Thanks to the yoyo for letting me borrow her wheel! this is what came from it:
September 30, 2009
Thanks to the yoyo for letting me borrow her wheel! this is what came from it:
September 14, 2009
Like pens and knitting needles. I’m running because it would seem I’ve overextended myself, but it’s okay, because I’ve got an excellent support system.
After fiddling with my thesis, I have come to the conclusion that, for now, writing scenes in no particular order. That’s not usually how I “roll” (as the kids would say)–but it’s how I’m getting through this semester. Some things I’ve been reading, that you may like, too:
Ellen Gilchrist’s I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting With My Daddy is a moving collection of mostly connected short stories. Rhoda Manning narrates most of the stories–all the stories, whether having to do with Rhoda or not–are redeeming, hopeful and charming. I suggest reading it after the more depressing Strout to uplift the spirits that are sure to sink a bit upon the reading of Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge. Strout’s award-winning novel is well written, but I found it hard to follow at times. yeah, I get that Olive Kitteridge’s story is told from a bunch of people’s perspectives. Some of the stories are really great, too. My advice? If you’re a short story lover, like me, read it: think of it as a collection of stand-alones that happen to have some repeating roles in the stories. My favorite short was “Starving.” Just so you know.
Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina is a classic, some might say; and some may find it repulsive or too brash or, I don’t know, stereotypical. I found it to be none of these things. Well, Repulsive, in the sense that Bone leads a life full of tragedy–but Allison speaks the unspeakable with a clear, jaded voice of a young girl. She is not afraid to bring forth a flawed character and explore–and even celebrate–the flaw of humanity. Celebrate may not be the right word. But she shows that the will to live is a powerful thing, and that we can overcome so much: not because of faith, or even family–but we can overcome because it is the basest tenant of our hardwiring as humans.
I’ve been surfing the web between sentences here, so I’m sure my narrative is a bit disjointed. Apologies.
And about running with sharp objects: the sharpest object of all would be a word. Any word. Put them together, it’s a damned mighty sword… I’ve been running with a lot of words lately, and I’m learning that, when not handled well, they’re pretty weak (much like a butter knife). But when a word is sharp, and clear and solid: it’s like a well-polished sword. Now I just have to quit running with them before I impale myself.
September 6, 2009
Oh yeah… those pics of the sweater made with mismatched yarn:
nice save, self, nice save:
August 10, 2009
When I began the Kid’s Camp at the corporate employer the goal was to get kids to knit stuffed animals (remember those horrible little arugurumi creatures!?). Every bout of kids turns up total failure: not a single child has finished a project. I’d blame myself, but I refuse to take credit for this failure: expecting 6-year-olds to learn the cast-on, knit and bind-off, plus the single crochet in two 2 hour sessions (with a week’s span between the two sessions, no less!) is RI-DIC-ULOUS! But progress was made: my first session resulted in one child crying, another jamming her needles up her nose and another somehow ending up with a skein of yarn in an IMpossible lump of knots. I’m really ashamed of this, I assure you. The second group of students ended with one girl completing a solid half of an octopus, all mastered the knitted cast-on and 2 of the (five? I think?) managed to successfully knit a few rows. This last class seems pretty hopeless, but we’ll see how I salvage it tonight.
You see, children under ten, I find, cannot focus for two hours straight: their small bladders give way, their attention-spans work against them and their motor-skills, especially under the age of eight, are antagonizing. Over ten? Few problems. I firmly believe that if the camp ran, say, two weeks, with an hour everyday, I could get some results. My theory is, though, that when at the end of two hours arrives, the kids are frustrated, confused and feeling pretty crummy about their lack of results. The last thing they want to do is go home and practice immediately: which is what they need to do, to commit it to muscle memory. By the time week 2 with another 2 hour block arrives, we mostly review what we already learned. Inevitably there is one mother who insists her child should master all the skills required for a sweater, and inevitably some student thinks she deserves all my attention (it’s never the child correlating with the demanding mother, either).
I’ve learned from this:
July 25, 2009
i guess copy/paste really screws up formatting–though i DID try to fix it, I am not that smart, and my attempt failed😦
July 25, 2009
I never-ever-ever-ever–I can’t stress it enough: EVER post actual work of my fiction/poetry etc. for several reasons:
But I’m breaking my Never-Ever Rule and posting some here, for several reasons:
Please–let me know what you think: here’s an ever-so-short blip of something that will (hopefully) evolve into something much better (PoV issues certainly plague this little excerpt, and a lot of other big issues… but I’m mostly interested in thoughts about the little poetic diversion… but any thoughts are MORE than Welcome!!):
“I got cancer of the liver,” Violet said over dinner one night. Jenny had the strangest urge to laugh, but let it crumple in the back of her throat, wadding it up and stuffing it back down.
That was all Jenny said.
The man at the end of the table spoke, his voice ragged.
“When did they tell you?” He asked. This man, called Tam, didn’t know who they were, even as he said it. They. The proverbial they: all knowing and all seeing; it seemed a mundane way of saying that, when thinking of the collective, one rarely involved the inclusion of himself.
“I got three months, they say,” she said, ignoring Tam’s question.
“Aunt Vi?” Samantha asked. “Does this mean you’re gonna croak like Momma did?”
Samantha was seventeen; her thoughts were often out before her tongue could stop them. Usually, though, Samantha’s thoughts were the collective thought—only the insolent narcissism of youth dared to speak so honestly.
“Of course,” Aunt Vi said, grimly nonchalant. Her eyes were flat brown and didn’t show the slightest emotion. She smiled then, and said, “Dessert, anyone?”
Her smile didn’t reach her eyes, but her hands reached for the pie plate; she had baked a cherry pie especially in honor of her announcement, though no one had known why Violet had been so insistent on fixing such an elaborate dinner of fried chicken, collards, mashed potatoes and, finally, the cherry pie. Everyone assumed it was one of Vi’s many whims.
No one ate much, except a few polite bites; Vi ate greedily, though, shoving bite after bite into her mouth. She never said another word, but let the still warm cherry pie push any words she might have wanted to say down into her belly. She finished two pieces of pie and pushed herself back from the table.
“I best get on to bed,” she said. “Cancer—it wears on a body, you know.”
“Aunt Vi?” Samantha asked again.
“Yes dear?” Vi asked finally when Samantha sat still, not asking anything.
“I don’t know. I guess… goodnight.”
“Yes, of course,” Vi said: calmly, matter-of-factly: goodnight.
Violet shuffled from the room, her steps heavier the further she got from the table; the three left around the table could hear her muttering, though they couldn’t tell what. Jenny, Tam and Samantha exchanged glances; it was Tam who broke the silence.
“Jenny, you go rest; Sam and I will see to the cleaning.”
“We will?” Samantha asked.
“Of course,” Tam said with a wry but tired grin. He reached out to tousle her hair. She dodged his hand and stood up quickly.
“Y’all can clean the damned table. I’m going for a walk,” she said. She left so quickly that her chair rocked back as she clumsily brushed past it.
“I don’t think she took to Vi’s announcement too good,” Jenny said. She wiped her hands on the front of her dress, the one sign of nervous energy that Tam observed, but then began picking up plates as methodically and steadily as any waitress working a mundane shift might.
We jump into dreams, as into days. We flatter ourselves to think it’s only one more: one more thought,
one more moment to be held and let go.
Into dreams we let ourselves fall, like logs dropped into fire.
Into dreams we jump, headfirst, to quench thirsty smiles.
Tam had jumped into dreams, into days, into moments and fires and rivers. He had seen others do these things, too.
His mother, into days,
Sunny: into Fire.
Bitsy: into a river.
Maybe it was he who jumped into dreams.
July 16, 2009
I am making a sweater (pics later, I’m sure). It’s made out of the clearance yarn from J’s, and though I decided I am not thrilled with the yarn, I’m certainly not going to end my endeavors 80% through the process. You see, I have a sleeve and a half done and the front and back. I have only the yoke and collar left to do, so you can imagine my panic when I discovered I would be about two skeins short.
J’s closes at nine. My discovery was made at 8.02 pm. So. My live-in baby-sitter (thanks mom!) agreed I MUST attack the sale bins to finish the project before others snatched up the $1.97 purple skeins. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to continue on that same night, which was the plan; into the car i jumped and out I went on my way. One red light. Two red lights. Green, Green, Green. I got there at approximately 8.40 pm. I glided through the store to the ridiculously cheap sale bins; funny, I thought, could have sworn that I’d gotten all the lavender … but here they are…. I counted: 14 skeins! I took eight, made my way to the front to check out, thrilled to be able to finish the sweater with virtually no crises.
I got home, pulled out the balls and found, when placed next to my sleeve-in-progress, that yes, my first thought was right: there was no lavender left in the bin. Oh, but there was plenty of light blue. Fourteen skeins of light blue, in fact–eight of which now reside in my room.
The only pic I do have is of the new mitten, whose mate will be begun this weekend:
I have some ideas as to how to save the sweater…pictures and updates to follow.