits for my book proposal. I received it over two weeks ago. I still haven’t touched the edited draft. I’m procrastinating enough without starting on another big project.

Still, I am longing to make a contribution to our essential workers out there. I sense that this longing is contributing to my procrastination. So today, on social media, I think I found the perfect compromise. I saw a simple pattern and video demonstrating how to make a crocheted gadget that allows those wearing face masks to hook the elastic onto buttons on the gadget rather than around their ears. The point is that the elastic on the masks will no longer rub their ears raw. Being the crafty bitch that I am, I immediately thought, “I can do this!”

Still, I am longing to make a

contribution to our essential


- Margaret Healy

Here is my plan. I will treat myself to making the crocheted gizmos during breaks between editing. The crocheting will be soothingly repetitive, it will be productive, and it will give me the opportunity to ponder word choices for my proposal edits. After creating something useful, I will feel fulfilled enough to spend time with the book proposal; when I need a break from editing, I can return to making a contribution of crocheted gizmos. 

This plan sounds workable for me. I will start in on it and let you know how it goes. I’ve already practiced crocheting and was able to make five bases for the gadgets in less than an hour. Plus, I get to shop for buttons. (Good grief, another craft item to collect!)

You know, it just became clear to me that part of my delaying my edits is that I am anxious about it. I’m worried that it’s going to be hard. I’m worried that I won’t be able to live up to what’s been requested of me. No wonder I am so excited about crocheting again; it will provide comfort to me as I anxiously re-approach my book proposal. It’s a freakin’ coping mechanism!

I’m glad I’ve made a deal with myself to both help out my healthcare co-workers, and also help myself through the editing of my proposal. Yet, I am aware that not everyone is up for sewing, crocheting or otherwise starting a project at home. Some of us are having a hard enough time getting through the days of quarantine without massive fear and anxiety. Some of us are up to our eyeballs with frustration at being indoors so much. Perhaps we need a break from family, yet we have no privacy. I want to express that if you’re not up to making masks or other gizmos for essential workers, that’s okay. It’s okay just to work on coping skills. It’s okay to nap. It’s okay to read. It’s okay to not put pressure on yourself to not be productive. You are enough, just the way you are.

I hope you continue to be safe and healthy. Thank you for stopping by.


Mari - 4.8.2020