Like millions of other people, I've lost a hero from my youth. And although at one point he insisted that he was “Not Spock,” things that I’ve read by Leonard Nimoy himself and others tells me that much we feel drawn to in the character of Spock was informed by Nimoy’s own experience and understanding.
Much has been written about - and it’s not hard to figure out - why Spock was the most beloved of the Star Trek Characters. He was an outsider no matter what room he was in. He was vastly intelligent, yet that did not make him loved or popular. He carefully hid his emotions, including the pain of rejection. And ultimately he found, as many of us do, a family not of biology, but founded in a common interest - “to boldly go…”
I started down this line of thought early this morning, as I was thinking of and saying a prayer for a friend of mine who had recently experienced and suffered from neglect and rejection by her family for what must feel like the 10,000th time in her life. Vastly intelligent and creative, kind and nurturing, for whatever reason, to her family she is an outsider.
Many, if not most, of my friends share this feeling of being an outsider. We were not the cool kids in school. Some of us were brainy, some of us were awkward, some of us were artistic, most of us were lonely. We were the ones who were home on Friday nights to actually watch Star Trek.
As adults we have gravitated together. We have jobs where we put our intelligence to good use - although even there we’re perceived as freakishly brainy. We might still be awkward, but not as awkward as we thought we were in high school. We pursue hobbies that allow us to be and express ourselves, often to the puzzlement of others.
So how do I make this a blog about weaving?
A number of years ago I took a class from the incomparable Rita Buchanan - a wise, gentle, kind woman. She told a story about spinning and then weaving special fabric for a blouse. She went to the fabric store to buy buttons and found fabric made in China very similar to the fabric she had just painstakingly made by hand. Pouring her heart out to her sister, her sister said “Well you know, Rita, some people do buy clothes.”
This is the common experience of every spinner and weaver (and home sewer, too). Most people just buy it - they buy yarn, they buy fabric, they buy clothes. Those people view what we do as more than a little weird - we are outsiders. But by doing these things ourselves, are we making ourselves outsiders or are we expressing the outsider-ness that we already feel? I don’t know - maybe both.
Maybe we’re just doing it because, like climbing a mountain, it’s there and we just like doing it. And is weaving any weirder, really, than mountain climbing? Along the way we make friends. Not just spinning, weaving, sewing friends. You could call us "the tribe of people who make things we could just as well buy.” We are a subset of “the tribe who makes things.” Eventually, our connection stops being just about our common interests, and we start being family that cares for each other. Like the crew of the Enterprise, we don’t quite know where we’re going, or what will happen when we get there, but we’re going together and we’re already enjoying the trip.