What’s your BEESWAX?

IMG_1932As a sixth grader, my son is taking a mini-course in home economics. For the sewing component, he hand-stitched a simple felt pocket with a button loop to hang in his locker. He completed most of the “locker dangler” at school, but needed to finish the final step – sewing on the button- at home. After rummaging through my button box for a “funky” button, he was ready to get started.

I’m no seamstress, but I’ve sewn on buttons before. I’ve also hand-stitched doll quilts and sewn on my fair share of Boy Scout patches. So, in a knowing “I’ve done this before” tone of voice, I suggested that he double up his thread so it wouldn’t slip off the needle, but not make it too long, lest it get all twisty and knotted. This sometimes happens to me, and it’s a nuisance, requiring that I back up or start that section over.

My son, however, was resolute. “I’m supposed to do this by myself,” he explained. “And I know what to do.” Then, with remarkable skill, he threaded the needle, doubled up his strand and tied a tidy knot.  Finally, peering into my sewing kit he asked, “Where’s the beeswax?”

“The what?” I asked.

He looked at me incredulously. “You know, the beeswax.”  I didn’t know, but now I do, and I think my days of knotted thread might finally be over!  For, as every REAL seamstress knows, a coating of beeswax quickly applied to the thread, not only strengthens and bonds the double strand, it also makes it slippery so the stitches glide knot-free through the fabric.

Sometimes, like thread, my writing feels tight and knotty. The words don’t flow at all.  What I could really use is a little beeswax for my pen, or maybe even for my mind, to loosen me up and get those words gliding.

Thankfully, I think I’m a better writer than a seamstress. Here’s my writerly beeswax: I begin each writing session with 5 minutes (or more if I’m having fun) of just playing with words.  Somedays I’ll free write something that’s on my mind. Other days I’ll open with quick hand written list of, say, all the words that rhyme with shoe, or all the different ways a penny could get lost. Often that’s all I need to get me going.

How about you? What’s your BEESWAX?

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14 thoughts on “What’s your BEESWAX?

  1. I’ve never heard of beeswax used in that way either. (I don’t sew.) But I’ll have to remember that trick! I like your prewriting ideas!

  2. Hi all and I’m glad you have discovered the many wonders of Beeswax, sometimes it’s the simple things that make life easier! I also think it’s GREAT that a 6th grader started your Beeswax Quest .. we’re never to old to be taught by the young .. If you don’t have Beeswax, you can also use surfboard wax or a anti-static cling dryer sheet. Rock on my sisters and brothers in knot free sewing!

  3. “I’m supposed to do this myself…”
    Love this boy.
    As to bee’s wax for a lubricant, never used it. So like you I won’t call myself a seamstress. But your analogy to getting the engine revved-up for a writerly ride, I have my routine also. Mine involves shutting off all word-noise (radio, conversation, and the like) and after about fifteen minutes letting my mind come up with all sorts of sentences.
    A la cooking spaghetti, something suddenly sticks. Whole stories have materialized this way.

  4. Great analogy, Laura! Loved the post. I often freeze-up when it comes to writing and should try short writing exercises like you listed to loosen things up. I’m usually fine once I get going, it’s just to start. 🙂

  5. Love it! I had no idea…beeswax, no kidding. I like to play around with my Thesaurus apps for fun and to allow my brain to loosen when I’m wound tight and stumped. Have you tried Wordflex? It’s the priciest app I’ve ever purchased ($12) but worth it for its beeswax-like benefits. So how did that locker sewing project turn out?

  6. Hi Laura. I wanted to pop in and say Hi! I thought I had your posts coming to my Inbox…but obviously, I don’t. (I do now, though…I signed up.) I followed you over here from Carrie Finson’s post with Gayle today! I’m a stalker, I guess. I like your Beeswax sharing! I looked at a video on that app your friend suggested…WOW!!! I may have to purchase it.

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