Friday, October 26, 2007

Ten Ways to Anger a Knitter

This was written by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in her book (based on her blog) Yarn Harlot. I decided I had to post it on my blog because I think DH has read this and is covertly doing all of these things at once.

1. Constantly refer to her work as a "cute hobby."

2. When the knitter shows you a Shetland shawl she knit from handspun yarn that took 264 hours of her life to produce and will be an heirloom that her great-great grandchildren will be wrapped in on the days of their birth, say, "I saw one just like this at Wal-Mart!"

3. On every journey you take with your knitter, make a point of driving by yarn shops but make sure you don't have time to stop. (This works especially well if there is a sale on.)

4. Shrink something.

5. Tell her that you don't know why she knits socks, that it seems silly when they are only $10 for five pairs and they're just as good.

6. Tell the knitter that you are sorry, but you really can't feel a difference between cashmere and acrylic.

7. Tell her that you aren't the sort of person who could learn to knit, since you can't "just sit there for hours."

8. Quietly take one out of every set of four double-pointed needles that she has and put them down the side of the couch. (You can't convince me that you aren't doing this already.)

9. If you are a child, grown faster than your knitter can knit. Requesting intricate sweaters and then refusing to wear them is also highly effective.

10. Try to ban knitting during TV time, because the clicking of the needles annoys you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What I Like and Don't Like About Writing

In class, we had a fastwrite prompt to respond to Philip Schultz's poem "What I Like and Don't Like"

Here's my fastwrite:

When I Write

I like being able to take of my shoes
And nurse a cup of coffee
That's not so strong that a spoon
Stands at attention within its bounds.

I like indistinguishable background noise but I also like silence.
I like classical music and even-keeled jazz.
I don't like lyrics because they pull focus,
And I don't like strong coffee because then I can't sit still.

I like being at home at my desk by the picture window overlooking the pond.

I like this style of pen.

I don't like the phone
But I can't bring myself to silence it.

I like to pace around the kitchen
Or empty the dishwasher
While the words germinate.
I like wandering into the dining room
And feeling the curved chairs
While thoughts percolate.

Padding in pajamas and slippers
Owning my own time.

I like deciding when to eat lunch
Even if it's 3 p.m.

I don't like rigidity,
Or when the computer freezes up.
I don't like spam but
I also don't like when the whole day drifts by
Without a single email from
family or friend.

I like smelling tomato sauce bubbling on the stove
As I aim to sum up my final line.

I hate the sound of my printer--
Too distracting.
I don't like TV during the day.

I like getting out,
Going for a run,
Tricking my mind into
Subconscious problem solving
By outrunning my thoughts.

I like browsing and meandering store aisles
Imagining what I would buy
With my imaginary advance.

Mostly, I like
Being alone with my thoughts--
the quiet that embraces me
as the pen scratches along.

Elie Wiesel

I heard Elie Wiesel speak a couple of nights ago at the Dayton Literary Peace Prize award presentation. As I expected, he was incredible. Very life-affirming.

He said that despite writing about hatred and those who hate, he never wants to perpetuate hate with his writing. He also said he naively believed, when first writing his book Night (which took ten years to write!), that writing it would usher in peace. He doesn't think he has yet succeeded because there are still human rights violations being committed around the world.

His mission now, Wiesel said, and he thinks this is the mission of all writers, is to bear witness and tell the stories because in the end, all that is left is the story. It is up to each of us to bear witness and write the story.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


It's Thursday, and I'm feeling "blah." Maybe because it is the end of vacation (we leave for Dayton tomorrow after having spent almost 10 days in Bonita Springs, FL) or maybe it is because I just found out that my summerlong work stint is coming to a close. Seems that the woman who supervises me and gives me assignments (and does so only because the one who decided to bring me in in the first place "voluntarily resigned" last month) spoke with her supervisor, who said that given the recent hiring of a new employee who functions both as copywriter and as proofreader, I should no longer plan on coming in "on a regular basis." I should instead view my work as an "as needed" basis.

I knew this moment was coming. The work isn't really what I care about so much--I mean, really, finding multiple synonyms for "beautiful" and "luxurious" isn't exactly brain surgery. It was having a purpose outside of the four walls of my home, away from my kids and my spouse. It was roaming the office cube farm and saying "hi" to co-workers and talking with grownups. It was only two days a week, and it might continue occasionally, but I can no longer "count on" this experience twice a week. Oh and the money was good. So that makes me a little sad.

I have already contacted an agency that is submitting my name for an editing/proofing job in Clifton (about an hour from my house), that's 10-20 hours a week but the time is flexible. The pay is a lot less (presumably because I'm sharing pay with the agency) and the subject matter is technical, but it's money and it's getting out of the house. It's not a "creative environment" and since my skills don't "exactly" match up, I'm not sure they'll even want me for it.

I need to breathe and go with the flow, and remember that being out of work for a couple weeks isn't devastating. I've been trying to find more time and energy to run and write for me, and this "pause" should give me that.

Gotta finish packing. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. Marc's right--I get too attached.