TA-DA. Knitted thing is not only finished but I am wearing it. This is important: to extend the knitting/writing metaphor (see previous post) – it’s no good finishing knitted thing/novel-like-thing unless it’s something you want to wear/read.
Well I finished my knitting project, and then I cut it up. Well not exactly. I’d knitted it beautifully but it wasn’t quite right, not long enough, the sleeves didn’t fit how they should so … I took it apart and unravelled quite a lot of it. The task then is/was to put it together again, but how I wanted it and if I could do that then I could do the same to other things, like the novel-like thing that metaphorically resembles the bits of wool on the left.
Knitting’s a pretty good metaphor for writing. You have an idea, assemble everything you need, allocate time to carry out the project and start. Push through endless rows of knit, purl, increases, decreases, pick up dropped stitches, unravel five rows of pattern you did wrong because you weren’t concentrating enough to notice, and though you’ve a vague idea of how a certain bit’s supposed to look, it doesn’t look quite right but you hope it’ll all fit together when you make it up at the end …
Even if you do follow a pattern, and I do for knitting, nothing is certain until you have the whole thing, all the bits and pieces in front of you, and then when it’s made up, you try it on and … if it isn’t how you want it to be – like the novel-like thing – well, it’ll end up in a bag or a drawer somewhere.
What a waste of time and effort and wool and …
Which is why I took said knitted thing apart and why – now I have almost reconstructed it – amending the pattern to suit how I want it to be, to look and hopefully to fit, I might have faith in doing the same to the novel-like-thing.
End of metaphor.
I am familiar with this floor. The tiles are never spotless, there are always footprints, paw prints and coal dust. I’m familiar with these shoes too, which were shiny red patent leather several years ago. Now they’re scuffed, creased, cracked and stitched together where I’ve worn the heel down – and tiny stones get trapped in the holes in the soles and make strange clicking noises as I walk around.
Sunlight bleeds through the bleached wood blind backlighting a haze of dust. Each particle rises and falls, percolating through the warm kitchen air until it meets a flat surface. A cool draught flows under the door causing more dust to rise up. A cloud passes in front of the sun, and the air clears.
I’ve been taking a break from writing for just over a month. I’m not a writing machine and I know when I need to recharge. Anyone who took part in NaNoWriMo and churned out over 50,000 words in a month will understand.
So for the past four or five weeks I’ve been doing other things. I reviewed a book (Patrick Cullen’s What Came Between); I started and (almost) finished a knitting project (a cardigan, here, if you want a peep) and at the last minute put together (and thoroughly enjoyed) a family Christmas.
But now it’s January and I’ve got the sort of itchy fingers that knitting doesn’t cure. Worse, because of the pre-Christmas upheaval, I couldn’t find my writing notebook. Then I kept coming across these wonderful little nuggets of prose on Twitter hashtagged #aros (a river of stones) and that was all it took to lure me back in.
A River of Stones is “an international project started by Fiona & Kaspa to encourage people to engage with the world through writing a short observational piece every day during January.” It’s not too late to take part, just click here for more info.
And yes, I found the notebook. It was hiding under something else. No, I haven’t taken the decorations down yet, and no, I don’t expect I’ll finish my knitting as soon as I thought I was going to, but …