Weaving my Web

There’s a spider who lives right outside our front door. We’ll call him Fred. And every morning we have to apologize to Fred as we dismantle his web because he has yet again woven it from the hedge on one side of the front path clear across to the other.

On occasion, in our usual desperate dash out of the door, we forget his presence and end up flapping around in a crazy dance, slapping our cheeks and flicking our hair around trying to dislodge Fred who we imagine is crawling up our necks.

But he just watches us from where he hangs by a thread to the destroyed remains of his nightly work.

What on earth does this have to do with writing?

Well, the thing is, he’s become a bit of a guru to me.

Mainly because he doesn’t charge much. But also because after every destruction, he takes a deep breath and he reweaves his web.

So I admire his resilience. (While also questioning the number of brain cells in his head. Why doesn’t he just reweave somewhere else, someplace that doesn’t become a runway 8 o’clock every weekday morning?)

But I do try and keep him in mind whenever I waver in my writing. Because some days I end up deleting more than I write, dismantling my own web with great efficiency. And on those days when I look at the mess I call my latest novel and wish to throw up my hands in despair I try and take a deep breath and think, What would Fred do?

And I gamely gather the broken gauze of my web and start at the beginning, waving my bottom around and producing just a little more silk.

photo by photoholic1 (flickr)


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11 responses to “Weaving my Web

  1. What a lovely post! I think Fred may well become quite a hero of mine – although I’d rather you kept him at your house.

  2. I love your description of the spiderweb dance! I hope my readers never feel the need to do that. . .

    Fred is an excellent example of how to keep on keeping on—I just axed five beloved pages this morning, funeral to be announced, so I needed to here this!

    Though if it’s all the same, I’m going to consider the bottom waving optional. There’s a limit to how much odd writerly behavior (as opposed to the other kind?) up with which my family will put.

  3. ninakillham

    Yes, I have to do most of my strange writerly behavior behind closed doors! Which helps of course when I’m really taking a nap!

  4. I feel more like a fly wrapped up in Fred’s web than like Fred. I’m flailing from trying to pull my writing projects off my face long enough to get a little perspective, let alone see the light of day. Thanks for the visual to help me put words to these feelings. I draw strength from your honesty.

  5. ninakillham

    Thanks, JoDee. I like the wrapped fly image!

  6. I became obsessed with a spider when I was writing When I Was Joe – her web was int he corner of the window, by a very big vine and she was always having to repair it when big leaves tore it apart. And then there were windy days when she rocked backwards and forwards.Loved her persistence and courage – in fact I refused to let anyone cut down the vine until she’d gone for fear they’d kill her.

  7. V. Kathryn Evans

    We all need a bit of Fred – thank you for sharing him.

  8. Lisa

    I think I have Fred’s distant New York cousin here near my front door – maybe I’ll be nicer to him now!

  9. I’m impressed you can weave with your bottom and I think I’ll take Fred as my muse.

  10. A wee story of Robert the Bruce comes to mind reading this. Very engaging. Thanks for Fred, Nina

  11. ninakillham

    Thanks, everyone, for the comments. Ah, yes, the bottom weaving. Taken me a long time to learn that skill!

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