Jennifer Hudak’s story “The Art of Unpicking Stitches” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 23 July 2021.
I wrote the first draft of this story the summer before my own daughter went to college. She was excited for the future but also desperately worried about her old friendships changing and perhaps even withering away. Her conflict really mirrored my own internal struggle to keep her safe and protected while also letting her take her first independent steps as an adult. Like Mish and her father, my daughter and I have a lot of the same interests and professional goals, which makes it even trickier for her to establish her own identity, and for me to let her forge her own path. Writing this story helped me work through my own feelings as a parent, but also reminded me what it was like to be on the cusp of adulthood, feeling like your life is about to change abruptly, and perhaps clinging a bit too tightly to the past.
The sewing came out of my desire to portray magic that’s associated with domestic arts. In addition to being a knitter, I’m a baker and a gardener, and I think there’s something incredibly powerful about creating something with your own hands that can go on to nourish or delight someone else. When I was Mish’s age, I thought that I could change the world in a big, dramatic fashion. Now I think that the biggest impact I have on the world is in the relationships I develop with individual people—my kids, my friends, my neighbors, my community. Those relationships are built on small, quiet moments of caring and nurturing, but they’re no less powerful for being subtle.
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