Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What's going on...

I have succumbed to the dream of a clean house and bought Enjo products. But, hey, if they even make me think more about cleaning they've got to be good! Actually it was the mop that sold me. Anything that you can whisk over the floor and don't have to do all that bucket lugging and rinsing.

I have completely failed to put a new drive band around my double drive spinning wheel. I have no idea why this has happened. It pisses me off no end. I'm goign to give it another go today after downloading a wagon-load of stuff from the 'Net. I mean, honestly, it can't be rocket science. These are simple machines. These are pre-industrial revolution machines. I can operate a digi camera. I can even operate the one on my mobile phone. So a spinning wheel? Give me a break Arachne!

I have finished making the Baby Yoda Jacket. I hope the receipient hasn't outgrown it already. Why on earth did this take so long to make? It was easy peasy, just a lot of fiddly sewing later and if I make another one, I'll try to do the fronts and back as one piece and remember to Kitchener the shoulder seams. Why do I never remember to Kitchener the shoulder seams? Pictures to come.

I became (briefly) so pissed off with teaching that I decided to give it up. Then I decided to change my attitude. And bits of my approach.

I became (briefly) enamoured with the idea of knitting my way through Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Almanac. Then I decided that I didn't want to make: long johns, mittens, Christmas ornaments or quite so many baby clothes (the girlchild is only fifteen!!), the weave-in blanket or the last minute sweater. Half the almanac, in fact, was knocked out, thus spoiling the entire idea.

I then decided I'd plan six projects for myself, from various books I own (don't ask how various, please, the knitting - and cooking - section of my library is slightly embarassing), magazines and 'net sources. This is after I finish The Sweater for the Accountant. And some socks and an important scarf - for which I need the *&%$# spinning wheel to work.

I have my tickets to the Melbourne Writer's Festival. I'm reluctantly only going next Thursday. What with boyman's birthday, girlchild's trip to Japan and my three days in Brisbane, time is being munched up monstrously. Still, I will enjoy Thursday. I love the ambience of the festival and I'm looking forward to seeing how it fares at ACMI. This will be the third venue change for the festival. The very first one I attended was at the Kino. It was totally exciting and I loved every minute. It rapidly outgrew the Kino and landed at the Malthouse which was like a mini Festival city. Now it's back in the Melbourne CBD. I think it's good being the CBD.

I've set myself a challenge - to enter the Scarlet Stiletto short story Competition. Short notice, I know, and I won't beat myself up if I don't do it.

I've been feeling sad recently. I hesitate to use the word depressed, because I think we use it too often to talk about sadness and grief. I've been grieving. When I'm in this state I need to keep doing small things to keep my head above the waterline. I thought I was doing enough small things but it only took a couple more blows to knock me back. Hence the knitting and the short story competition. These things help me move forward, back into joy.

Writing and teaching are vulnerable occupations. Some days the rewards are fantastic - a student understands something and begins editing their own work with a rigour they've not been able to show before, a piece of writing magically works.

Other days there are no rewards. Students, post-secondary students! - write notes to each other in class. Another dismisses most writing with the banal statement that it's all boring, (well, hello why are you here then? Why not go and be a mechanic, instead?)Yet another is discourteous to a fellow student. Writing that you want to be compelling, vivid and snapping with energy falls on the page as grey and uninviting as cold dishwater.

It's important for me to have safety nets when all the bad things happen. I don't construct these particularly well. I'm always blown away by post-secondary students who don't want to be in the classroom. Who wouldn't want to discuss writing, have time to write in the classroom - not have to juggle it away from feeding kids, negotiating relationships, completing administrative tasks, - and then to have their work workshopped. My God! If I'd been able to spend a year, two years or three years doing that! I loved the subjects I did at University passionately but professional writing and editing? I'd have been limpeted myself in that department and they'd have had to prise me lose with a crowbar.

Clearly everyone doesn't feel that way. Why should I care if they do or don't? But I do care. So I have to make myself safety nets. Elizabeth Zimmerman's Aran Sweater. A new sparkly hat. Cooking different things for the family. Cooking lessons for the Bayard boys. Rebooting my ipod. Which is a very good idea and which I shall attempt to do now.

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