Inspiration arrives in the most unexpected places. This past week, one of my closest friends from college berated me for not having read Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. I decided to pick it up at the local used book storebecause he said it was "life changing," and I, for one, am always looking to be changed.
The Alchemist is full of gems and teachable moments, but the one that stuck with me the most was one from the beginning of The Shepherd's journey to find his treasure. After talking with a palm reader and feeling more confused than ever, the Shepherd is sitting with a book and a bottle of wine and contemplating his two paths. He can either stick with the one he knows, the path that will lead him to the love of his life, or, he can hop a boat to Africa.
While thinking about this, he is approached by an old man who he assumes is homeless. The man asks for a drink, wants to look at his book, and tries to chat, but the Shepherd is completely disinterested. Until this one moment, when the old man bends over and writes some things in the sand: the names of the boy’s mother and father, the name of the school he had attended, and the name of his lover. The boy is shocked and suddenly realizes that this old man he'd been trying to dismiss for the better part of thirty minutes is actually some kind of signpost, guiding him in the direction he needs to be heading. This old man has some things to teach him.
Silvia Heyden revealed herself to me in a similar way, except that I was sitting behind a 30 year-old floor loom, losing my mind over how difficult the machine was being. I was even more terrified by how little patience I seemed to be able to muster. While waiting for my weaving mentor to appear and solve all my problems, I noticed a gigantic stack of old Fiber Arts Magazines that were piled on a shelf behind my loom.