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.


Awhile back I started this blog-resolution (sort of) to write/research about spinning in America–hand-spindling, to be exact, but wheels would be fine, too. Now I’m officially saving up for a wheel and I’m uber-excited about that. Though it appears I’ve abandoned the idea, I haven’t; yes, I tend to flit from here to there, and I tend to pick up projects and abandon them as quickly as I did them in the first place. Which is quickly.

I’m still kicking around ideas fo research to do with spindling. I learn new things about the art of spinning everyday… it’s the researching the history part that isn’t exactly thrilling me right now. It’s kind of baffling that so little research/study/commentary exists. Well. Maybe not.

It’s the whole “Big H” vs. “little h” history thing. Because Man writes History (historically speaking), things like housework, of course, become petty things, things that don’t magnify Man–in the opinion of Man. How the sweaters of fishermen came to be, or how the bloody socks of the U.S. Revolutionary War were knit by hand by loving mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and lovers–it doesn’t matter. The fact that Man fought the sea and won, conquered fish and ate, fought bloody battles and defeated nations… well. I suppose that’s much more important, eh?

I think of it as a tapestry; we are all tiny threads, and when our lives weave together our singularity: weak, fine and extremely thin: becomes part of a greater whole: a dense fabric, strog and warm, full of rich colors portraying, perhaps, a story through the tapestry’s larger picture. When one sees a tapestry, one most likely does not focus on one thread, or even one small group of thread: one focuses on the thing in its entirety. We do that in our human lives when we look at the humans around us. We have preconceptions and misconceptions about other nations, other cultures; or even within our own cultures, we stereotype on many ends. Our worldview stems beyond looking at one color or one section of the tapestry; we examine this thread of sub-culture or that thread of culture and that thread of ethnic identity.

Fascinating. Really. All that to say, I’m workig on deciphering the threads of the spinning sub-culture, folks.

Er. Literature-Lane. Not “lit” as in the slang “lit.” Umph. I’m reading as much as possible now that I’m grad-school-bound. I mean, it occurs to me that I’m really not that well-read. I was talking to a good friend on the phone the other night; a friend who, though not graduate-bound is intelligent and well-read. Most of our book-related conversations are peppered with his mentionings of must-reads and classics, famous (to the literate) names and so on–and my responses are always “who’s that?” or “what?” (only sometimes because of cell-phone malfunction). Perhaps I can turn a passable phrase, but I cannot attest to having absorbed the works that (should) impact my writing. I’ve read blurbs and blips, but said friend suggested that I read before the June residency–a good suggestion. I would really hate to be one of the youngest students in the program and exemplify my naivete in not knowing much at all about writing-stuffs.

You see, when I first applied to Goddard, the director of admissions recommended I be prepared, at least, for a rejection, given my young age and the inherent lack of experience that accompanies our twenties. Early twenties, at that. I fearlessly applied anyway, and the director of admissions called to personally welcome me. I relayed this to said friend and after a lengthy discussion of his name-dropping and my refrains “who’s that?” and “what book is that?” and he so kindly said, “you might want to read–people who go to grad school will know these things.”

That may sound harsh. But it’s totally true, and I know B says this only with my best interests at heart. I mean. I already told Stephen Dobyns that I didn’t know who he was, but I was glad I met him… Yes. I said that. To Dobyns. To his face. *God. I’m such a tool.* I blush to think I said that at nineteen and I would hate, at twenty-three, that I would make a different, but equally embarrassing, literary faux pas.

GOD. “Reading” does not even exist in my listed categories of tags. ‘Nuf said.

That would be “Ay-va” not “ee-va” and she’s my new head. Er. For hats and such. I really like making hats. This should be a useful thing.


Also, I was accepted into the low-residency program at Goddard. That is very much exciting and I am thrilled… I am sure to have time to work on my writing now–because it is, you know, sort of mandatory.

If anyone has any suggestions toward the subject of spinning merino top, please let me know! I am quickly learning that a drop spindle could just as well be called a throw spindle when in my hands. Some fellow Ravelers were talking about this (well, they called it a “toss-spindle”–I’m not so kind to mine, maybe).

Spin, drop, spin, spin, drop, drop, drop.

They talk about finding a rhythm.

That would be my rhythm

(spin drop

drop spin…)

Syncopated for a little jazzy-snazzy variation on the theme.

I have come to the conclusion that learning to spin is not an endeavor for the faint of heart–in the sense that it takes much practice and much failure before one sees much improvement.

As for the writing: I am still doing that. I’ve given some thought to my fiction these past few days. Hours. Eh. Time is malleable. Oh, but the spin-subject plagues me. Right now, the subject could go so many different ways. If any of you dear readers have a particular burning curiosity that you would like me to follow up on, I’d appreciate any questions, comments, quips, quotes cares or concerns! (Ahem, Teabird, dear Ravelry friend… L, dear long-lost, hope-to-see-again-soon friend, my favorite commenters!!)

Here’s to hoping I can keep up with blondechicken’s April challenge…

blondechicken says,

I love challenges that force you to become more aware of these every day moments and how you spend them. Art Every Day, NaNoWriMo, NaKniSweMo: they all make you think about how you spend your time and how you can work a bit more art, writing and knitting into your daily habits.

I like this idea, too, and so I’m partaking–as a member of the rav-group and also in my everyday life. It’s going to be a great writerly challenge, too: if I can gather one blip of a fact, minimum, everyday in April–well, that should prove a bit helpful in my new spin-write whim, right??

So. Here’s my pledge: post the fact, or the lesson learned, everyday on the blog here. Post the picture of spinning progress here, on ravelry, as a twit-pic or else on Flickr. Oh. Yeah. And spin, spin, spin, too!

An interesting site

It’s all about the history of the spindle–how the “Great Wheel” came to be the “Great Wheel,” and how the drop spindle its self is thought to have come about. Information like this is fascinating–but where is the information about later histories? Social histories? I know it’s out there…

If you know of any resources, books, or what-nots…please let me know!

D recommended Knitting in America and a few others… I picked up Spinning the Old Way… we’ll see how helpful that is. Stay tuned… still researching!

Oh, and thanks to D for filling out the Spinner’s Questionnaire! That will be uber-super helpful… and thanks to those who have taken the poll… I’ve been simmering these ideas while I knit.

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