Shaping the Cloth: Every Cut, Every Stitch
Shaping the Cloth: Every Cut, Every Stitch is a compelling memoir that follows Lianne's turbulent working class childhood from being raised in the midst of domestic violence and drug abuse to the discovery of her illegitimacy and all the good and bad in-between. It explores the dramatic moments that both scarred and healed her and celebrates the strength of the characters that raised her and the beautiful moments of being part of a large chaotic family and a tight knit community. It invites the reader to consider identity, how we are shaped by such things as memory, photographs, love and loss, proximity to others in DNA and nurture. Such universal questions invite the reader to ponder both the shaping of others and their own "becoming". It is emotionally charged with moments of heartache, pain and confusion, but balanced beautifully with humour and a narrative voice that is raw, honest and blunt and often poetic.
The thuds shook through the walls, through my bed. I sat up and tried to focus in the dim light of that time where morning and night have not quite exchanged roles of drowsiness for alertness.
My little sister sat up seconds after me.
‘What’s that?’ she asked, wide eyed.
‘I don’t know,’ I whispered, afraid to be heard by whatever was shaking our house.
The thuds came again. One, two, three. One, two, three. This time they were accompanied by a crashing sound, a stampede of footsteps and deep voices.
‘Hands up, hands up where I can see them.’ I didn’t recognise the voice that was commanding in the dark.
‘Fuck sake! I’ve got kids in bed. What you playing at?’ My dad’s voice was still gruff from sleep.
I heard someone coming up the stairs. I motioned for my sister to get in my bed and when she did, I pulled the covers up over our heads and held her shaking little body. We kept still, curled up, two balls of scared limbs, her little toenails poking into my leg.
‘Girls. Stay in your room.’ Mum swept through the door, white faced, crying baby in her arms and my brother and sister clinging to the belt of her dressing gown. Mum thrust them all into my bedroom, handed me the baby and turned to leave.
‘Mum, what’s happening?’ My voice wobbled.
‘Nothing, don’t worry, it’s okay. Just stay here. Keep these lot in here.’ And she left the room, shutting the door behind her.
I paced the room with my baby sister still crying in my arms and the rest of my siblings staring at me from my bed like hungry baby birds stare at their mother for a piece of the worm she carries. I had no worm to give them. They all huddled amongst my teddies.
‘Check the kitchen. Tipoff said the grill.’ I didn’t know that voice, but I knew what they’d find in the grill.