The Carpe Diem Girls

So I met up with the girls last night. It’s been a long time, far too long, since the three of us were together. There’s such an energy there, I get giddy just thinking about it. There is something that hums inside of me, something that seems like it’s tangible when the three of us are together. It’s present regardless of our moods, our temperaments, or our circumstances.

In Lit class, we learned about the “True” woman and the “New” woman. Granted, this was early 19th Century, but it still loosely applies today. A true woman was comprised of purity, piety, domesticity, and submission. Sounds a bit patriarchal to me, but who am I to quibble with the source? It’s been a while since we’ve covered new womanhood, but what struck me most was that it wasn’t the antithesis of these qualities, but rather the choice to enact them as they choose them.

I was hit by an image of a quilt coming home from meeting the girls. One piece of cloth being stitched to another, some more closely and, as you get away from the first piece, some further away. The needle goes in, and it pinches; it goes out, and it’s pulled.

It seems to me that there’s a lot of pain involved in being one piece of cloth stitched to another. Pieces all over the place, assembled and patterned and cohesive. There is joy, too, in the creation of it. Quilting for quilting’s sake and the comaraderie that goes along with the making of it. When the quilt is finished, there’s the enjoyment of simply looking at it and certainly being surrounded by it. When the quilt is finished, it’s not just a warm piece of winter bedding or a decorative piece; it’s a story. It’s history and the recipe of a family’s life.

In the process of quilting, there’s choice. Choosing which needle, which thread, which piece goes with another. The lining, the backing, the filling. Room for a lot of error, but the intentional manner in which quilts are created smooth over any errors, cover any flaws. The flaws are still there, minimized, visible only to those who look for flaws. But it’s all intentional, all an active choice to create.

The girls and I were making plans. Talking choices. Should we do this or that? That or this? It was fun, giggly, silly and utterly enjoyable. We were talking about the things we will do immediately, and then into 2008. 2008 is the Carpe Diem year, I decided, rather arbitrarily, and we the Carpe Diem Girls.

We formed a club. I’m officially part of a club now.

I think that the image of the quilt struck me because we’re so interwoven. Despite appearances of differences and different stages in our life, we are together in a way I’ve never experienced before. I don’t remember meeting either of them, honestly. I know it had to be in 2005 or (in one case) after, but there seems to be no beginning to our friendship.

And I know that, no matter what 2008 or beyond brings, they are part of my quilt. In silence, in separation, in whatever, they are still a part of me, and I am, on a base level, merely a sum of my parts.

And my goal for this upcoming year, is to add to the quilt of my life. To consciously and actively seize patches and stitch them together.

I wonder where that will take me.


7 thoughts on “The Carpe Diem Girls”

  1. You go seize that day girls.

    Serious, I’m with you. There’s stuff out there that needs grabbing, and I think it needs to be grabbed.

    I love your quilting as community metaphor.

    We are bound together by an abundance of ties, sometimes painful, sometimes ramshackle, sometimes neat and tidy, and we stay together because of them, but also because we are part of a whole, the network is one of support as much as it is strain. We pull together even as we pull apart, and that way we get to be our own story within something grand.

    Or something.

    Merry Quiltmas everybody.


  2. Albaster: Merry Quiltmas, indeed. You took it further than I had, and am grateful for it.

    I’m awfully tempted to hug you, you know.

    Tobeme: Funny how class lectures can come together a few months after the fact and incorporated in a way that doesn’t really have a lot to do with the lecture. See: Zora Neale Hurston’s “Everyday Use” for the original quilt metaphor, although it’s about family in particular.

    My New Year is looking pretty promising so far.

    Bless you.


  3. Rock on! This reminds me about a quilt show that is at the South Shore Natural Science Center in Mass. I wrote this down as a goal to go see in 2008! I’ll have to find me some Carpe Diem Girls to go see it with me…


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