The Patchwork Quilt


At the moment working on my PhD feels like making a patchwork quilt. I keep finding interesting bits of material here, there and everywhere. I bring them together, move them around, select and reject. Sometimes the pattern is organised, sometimes it’s eclectic. I stitch together my ideas into sections, praying that nearer the end of the project the sections will all fit together. Will all these patches come together into the whole which is more than just the sum of their parts?

My patches include: memory, history of dementia, life experience, characters, situations, literary theory, narratology, Facebook, experiments, linking squares, tradition.

Writing fiction based on life experience is like sewing together patches of old and new material. What will happen when I wash the quilt? Will the different fabrics pucker up, showing the joins?

There are so many different patchwork patterns in the world. In the same way there are endless ways of telling this story. How do I choose the right one? Am I fated to write this story for the rest of my life, trying out every possible form and structure?

Now I’m thinking about the shape of the patches: triangles—make me think of the Rescue Triangle with its Persecutor, Victim and Rescuer. Other triangles are Parent, Child, Adult. There is a collectors’ magazine on a TV advert that claims to teach you how to produce a beautiful patchwork quilt. The quilt shown is built up of triangle shapes but the actress is shown sewing squares together! I want to choose the best shapes for my tale.

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2 thoughts on “The Patchwork Quilt

  1. I think that, as in patchwork quilts, you will find connections and different sections blending into each other. And, again, like patchwork quilts, there is no one way to tell your story. This could be liberating – or simply overwhelming, spoilt for choice and unable to decide. Hopefully you will feel liberated.

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