My first memories are of my mother singing as she worked backbreaking labour to make cloth and clothes, a living for her brood. She tended sheep for wool. Worked in the fields for cotton and flax. Studied by candlelight; nimble fingers at the spindle or loom, on the best plants for true dyes, or how to operate hothouses for silkworms.
Naturally, I picked the skills up with the normal walking, talking and growing. By my eight summer, I was the second best seamstress in The Nine Villages.
Mother decided she had nothing more to teach, so she set about searching for an apprenticeship. Tenacious and fearless she worked every wealthy customer she’d ever had, until an Dutch fashion house replied they had an opening.
Preparations ensued. Train and boat timetables studied with regards to the harvest, then tickets procured. New clothes measured and sown. A new trunk, valise and writing desk bought. A hat, I never wore a hat before.
As summer became autumn, harvest took every waking hour. There where cotton to pick, flax to beat until soft, and of course potatoes, carrots, turnips to dig up. Every night I fell into an tiered stupor only to dream of big steam engines, even bigger boats, a big city filled with canals and worldly people. All the things I, who haven’t been anyplace but The Nine Villages, where soon to experience.
Then awoke to mothers breakfast litany of “…always remember to measure twice, both consumer and pattern, before ever cutting cloth”
When the harvest moon rose full over the henge. The villages gathered to celebrate. Big bonfires, trestle tables laden with food, cakes and sweets. Barrels of ale and cider. The grateful evocation to the Goddess for Her Plentiful Bounty. And I had one last familiar tradition before departure.
I’ve never participated in a writer’s workshop. So it’s a bit of butterflies, but mostly anticipation to grow and learn.
Writer’s Workshop I prompt: Use the prompt “measure twice, cut once” to inspire a short story, 150-300 words long, fiction (any genre) or nonfiction allowed. Your response should be in first/second draft form. Don’t worry about putting that final polish on it. We will be working on it throughout the month.