There’s been a long period where I haven’t written anything. During this time, instead of writing, I needed something else to occupy myself and so I took up crocheting. With my hook and starter’s cone I crocheted first rugs, mats, scarves, blankets, and then moved on to more difficult tasks like sweaters, hats, even a pair of mittens, though I have to admit that the pair didn’t work out and I ended up undoing all of the yarn. Crocheting is a relatively simple, though time-consuming task. All one really needs is their tube and their hook (to begin), as well as lots of yarn, of course. I don’t doubt that somewhere in this world there are people for whom crocheting is a challenge because they practice it in such a way that it requires a large amount of expertise. At no time during my crocheting did I ever aspire to be one of these people: principally, I did it to keep my hands busy. My wife thought my new hobby odd, but no less odd than others I’ve had: beekeeping, parkour, letters, tennis. She thought it was funny to walk in on me in the middle of a project and to pretend like she was going to yank it out of my hands.
I will admit that crocheting taught me certain things: first, it taught me patience, the ability to trust that what looks at first like a tangled mess might eventually turn, with diligence, precision, into something like the mental image in your head. Crocheting also taught me that what is made can be unmade. But, most importantly, what crocheting taught me was that the work one does is individual, that aside from the final product, there is something in the work itself that is valuable. We gave away all the rugs, mats, scarves and sweaters that I made, and I don’t doubt that much of it has found its way to secondhand stores or to the landfill. But the experience of crocheting—which I’ve since abandoned—remains not in those discarded remnants but in the pleasure that I find now that I’ve returned to writing.