It’s always three months in the future in a craft store.

I let the doors hiss shut behind me yesterday and found myself staring Easter in the face. It’s January. It’s not even Valentine’s Day yet. But crafters operate on a different timeline than mere mortals. For example, I was there to scope out steampunk-able crafting materials for a convention in September. And when September itself rolls around, I’ll probably be sitting at the con working on my Christmas knitting. I start to panic about that in August, hoarding yarn against the inevitability that I’ve forgotten someone on my list.

By February, all the Valentine’s Day materials will be on sale. It’s too late for them, even though the holiday itself is still two weeks, ten days, a week away. 75% OFF the signs blare. There’s no more time for you. By then the rotating display in the front of the store will be well past Easter and on to summer picnics, Mason jars and paper straws and citronella candles. Bridal netting and strings of false pearls to be stitched onto on-sale satins for the inevitability of June.

Bitter

I’m sure there’s some buried metaphor here, the disturbance in the force I feel walking into this store in midwinter and passing through the aisles of green glitter waiting to be turned into something before Saint Patrick’s Day. The ever-onward press of time, one holiday chasing the next.

Living as an artist, whether you’re a crafter or a writer or a painter, means always feeling a little behind the deadlines you set for yourself. Even if no-one but you knows that the hat was meant to have more feathers but you ran out at 11:00 last night and Michaels was closed. Even if Mom and Dad are perfectly happy to see a package from Amazon.com show up instead of handknit socks because your #2 needles (I’m sure I had more sets) were still in the socks you hadn’t managed to knit for your spouse.

Yesterday it was Easter; by June it will be back to school and it’s not a matter of “where does the time go” but “why is it always too late before I start?”

I found what I came for; I priced it. Sent a quick text, with pictures because duh. And walked out of the store, feeling that sense of panicky dislocation slip and slide. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of time to make all this stuff before September. Heck. It’s not even April Fools’ Day yet.

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