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
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
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|