Saturday, November 29, 2008

Come and meet some friends

I always thought it must be cool to make chicken stock or even roast a chicken, so last fall I pestered a lot of people with questions and went for it.

I used this recipe for the stock, and now I am HOOKED. No store-bought stock tastes nearly as nice, no matter what you do with the soup you make from it, and you can either keep it in the 'frig for a week as a base for different soups when trying to detox from daily chocolate. Or you can make one huge batch and freeze it in smaller servings. This is a lifesaver when you're suddenly struck down by a cold. I of course am both detoxing and cold-stricken - still! - so the stock will stay in the 'frig.

The amount of stock you get after skimming off all the fat is exactly right to fit into size two of this container, which also does a good job of keeping it fresh. When I bought that container I also bought this one, which I had to clear off the drainer this morning to make space for skimming stock. I use it to keep veg in, but you can store yarn in it and feed the strands you're working through one of the two freshness tabs... something that suddenly seems extremely logical. Even irresistable. And now if you'll excuse me...

Friday, November 28, 2008

This week's obsession

Okay, are you sitting down? It's related to knitting! I know, I know, isn't it amazing? I bet you so did not see that coming.

While my friends on the other side of the border shop till they drop, I'm on day one of Christmas Knit Madness, with three projects on the go, one of which I'm hoping will be done by suppertime. All three are pretty simple to do, but still, the patterns were made up by me, and I'm doing the same for at least two more presents, too.

And I'm thinking, why not keep track of what I'm doing and share the patterns on Ravelry, so other people can whip up their own in time for Christmas? So far I haven't been able to think of a good reason beyond "they're nice enough ideas but an experienced knitter could figure these out in about twenty minutes", and the counter to that is, "why not save other knitters the twenty minutes?" So now I'm obsessed. I may not be writing any good stories for the next four weeks or so, but I can't wait to write some good patterns.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Things I'm thankful for

I had my official turkey day in October, but I can never say no to a good old-fashioned blessings tally. So, beyond food, shelter, and social ties:

hot honey and lemon for colds
the popularity, and consequent availability, of slipper socks
being able to shop by mail and phone
the fact that my summer flowerpots are hard to see in the shrubbery
my Blundstone boots (and especially their Birkenstock insoles)
not being devastated when my most special nonfiction piece bombed
having chocolate in the house at the time anyway
being on time, most of the time
all the creative ideas in my head and
finally, enjoying knitting again.

Happy Thanksgiving, on both sides of the border!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Let's shed a little light on this affair

... as my father used to say, every time he found me in the living room poring over a book in the dusky light from the window, and reached to turn on a lamp.

It's only Wednesday and I think I already finished the hard work on both of this week's submissions. Once I've proofread and made minor adjustments I can probably release them to the winds, and get down to business. Knitting business, of course. I made a list yesterday of everybody I want to make something for and when the gasping and heart-clenching was over I decided I really can pull it off if I'm quick about it, which makes having the stories finished even better news.

It's a little daunting to think of not writing any more between now and maybe January, though realistically I won't have time to worry about it. What if I dry up? What if I get rusty? I've decided to look on the bright side, at all the stories that may be percolating in private, ready to rush out onto the keyboard the minute I've put the last of the turkey stock into the freezer. And the best news of all is that for the first time in months, I was able to look at my nearly-finished novel and not shudder with aversion. I was able to stick with a whole chapter and bring in entirely new perspectives that I can carry through to the next one. Merry Christmas to me!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More of the dark is rising

MAN, no sooner do I sink back into Susan Cooper's epic YA series than my other favourite dark thing - Mars Dark chocolate bars - make a comeback. I'm so excited!

And still sick, amazingly. All the water and hot-honey-with-lemon I've been drinking and the pears and apples I've been eating, while doing nothing to level out the chocolate-related calories with which I have been comforting myself, have swept away the worst of the symptoms but I'm still stuffed up and coughing. A lot. Nobody wants to be around me, basically, I'm coughing so much. I don't even want to be around me. I just hope my ribs stay put because the last time I was sick like this, one tried to escape and my esteemed chiropractor had to put it back.

On the bright side, I'm enjoying all these throwbacks to childhood sickness. Lying around, reading adventure stories, being intermittently pampered--it's such a nice nostalgic start to the holiday season. And the compensation for being what passes for an adult? the chocolate, of course. Mum would never put that on the get-well menu.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Decisions, revisions

There are as many ways to write as their are people who do it. I've long been of the think it out, write it down school. I tried sitting down and recording whatever came into my head, letting characters emerge and conduct themselves as they please, but I only got people discussing the relative merits of pistachio ice cream - nothing to make a plot, let alone further one.

In my summer workshop, Wayson Choy suggested writing without censorship, just putting stuff down and not worrying whether it works or what people will think, and then sifting through to find the common thread. And there's another technique, which is to let it all unfold in your mind like a gift and then write it down. This is rare, but exciting, and has happened to me twice this fall.

Editing these approaches is as different as writing them. When I write without censorship, I find it easy to cut away, because I've gone out in so many different directions: it's like standing in front of the topiary with shears in my hand. I prune. But when I've written in one direction, even when I know I've gone too far down that road - and I don't always - I have to decide how far back to go before I start over.

That's probably true of a lot of things in life, isn't it?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sentiments from Sickbay

Oh man, I used to watch Star Trek when it was on its first run.

Well, my sickroom is much cuter than the one that Nurse Thingy presided over. Who could nap in one of those beds? Let alone read Susan Cooper stories about Light vs. Dark (early morning), or revise short stories (mid morning) or knit (when I wake up again.)

Hopefully my cold will improve soon enough and long enough for me to hunch over the sewing machine for a while. I've been felting sweaters and cleaning out my washing machine for a couple of days now - the cleaning takes about 2,604% longer than the felting, by the way, and gives me a new appreciation for knitting what you felt (less mess, for some reason.) I want to be on to the next stage, which I think will be sewing purses. Or, if that's a bust, cutting out potholders or trivets. Or warm insoles for boots and skates! There's another Star Trek-era memory... navy blue felted boot insoles. I bet that show will live on just as long as the feeling of a crummy cold and the quest for warm toes in winter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A word to the wise

Today's blog title is less than apt: if you were wise, you would not be here, and I am not fit to advise the wise anyway, my blog being proof that I am far from it myself. Though somebody did call me "wise eyes" yesterday, if I didn't mishear "wise guy." That being said,

If you prefer instant gratification to long periods of knitting for three minutes of felting, and

If you give in to tantalizingness from certain friends who buy second-hand wool sweaters to felt into blankets etc. and

If you insist on buying a ton of sweaters yourself (unexpectedly half-price in a Friday madness sale!) and turn on the washing machine the minute you're home, then

Do wash the sweaters separately (I am that smart) and contain each in a pillowcase (not that smart) with a clip (not that smart even on the third try) to keep the loose fibers out of your washing machine. It's also good to have a mesh strainer on hand because it's soooo much easier to scoop the loose fibers out of a washer-full of rinse water than to wipe it dry off the walls of the drum.

Keep a bowl handy to toss all the loose fibers into so you can stuff dolls or toy animals later or at least toss it more conveniently into the trash, and do NOT plan on doing any other laundry for a very, very long time. Unless you want puffs of blue and grey and off-white all over the rest of your wardrobe, which is starting to look significantly more attractive to me than more cleaning, wiping, and skimming.

Friday, November 21, 2008

the next generation of procrastination finesse

I spent a charming evening last night at Sleuth of Baker Street; the signing may be over, but the opportunity to buy your copy of Going Out With a Bang is not! You can do that in many bookstores but the Sleuth has some with seven lucky signatures in front, so call 416-483-3111 or e-mail them at to get some into the mail. It's the perfect Christmas gift for anyone on your list who would enjoy discovering 21 different ways to go out with a bang.

And now that the launch is done and I have two stories to not fine-tune in 7 days, I've begun thinking about moving the furniture in the living room. Hey, the sofa blocks the radiator and it's too cold in there, it's not like I'm evil! Okay, okay, I know. It's like a disease.

And speaking of disease, the knitting addiction is spreading: Binnie's been sending me photos of extremely beautiful freshly-made hats in place of the amazing short stories I'm used to getting from her. Watch yourself or you too will be picking up needles instead of shortbread (perhaps a good thing) or, you know, a book (perhaps not.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The price of procrastination

Two hours of hauling bags of garden stone and bags of frozen soil into a crowded car hole, plus haulage of outdoor furniture into same, plus frantic rearrangement of same, with intervals of either raking leaves or shoveling the snow that is falling for the duration. Packing snow, to be exact. And hiding planters in the foliage of corner flowerbeds (tip: this is best done at night when you can't see just how depressingly obvious it looks.)

To be topped off by washing a muddy winter coat and pair of mitts AND drying them so they can be worn out in 4cm of snow the very next morning.

In positive news, while rearranging the car hole to accommodate bags of snowy leaves, I found the outdoor Christmas decorations and, since I was already cold, wet, and dirty anyway, I decided to put them up. And say what I will about the pink marshmallow coat (and I do, frequently) it washes and dries like a dream. A very fast dream.

Bonus with purchase: now that I don't have to worry about finishing the fall cleanup, I have more space in my brain for those two stories due next Friday. Now if I could just sit down and write them...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Crunch factor of 6

... for the porch, with nose hair levels at crisp. Oh, wouldn't it be nice if weather reports were really specific about what to expect when you go out in the morning to shake crumbs out of a bag?

It's cold out today, seriously cold, which makes me want to cry about not having been healthy when raking the leaves would have been a pleasant experience. It also makes me wonder what the front garden is going to look like when there's snow on it, something I could find out any day now (which makes me want to cry harder because there is nothing ickier on the spring gardening menu than hauling slimy non-decomposed leaves into bags.)

But to return to important matters: the booksigning is tomorrow night, my hair is still not curling, and there is no chocolate in the house unless you count Ghirardelli, which I kind of do, and now that I think of it there should be a can of the stuff in every Christamas present I give this year, but there might not be because I will probably end up drinking it all first. You know, judging by my Halloween candy track record.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hello Jack Frost

It's that enchanting time of the year, when puffs of smoke push out of my neighbour's chimney and beads of water appear on the inside of my windows and the porch floor crunches under my feet.

You know, the time of year when I wish my house had insulation.

Or that I had cuter sweaters. I did some more felting yesterday - bright red flowers and a strip of green to cut into leaves to go with them - and can't stop thinking about felting something vestlike too, flowers not being known for their warmth. It would mean either designing it myself and hoping it doesn't shrink too much in the wash, or felting huge swatches of fabric to cut and sew after the fact, which would be easier for sizing but not look as nice in the seams. I am also thinking about felting a neck gaiter to take the place of my missing hair because I was freezing yesterday and it's be even colder today.

All of which is to say that I'm meant to be working today, and I still have those two stories to write, and the house is still swimming in unread magazines. How's by you?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Flying toasters

It's breakfast and there's nothing I feel like eating and I Must. Stop. buying chocolate croissants. So I'm pulling a Judy Bolton*and whipping together some oatmeal scones to have with jam.

This activity is also known as procrastinating on today's blog entry.

In other news, it's down to the wire here at LaunchWatch '08 - just three more breakfasts to figure out before certain anthology contributors have to go out in public and sign copies of Going Out With A Bang, and the spectators are all wondering the same thing: will that girl's hair get back into the curling business in time? Things are not looking good, but you can never tell what twists and turns of fate may befall our heroine. Let's just hope that whatever happens, nobody brings a camera to the bookstore.

And now I will wish you good day and leave you with the cheery flight of some of my favourite toasters in the world.

* good news of the day: some of the Judy books have been reprinted! If I hadn't bought a bunch on eBay years ago, I'd have something else for my Santa list!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yay, it's hat season!

Yeah, I know. When you've stubbed your toe the entire world is your toe; when you don't love your lid the entire world is the hiding of it.

But seriously, it's hat season! There's snow on my neighbour's shed and everything. It's making me think about the myths and mysteries revealed in the Christmas entry of Susan Cooper's YA series, The Dark Is Rising, aka the Harry Potter of the 1970s. It was tough to get those books out of the library at all, and every time I came back to one after having to go to school or get a snack, it was in the hands of my sister or father, and I'd have to wait till they put it down to get it again.

Somehow I missed this, but there's a movie now of one of the books. I don't think I want to see it, but I might just ask Santa to bring me the books for Christmas this year. Along with hair extensions and some really good hats.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I miss my hair

For two years now, I've been on a sad journey without my beloved 20-year hairstylist Giuseppe, who moved away. I got a referral from friends with great hair, but their stylist wasn't able to work any magic on me, and I tried a random stylist who did a passable job but spent the entire hour telling me I looked old and should a/cut my hair short b/start colouring and c/straighten my unfashionable curls. Fear kept me from booking another cut for months and it wasn't pretty.

Then my sister found somebody wonderful who does a beautiful job on curly hair. I went once and he reshaped my seriously messed-up lid. I went again and we tried a new look with less length. Last night I went again and came home with a flapper bob.

It's a very good haircut and everything but you know, I miss long hair. You can tie it back from your face, and your neck doesn't get cold, and you don't have to go every 6-8 weeks to get it trimmed. Somebody who looked at me in horror this morning pointed out that I will never, ever be able to make it long again but I beg to differ. I figure on about a year, maybe a year and a half, most of which I will no doubt spend comforting myself with chocolate and hair clips*.

*ohhh! I can felt a flower with leaves to sew to a hair clip!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Today's Top Ten

It's like I have whack-a-mole game in my head, including such favourites as:
10/ shingles, the kind that itch people you like
9/ whether there is any chocolate in the house
8/ shingles, the kind that may or may not keep your porch dry
7/ how wonderful Ray is for sticking with the porch roof repair
6/ what Barbara Walters was thinking when she polished her list
5/ how much I'd like to be eating chocolate RIGHT NOW
4/ how good I feel for resisting knitting yesterday
3/ and working on my horror story instead
2/ and for finding a second Nov. 30 deadline
1/ and having an idea for a second story too

And now I will go out to the post office and mail the mid-November submissions*.

* by way of the bakery so I can pick up a fresh warm chocolate croissant.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dreams and preserves

A squishy brown wrapper arrived yesterday, and inside was a mother lode of yarn called 'Dream.' I'd been dreaming of getting started on the projects I had in mind for it, but as I cast on the stitches I decided that it's called Dream because you dream of being done with it. By bedtime I had worked through a little more than half the ball--enough to try on what I'm making with it--and changed my mind. It's going to be a dream to wear.

In between stints with Dream, I worked on the story about my grandparents and decided it's as much about canning as it is about them. And that me wonder - why on earth have I never been drawn to canning? It's got everything - a big mess to make and clean up, hours of commitment, a result that could be purchased from somebody else with far less inconvenience, and a complete distraction from writing. Plus I really, really love home-made peach jam.

That bug may yet bite me. In the meantime I still have hopes for bridge and lawn bowling: for a few years now they've been inching their way up from what? to meh to intriguing. If I ever run dry on diversions it's a safe bet one of them will hit irresistible.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Definitely interesting

I hadn't written in about a week and when I started revising yesterday I remembered why: knitting is easier. You get a quicker return on investment, too. Knit for two hours, you're gonna see serious progress. Write for two hours, you might have the same piece with two new words in it.

That said, it felt good to cut away the second story thread in the piece about my grandparents and focus on one perspective. Or it will do when I find said perspective. That's another thing about writing. You can spend a lot of time just considering where you should stand to get the best view. I tried something new and rewrote in the style of this blog. Tonight I'll have another look and see whether it's working.

But this afternoon, I'm gonna knit. I need to see some progress in this day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And just to make things interesting...

Binnie wrote me yesterday about another literary competition (with a deadline this week.)

And after writing about Gramma's shortbread yesterday I got thinking about her... and I do have a piece about her that would fit into a competition category with a little work...

And then another friend mentioned she's taking the day off to write today...

And the hat I was knitting is coming along pretty fast, which bodes well for the other three I'm supposed to do before Christmas...

... so I'm gonna try writing today and see what happens. I can pretty much guarantee that I'll also knit and do laundry and stare out the window and hunt around for some chocolate and think about shoes, but after resisting the last two deadline opportunities I'm too weak to hold back from this one, and it just seems meant. On the other hand, I did just burn some muffins while typing this. Sure hope that's not the meaningful sign for the day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A short story about short bread

I've got 40 making days to Christmas, and 14 knitting projects plus shortbread duty. I know... nobody eats that stuff, right? Well, they eat what my mother's made forever. Nothing goes better with tea and a book in a snowstorm.

Mum uses the recipe my dad's mum taught her, which means my family has been making these cookies for around a hundred years now. You have to use very cold butter, and she squishes and squeezes and pummels it into the sugar and flour that pretty much make up the cookie. She taught me to pack in as much flour as possible, though I suspect this has more to do with impressing friends with your stamina than with flavour. In the end the dough is too soft to roll out and cut with the special cutter, so you have to put it back in the 'frig for a while. Basically, you're looking at a three-day job if you're making gifts.

I have a tendency to carpal tunnel and limited time, so I cheat. I use the mixer so the butter doesn't warm under my hands, and I form the dough into a roll for slicing. They still taste way better than any other shortbread I've tried. It might be the rice flour, but I like to think it's some special magic from my Gramma.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A wonderful, awful idea*

Of course you know the whole knitting thing is me being a tortured writer compelled to communicate ideas and emotions while burdened by the need for productivity--if not in writing, in action?

Okay, so, I am SUPER EXCITED about the whole Christmas knitting idea! I had a feltable wool feeding frenzy yesterday, my list in one hand and two full tote bags in the other** and was happy until I got home and it dawned on me just how many projects I've signed myself up for. Don't ask me for a number because there is no way I'm gonna risk my inner calm by counting them. And since I've been sick and mostly sitting for a week, the outside has been sweeping itself into the house a little every time the door opens--instead of knitting, I should be dealing with the resident leaves and maple keys, not to mention all the swirls of scraps of paper that keep descending on me.

It's the perfect scenario for the discovery that I need 5.5mm double pointed needles and some non-felty wool for another scarf I just thought of plus needle felting supplies, don't you think? Yes, I'm making excuses. I just really want to go see a naked sheep.

* apologies to the Grinch, or rather Dr. Seuss
** I admit, I bought some winter white that could be Kool-Aid dyed, but I'm not going there! No way!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

You're scaring me (or am I scaring me?)

Last night I saw something so creepy on TV that I couldn't shift my mind from it when I was trying to fall asleep. Or after I woke up any of the million times after that to cough. Or now.

I don't watch TV much or often. I haven't watched Doctor Who in probably 20 years. And yet I recognized it immediately, with its low production value and high audience engagement.

So get this. Doctor Who's crowd have heard a friend scream, and run to find her, only to discover her el-cheapo plaster-white skeleton* still in its space suit, her voice modulator thingy still cranking out her last thoughts. The idea is still freaking me out - that in the moments after you die, the imprint of your last thoughts might linger in the air like smoke until it is buffeted away in the current, broken up and divided and recycled into so much white noise.

No more Doctor Who for me! Today, anyway. I gotta fill up my brain with something else... anything else. I see the perfect wool yarn for felting is on sale at a store I'll be near today, and apparently the white and off-white balls lend themselves beautifully to Kool-Aid dye. Maybe this is a good weekend for a science experiment?

* She met a flesh-eating swarm of shadow and lost.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Betcha can't do this

I'm a New Yorker addict, the kind with a subscription. For a long time I'd get through the whole thing the day it arrived, and I got other subscriptions to fill the void. And then... well, my surplus of time dried up (because I was writing a novel, maybe?) and it was taking a couple of weeks to get through every week's delivery.

So you can see how I might not have noticed, in the midst of all that paper, that I accidentally let my New Yorker subscription lapse last month. It wasn't until I opened a letter that began with Dear former subscriber that I knew my world as I knew it had ended.

Yesterday the first issue from my new subscription arrived. Last night, I found myself briefly with free eyes and an only partially occupied brain and, naturally, sat down to read. I must have been almost a whole page in before it hit me: I was also knitting.

Remember when I wrote a couple of weeks ago that Elizabeth Zimmerman used to read and knit at the same time? Was your reaction the same as mine? - Wow! and then, How??? Well, I can tell you how: knit stocking stitch, and make sure what you're reading is closer to your line of sight than what's on your needles.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Unleasing the awesome transformative power of...

hot water and agitation. I'm talking felting, baby!

Yesterday was pretty much of a write-off for anything sensible so I finished knitting my giant hat, tried it on and admired the flying nun effect when I folded back the floppy sides, then picked up some stitches to knit a chin strap. (I'm going somewhere with this.)

I measured the hat's dimensions, set the washing machine to high agitation and hot water, and threw it in. Yes, really. Five minutes later, the wool had matted to a thick, solid mass the shape of a bathing cap. I measured again, decided meh, then threw it back for another five. Perfection. It looks like a bathing cap but it resists wind and water and if I ever find a pair of decorative goggles I'll look like a WWI flying ace (in a pink puffy coat.)

The procrastination potential is endless. Pillow covers? storage baskets? tote bags? blankets? You betcha. And you don't have to knit, either. You can felt used wool sweaters and cut the resulting fabric (it won't fray) into pieces for other projects. And if you're not a crafty type, you can still use this information to impress people at the water cooler. See? I care, so I share.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Making a plan and sticking to it: overrated?

I've been mostly sleeping for a couple of days now and still feel too lousy to rake leaves, which is a drag because the weather is warm and sunny and non-windy AND most of the leaves are off the resident tree. (Which puts it a few weeks earlier than last year, something I hope does not bode ill for a palatable winter.) My plan to get out there and clear up the leaves before it's cold enough to require a coat and gloves and hot chocolate after is pretty much a goner.

But that's okay, right? because I can work on my horror story instead, and have it ready as planned for the end of the month. Except that I'm too sleepy to do that either, and I knit so much watching election results (USA! USA!) that all I have to do is (learn how to graft and) graft the back seam on my hat. And then, you know, knit a chin strap, and felt it, and sew on a button and stuff. So I'm tempted to do the grafting this morning and get closer to my goal of a warm hat in cold weather.

Except I'm not sure I can keep my eyes open to graft. Maybe I'll just look at the instructions for grafting, enjoy the nap that will inevitably ensue, and hope I can get back on track tomorrow. It's nice to go with the flow, but it's nicer when things get done along the way.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do men wear mohair?

and NO, I'm not talking about mohair suits. I have knit some stupid things in my day but I'm not demented.

So, I've caught some virus or other, and I just want to drink vats of water - cold or recently boiled with lemon juice and honey in it - and sleep. Not so conducive to writing, but definitely to thinking about the Christmas knitting (hence my question) and to reading. Luckily my copy of Arctic Lace arrived at the local library yesterday. Karen recommended this book as a possible source for Mary-friendly qiviut patterns, and she was right. I have exactly enough qiviut to make three very attractive things in it and to wonder whether a moebius shawl, so flattering on others, would make me look like a dork?

Arctic Lace has a wide appeal. Yes, there is knitting, and lace patterning. A little about qiviut specifically and musk oxen generally. It is somewhat about Arctic exploration, and a lot about specific individuals and native Alaskan lifestyles in remote communities accessible only by plane and increasingly affected by climate change, as are the musk oxen themselves. Highly recommended.

And now I would like to wish my US readers minimal lineup time at the polls and a delicious free Starbucks coffee! before I go drink something much less delicious, if equally hot.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Can writing be procrastinatory?

This time last year, I was writing my first non-mystery novel. I worked on it all winter with my Humber mentor, David Bergen, who patiently explained to me what didn't work and why, but I was never able to resolve the problems. In Wayson Choy's summercamp workshop, I worked only on the first chapter. I left with a very clear instructions to fix its problems, and I did fix them, in part by adding a new character for one scene only. Then I brought it to my most excellent critique group... who saw all the same problems as before, but loved that one character.

I am thinking about two things now: the writer who said character takes priority over story, and Joseph Boyden's comment, in the interview at the back of Three Day Road, that the novel didn't work until he reshaped it with a circular, rather than linear, approach.

I was going to rake leaves today. Then I came to my senses and decided to work on my horror story, due in a few weeks for a contest. But while I was hauling leaf bag monsters off the lawn in the dark in teeming rain (don't ask) a solution to the first chapter of that old novel came to me. So I'm going to try that instead. And I'm NOT going to eat Halloween candy while I do it, because I'm strong and not because it's finally gone, though that also is true.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

How many exciting things fit into one day off?

Let's see...

knitting (and ripping out and knitting some more)

getting to tell Wayson Choy in person just how inspired and productive I've been since his workshop at SummerCamp

hearing a fantastic group of writers talk about how their backgrounds influence their writing

seeing a lightbulb go off over my own head when one of them described ditching a novel after writing two transcendent paragraphs about two characters she would be leaving forever after that chapter, so that she could write about them instead, because you don't kick aside such a gift

having a visit with Binnie

running into two other girlfriends and catching up

seeing a dress once owned, apparently, by Marie Antoinette (and if she really did own it then she still had the body of a pre-pubescent child at 15)

eating out (well, okay, owing to a mixup at the museum it ended up being a tuna sandwich and oddly sweet apple cider, but still - out!)

eating chocolate (YES, Hallowe'en candy, I'm terrible, I know)

going to bed super early for serious bonus sleep

I make that 10 and the best day off ever! And now to go eat some more Halloween candy (yes yes, terrible terrible, no knitting for you young lady.)