Years ago, I made an afghan for my step-mother. I took care to match the colors of her room and get the right size for the bed. Only, I hadn’t mastered crocheting and the cover ended up much too big. It reached the floor from one side of the queen-size bed to the other. But I was proud of it, and I had this silly idea that spending so much time on a gift for her would finally prove to my father that I liked her.
About a month after I gave her the afghan (that took an entire suitcase on my flight home for Christmas vacation), they redecorated the bedroom and the colors no longer matched. I didn’t see the thing for a very long time, until about 10 years later when it was used to cover up flowers during a freeze. We’ve certainly never discussed it.
I’d like to be Zen about it. When you give a gift, give it. Let it go. They’ll like it. Or they won’t. It isn’t about you. The gift is just a thing. And don’t we all get gifts we hate from people we love? Sure.
But every gift-giving occasion makes me want to ram my head into the steering wheel of my car.
So, my writing is reminding me a bit of this afghan business. I send these stories into the world, and, you know, it just doesn’t match the wallpaper. What are you going to do? Are you really going to ask someone to keep something out for company to see to make you feel better?
I like this old British comedy The Thin Blue Line. A rather dim character blames juvenile delinquency on fridge magnets. He argues that parents put the worst sort of scribblings on the fridge with the magnets and ooo and ah over the so-called art, leading the child to expect such a response to everything they do. Maybe there is some truth to that… though I’d like to see the fridge magnet that could hold up my novel!
Oh well. Watch the first part of this clip. Every writer should appreciate the appropriate subjects for fiction.