Monday, September 17, 2007

A Day of Sad Tidings

I just logged in to Google Reader to find not one, but two blog posts about a sad event that has been slowly approaching.

I knew James Rigney, better known to most of us as Robert Jordan, was battling cancer, and that it was a rare and rather deadly form of cancer. So I am not too surprised to find that he died yesterday, at 2:45 pm.

Warning, there are Spoilers ahead...

I started reading Robert Jordan's books at age 10...I picked up the first 18 chapters of the first book of the Wheel of Time series, The Eye of the World, as a free give away at the Encore Books in Closter. Which is now a Starbucks. My grandfather had taken us there so I could stock up on Babysitter Club books and other kids books before going on vacation to Maine with my dad's family. I read those chapters while in Maine...I read the part where Rand is carrying a wounded Tam through the woods of the Two Rivers, desperately trying to back to Emond's Field, to get his father to the Wisdom, as Trollocs ravaged the surrounding countryside, while in the main lodge of the fishing camp we were staying at. I then had to walk back through the dark woods at night to get back to our cabin on the lake. It was deliciously creepy. I didn't pursue the series until I was 13 or 14, and I picked up The Great Hunt, and then the Eye of the World, in Tower Records. Very soon after, I was googling everything I could find about the Wheel of Time on the internet--except no one knew what Google was back then. I think I was using Yahoo! or Excite. Anyway. I found the archives of the Usenet group devoted to Robert Jordan, and started lurking...the Lord of Chaos was the last book to be released (the first three books are the tightest and best written, but I think Lord of Chaos is my favorite) and Usenet was swamped with questions about "Who Killed Asmodean?" And then there was a little post by someone with the username "Aman A'vron" who was recruiting for a new message board system for the Wheel of Time. I didn't quite understand what role playing was at the time, but I checked out the Tripod based web pages, and whatever primitive forum was up, and started my first character.

I spent most of high school and college at the White Tower Online, and made some fantastic friends. We had something great, and it's all because of the Wheel of Time, no matter how badly the last 5 books have sucked. I don't keep in touch with enough you. I miss you all.

x-posted to my other blog.

Friday, September 7, 2007

In which the knittin', writtin' fool has hopefully learned something

My friend and I were having a conversation a while back, and it made me want very much to immediately sit down and write a blog post. I didn't, however (I think I went to bed), but the idea has been bouncing around inside my skull for the last few weeks, so we here we go.

I've seen a lot of trepidation from knitters in various internet watering holes who feel like they can't try new things. Some of these "beginners" have been knitting well past the point when I would consider them such, some have knit fairly advanced things. My aunt, for instance, saw me knitting cables on my Central Park Hoodie while we were on vacation this past July. She was knitting last July when we were on vacation, so she's been knitting at least a year. She said, "Oh, you're much braver than I am!" The knitters I am referring to seem to develop some sort of mental block about something being "hard." Whether or not it is actually hard or not is beside the point.

I tend to feel frustration towards this attitude, because I just. don't. get it. When push comes to shove, it's sticks and some string. Maybe it's 2 sticks, or 4/5 sticks, or 1 stick that is connected by a bendy tube. Maybe it's really fancy string that was pretty expensive. But part of the beauty of knitting is that it is loops, pulled through other loops. If you make a mistake, you just tug on it, and the offending loop is now an unoffensive straight bit of string! No harm, no foul. Sure, sometimes you lose many loops to a mistake, even rows of them. And it may have taken you a long time to make those loops, and it will take you a long time to make them again. But, if you make a mistake, it's not an irredeemable. (In fact, if you make a mistake, chances are most people won't notice. Or you could call it a design feature.)

So, my frustration is that people are afraid to branch out in their knitting, to take chances. is that any different from me and my writing? Have I submitted any of my poems to any journals? (One, and it was for a college publication.) Do I ever sit down and force myself to write? No, I whine and think how I wish I was writing more. The hypocrisy bothers me. Knitting is pulling loops through loops. Writing is put letters, words, and punctuation into an order that makes sense. If I write something that isn't good, it isn't the end of the world. I can hit backspace to fix mistakes. I can edit and rework a draft (and frankly, if it's saved in Word, that's a lot easier than dropping a stitch down a few rows to fix a mistake and then pulling it back up.)

A knitter is someone who knits. A writer is someone who writes. I'm a knitter. I want to be a writer. The only way to be a writer is to start writing.

So...wish me luck.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Dream Swatch

I have many things to discuss here, but instead, I have FO pics!

This is the Dream Swatch, fairly heavily modified.

I did 3 repeats instead of 4. I wrapped the yarn 4 times instead of 3. And I made it just big enough for my head, and seamed it up into a circle. The yarn is one of the KH colorways from Blackthorne Fibers.

And apparently, it's fall. The students are back, that fall feel is in the air, it gets dark early, and the leaves

have started changing colors.