The other day I was watching a PBS documentary entitled Craft in America. It showcased the talented crafts folk who were preserving and even reviving a wide variety of crafts that in modern times have been overwhelmed by the monotony of automation. I was particularly enthralled by a weaver in California named Jim Bassler. Weaving itself doesn’t interest me. What attracted my attention was his attitude toward his craft. The greatest value of his art was the process, not the final product. He enjoyed the intricacies of weaving. While the actual textile was the focus, he wasn’t in a hurry to finish it. That approach freed him to produce incredible textiles. He could take his time to experiment and perfect his technique without feeling the stress of a deadline.
I found this perspective surprising and liberating. I don’t write for a living. As things progress it appears as though I never will. Perhaps I should refocus my craft, enjoying the process and worrying less about the completion. The more I think about it, the more I’m drawn to the idea. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that my best work would be produced when I’m at my most passionate and at ease? Writing becomes less of a commodity and more of a craft. Once it reaches that point, each story becomes a work of art. That is when writing becomes meaningful.