About Me:

About Me: I've been knitting since I got bored one summer in college and made a raglan sleeved rag-wool sweater that still almost fits. My favorite things to knit are Scandanavian colorwork and lace. I don't like to knit socks or sleeves. Some years ago, I completed the Level 1 Master Course with The Knitting Guild of America. That's as far as I got, but I did learn a lot and I recommend it highly.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thanks but I don't need any more material

For my memoir, that is.

It's November, and it's National Novel Writing Month.  NaNoWriMo (nan-o-ree-mo for those of you in the Midwest, and Naah-Noe-Rhy-Mo, perhaps, if you are in another part of the country, or Canada, except for Montreal*)

* If you live in Quebec, you are not allowed to enter the New Yorker cartoon caption contest, for reasons unknown to me.  Is it because you might write your entry in French?  What if you promise to enter an english language only caption?  Is humor really different up there in French Canada?

So anyway, I began anew a book called The Style Guide to Divorce.  I used some of the material I had pulled together for the actual "Style Guide" as a guide.  But then since the goal of NaNoWriMo is 50,000 fresh words, I had to create an actual new novel with that title out of previously unwritten words.

And so I began as if I were a character editor from the guide, but living her post-marital life and then getting inspired to write a guide for other people.  It was fairly meta, at first, and I couldn't figure out which was the real-time me, the character in the novel, or the character inside the character, the one that "Katie" would create to be a fictional editor of the guide.  But you have to keep writing whether you know the answer to that or not, and so I kept writing.  Eventually I ran through all the sections from the guide that I'd previously pulled together - spirituality, exercise, fashion, diet and re-invented the copy as an episode in "Katie's" life.  Pretty soon Katie was in therapy, talking through a lot of the information with her therapist, "Justine" and with her sassy friend "Shirley," and of course butting heads with her daughter "Zoey." 

That pretty much got me into Week 2, when I stared at the computer screen and ate a lot of brownies that I kept jumping up to bake when I couldn't handle that I didn't have any literary ideas to write down.  But then I had to come up with more new material, and then more after that.  And I had no "new" material, I just had all the stuff in my head about things that had happened to me.  Up until now, I thought they were boring and pathetic.  Now, they were a way to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month.

Funny, when I posted the initial description of my novel on the NaNoWriMo website, I called it a memoir.  Now I am trying it on for size, seeing if I can put down these various episodes without falling off a steep literary cliff into nothingness.

Now that I am into Week 3, and more than 30,000 words, I am encouraged.  And again, please folks, I don't need any more material.  I have enough trials and tribulations in my adult life to make up the remaining 20,000 words in the month, and even if I'm a little short, I've got a few doozies in my childhood that will fill in the gaps.  So please folks, here are a few tips.

My memoir attempts to lay out in a meaningful way about my personal challenges, the ones leading me to go to law school at the end of a marriage, then return to the same small town with the degree.  As you might imagine, things didn't all fall nicely back in place.  They got more complicated.

I've got people coming up to me saying "what are you doing here" - as if they'd have rather I'd not returned.  I've got people introducing me to others as "she used to be married to . . . . " even though I think there's probably a dozen nice ways to describe me without highlighting that."  I've had people just cut me out of plans, and conversations - which is a total sandbox ploy from grade school.  Enough folks, I've got enough material.  I don't need anymore.

Please stay tuned tho, for my NaNoWriMo progress.  In the middle of Week 2, I thought about not finishing, but now I'm interested to see what happens to my characters at the end of the novel, and perhaps even get a few readers.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Stupidest Craft Project Ever

Stop me before I craft again.  Behind me in a pile is something I am embarrassed to describe.  See, I moved into this new place and of course could no longer make my bed with a red paisley duvet cover I had used in the previous town.  However, I was cursed as a child by parents who didn't believe in throwing anything away if it still had some use in it.  And not just any old re-use on another day.  They were re-purpose-ers of old.  We're talking a kitchen cupboard just for scraps of tin foil and plastic margarine tubs for a rainy day.

But I digress.  The sheet I had used to make said duvet cover in the first place had an unfortunate stain right in the middle of it, possible for me to ignore, but shameful to pass off on the unsuspecting thrift store customer who might pick it up.  So I did what any insane (I am often called "creative") person would do in this situation:  I spent 45 minutes ripping out the seams and then tearing the sheet into a pile of inch-wide strips.  Then I stayed up until 2 a.m. watching episodes of "Call the Midwife" as I braided the strips into a 3-ply, and wound the whole thing on a spindle* [* See picture.  I have no idea what the original use for this item was, but we used to use it to wind up our electrical extension cords.  I think it's a spindle-type thing.]

Now fully invested in a project I no longer care about, I'm determined to make a god-dammed throw rug by sewing the plait with a big honkin' needle I've had lying around for years just waiting for its moment of fame and some white kitchen string.  We're heading out to Seattle, so I figure that gives me time to start and finish.  Wrong.  As I stitch what is supposed to be a coil, the braid twists and curls, making a very ugly basket or very possibly a perfect crazy lady hat.  Lie flat, I command the thing.  It refuses.  I consider stabbing myself with the needle.

I rail against my fate, and start over, making s-turns and hoping for a more rectangular outcome.  I am now about a third done with this attempt.  It is not at all satisfying.  And when it is done, it will have justly earned the title of Stupidest Craft Project Ever.

If you are reading this, and if you have ever been romantic about spending your time by the fireplace, making a braided rag rug - even dreaming that you might make more than one, becoming a vendor at craft fairs, reducing the size of the local landfill by recycling discarded t-shirts and bedding - heed my warning.  It is not a good idea.  You would be better served by reading a bad novel, writing one, or simply lying in bed covered by a stained duvet while you do either of the above.

Steek with the new dog, Boucle
Here is the final product.  Of course, there were last-minute problems.  The "square" rug became a triangle as I sewed it for the second time.  Somehow the braid just didn't wind back and forth as I imagined it would.  I ended up having to make short rows on the tapered sides and then wrapping it with the tail end of the braid.  It's no bigger than a doormat, but the dog likes it, so I'm done! I promise I won't do this again.  Back to knitting for me.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Caught My Eye

She is getting closer to knitting something!  For real now, not just saying that to be polite.  Actually picked up a copy of Interweave Knits yesterday and ogled the lace shawls.  Plus, Saturday saw an adorable set of baby roller derby accessories (pronounced:  axe- sessorie, not ass-sessry) - little hat, little booties, little elbow and knee pads.  Plus, earlier on that same Saturday ran into the daughter of a knitting friend of mine.  The planets are definitely aligning.

Something for summer, something like some cool lacey biking gloves, or something like that.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Nothing to Read

With the exception of the Zadie Smith novel On Beauty, I have nothing to read.  I am a voracious reader.  I read box labels and toothpaste tubes and subway advertisements, when there is a subway around (there's not).  There's nothing on Facebook, nothing on Jezebel, nothing on Slate, nothing on the NY Times or Chicago Tribune or any of the local papers.  Nothing on my Kindle, and the free Prime book of the month offers nothing interesting.

What to do, what to do. 


Friday, February 8, 2013

Thrown for a Loop

Turns out you can have a law degree and truly use your powers for good - just ask me.  I recently left a insurance law practice to help run a performing arts organization.  You don't want to know what kind of pay cut that involved, but it was a great opportunity that came about just when I was thinking, "now, what did I go to law school for again?"

Now, instead of feeling guilty when I'm not at work at 8:00, I wake up, do a little yoga, get some housework done, and stroll in around 10:00.  Now, instead of feeling guilty when I leave work at 6:00, I can be home by 5:30.  If I stay late to "work," I'm sitting in the audience watching some kind of awesome theater performance or concert, or maybe I'm mingling at intermission, chatting folks up over a glass of wine.  That's right, staying late or coming on on the weekend so I can hang out with nice people and watch a show.  I haven't had a nosebleed in three weeks.

And get this, the people who I "work" with, well, there will definitely be some drama, and some drama queens, but the nature of the work is essentially collaborative, not antagonistic.  That elephant hide I was advised to develop to help me survive for my previous life can now get tossed.  Around here, the more sensitive, the better.  People in fact think I'm the boring, left-brained one in the room.