Truthfully? I did practically nothing, and it was glorious. I listened to James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series while I knit sweaters for my grandchildren. I finished a couple of knitting projects for Camp Loopy, my only deadlines all summer.
I puttered around the house, sorting out drawers and cupboards, which turned out to be kind of magical. Sorting things has always helped me puzzle out a problem, and I had a big one. I didn't want to quilt any more.
It's been a while since I've been excited about creating a quilt. It had truly become a job, nothing more than a series of deadlines. I made quilts because people asked me to. I felt that all of my creativity had been drained by the mechanical process of making designs to sell patterns, magazines and books. It was a carousel I wanted desperately to get off of.
Add in that I'm at a crossroads in my life. We've made all our contributions to our childrens' college education. Three of the four have graduated, and the youngest (who is taking the scenic route to adulthood) has to decide where he's going next. In short, it means that I've met my obligations to the family: my quilting career was launched, in part, as a means to help get our boys through college.
While I adore teaching (and feel that's really where my talent lies), travel has become an ordeal. It's been a long time since the skies were friendly.
Anyway, I don't want to get all whiny here. I understand that I have one of the coolest jobs ever. It combines all my strengths: working out problems, writing, teaching. It is like this job was tailor made for me. But I felt all empty inside.
So, I did something I have rarely done before. I went on vacation. I left the studio, just walked away from ongoing projects. It was hard, really hard at first. As my friends continually remind me, I think all the time, and it was difficult to stop thinking in terms of deadlines. The "shoulds" nearly drowned me. I vowed to stay out of the studio until I really wanted to be there. It took more time than I allotted, which was just as silly as insisting a bone heal on my schedule. I truly considered that it might be time to find a new path in life.
The fog finally lifted about three days ago. I realized that the new book I am working on has NO deadlines, it hasn't even been accepted by the publisher yet. My self-imposed break neck schedule was just stupid, and was definitely sucking all the joy out of the projects. It dawned on me that I only have three more teaching trips this year, and my schedule is lighter next year. At last I felt that I had full control of where I was going, even without knowing how I would get there.
We can be so hard on ourselves, I am a merciless judge. It takes quiet time to reevaluate our direction, to consider the well-worn path, or breaking a new trail. I'm happy to finally return to my studio, with the added bonus of tidied closets.