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October 13, 2010
I know it may seem hard to believe, but I have been blogging IN MY HEAD constantly, daily, all the time. Every time I sit down to write something, I end up not writing it. I mean: I’ve never had such bloggy writer’s block, ever, as you well know by the last seven-plus years of nearly incessant blabbing. I finally managed to shut the pfaff up. For a minute.
I think the problem is that I’m writing a novel, which is the most fun I’ve had writing since, oh, Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. (Quick! Go buy a copy before printed books disappear entirely.) I honestly think it is eating up all my bandwidth at the moment. I have taken Walter Mosley’s advice to heart. (To give you an idea about how long I’ve been marinating, I read his book This Year You Write Your Novel in 2006, which was a good four years ago, so I guess I made a liar of Walter Mosley. That was not the year I write my movel.) (I almost fixed that typo, but it makes it sound less pretentious to call this project a movel instead of a novel.) He says (and many other writers say it too) that to write, you have to let the paint peel and the grass grow tall, and you have to write every single day and that means even Monday. My official start date on this project was September 7, which if you’ll notice, seems to be exactly when I stopped writing here.
Not blogging makes me realize how much time I actually spend writing here. I know you can’t tell, but those blurry photographs of those half-finished socks shot at the rim of the Grand Canyon were curated like a show at the Met. That apparently incoherent description of the 2006 TNNA convention was practically based on a James Joyce story.
Anyway, it takes up all my time, this projeck, and it is HIGHLY distracting to the point that I am kind of schizophrenic sometimes, and I stare off into the middle distance worrying about some character who exists only in my mind. Which, come to think of it, is how I used to think about you, Kay, before we ever met in actual person. What a relief not to be worrying about you that way anymore. Now, I just worry about you in the normal human way.
The other massive time-suck is my continuing progress through episode upon episode of Lost. I won’t go into it, but if anyone out there has made it to the end of Season 5, you will know what I mean when I say: WHA? WHA THA HUNH? Things have become so odd that I wish for something simple like Fonzie jumping a shark.
That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been knitting, thinking about knitting, and bumming extremely hard that we’re not going to Rhinebeck this year.
Let’s ponder the horribleness of that: WE ARE NOT GOING TO RHINEBECK. HORRIBLE. Have fun, y’all, because WE WON’T.
In the interest of getting back up to blog speed, I’m going to do what Spinal Tap would call a Jazz Odyssey of the past six weeks. I’m just going to free-associate until I catch up to the present time, and then I swear, I miss blogging so much that I’ll be back at it in a more coherent way.
Jazz Odyssey. (Ann Wrote This.)
Trip to Aspen over Labor Day. Just Hubbo and me. Felt like we had run away from home, which we basically had. This was the trip that steeled my resolve to come home and start writing this damn movel. I think it was Day Five of oxygen deprivation that made me see a blurry image of Jane Austen on a passing ski gondola, holding up a Penguin edition of Northanger Abbey and mouthing “Get off your ass.” Aspen is spectacularly beautiful, even more so, apparently, if you aren’t getting enough oxygen. Hubbo and I took a ski gondola ride to the top of Aspen Mountain. (Pop quiz: How many weddings were held up there on Sunday, September 5, 2010: FOUR. FOUR weddings in a location where the bartenders arrive on a ski gondola.)
My dad had a birthday. I love that. My brothers both had birthdays. Also excellent. I ordered the first 31 of 52 books that my brother Clif has published in his incredible project, FiftyTwo. My brother is a brilliant artist and professor, no other way to describe him, and for his fifty-second year, he decided to create one book per week based on his everyday life, then make them available on Lulu.com. Seeing him create these books so fluidly, so fast, is probably the most inspiring act of artistic creation that I’ve ever seen. DANG.
Our book group has embarked on the “Water” theme for this year, and I just want to thank everyone who suggested books for this theme. We’re actually doing several that were suggested: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (warning: Robert Pattinson movie version coming), Cadillac Desert by Marc Reiser I think, and The Sea by John Banville.
I met one of my literary heroes this past weekend, Ian Frazier, whose New Yorker writings have always been a favorite. His new book, Travels in Siberia, is a 500-page book about his travels in Siberia. Now THAT’s a book title. When I say I met him, I mean I handed him my book, said, “Glgl urb mrsshugrl slllb OK thanks really that’s just great it’s A-N-N OK then.” DORK!
Son David has started a band that practices directly below our bedroom in the basement. I can hardly express how loud it gets down there. The Hendrix flows, and the Zeppelin, and the Muse.
Son Clif has started to play lacrosse, which is slightly better than football but not really. I am relieved that the season is over so he can get back to bashing his brother’s head with a stick, not some litigation-crazed opponent’s.
We’re getting a new roof on the house. I bought giant mums for $7 at the vegetable stand, which sent me into a long spiral of despair over how easily somebody grew these giant flowery domes and how quickly I’m going to kill them off. We had one mouse in the basement, very confused to come across five boys with loud instruments. I am doing most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s these days, which is such a bargain that I can almost do without Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts.
Merle Hazard is back in the studio with new work coming at some point. This one is going to be a real departure from anything Merle has done before. He continues to get press coverage in foreign countries, making me wonder if his success is sort of like Jerry Lewis’s superstardom in France. Most recently, you can hear a fantastic, rare Jon Shayne/Merle Hazard simultaneous interview in a podcast over at The Guardian (UK). Merle turns up at about 15:00 into the show.
Oneonta pal Adrienne was in town for the Southern Festival of Books, and we had a fine time until we landed at a concert by the Punch Brothers which transformed our pleasant evening into a double rainbow of awesomeness. So intense! I’ve been talking to Hubbo a lot about constraints, how they can be liberating. The thing about the Punch Brothers is that they claim to operate as bluegrass players. But that holds up exactly as long as it takes Chris Thile to wail some tempo-shifting, instrument-bustin’ ballad about being stuck under the kitchen sink by the trash can. It’s not like anything else, even though it claims to be something very particular. Here’s one of their tamer efforts:
I have been working on the same damn sweater since the last time I blogged, the cursedly cabled Felted Tweed sweater that absolutely refuses to end. I can’t stand how long this thing is taking to finish. It doesn’t even deserve a picture at this point. I think the problem is that I don’t trust myself to do the twists at the right moment, even though at this point I have done hundreds of them. I’m all the time stopping to make sure I’m on the right row. Tiresome. But I am motivated because I think I could really use a dirt-colored tiny-cabled pullover. Really need one in my life because I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH DAMN SWEATERS YET.
Son David and I are going to be going to Washington for the Rally to Restore Sanity on 10/30/10. Colbert’s March to Keep Fear Alive has some excellent swag available–Merch to Keep Fear Alive, he calls it. Let me know if you’ll be there; we can knit in a calm, moderate way or something.
Finally, HOW ABOUT THOSE CHILEAN MINERS? I was RIVETED to that rescue. Absolutely brilliant. All those wives and families and children, seeing the thing happen that they thought would never happen.
Thank you all for your patience, and putting up with the lack of photos. I can’t find my cable at the moment, and that could potentially stall me another six weeks! I really miss hearing from everybody.
And so to bed! I still think Olive should dress up as Emily Dickinson. She totally has the look already.