Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reader, Writer, and Knitter, of course

If I had to describe myself in a few words--not so easy for someone as wordy as me, as you know!--three of those words would be reader, writer, knitter. And, of course, parent, grandmother, dog lover, semi-spouse. Yadda, yadda. The list goes on and on.

We're all complex creatures, of course, and that's what has always fascinated me about people. When I was appraising real estate, I loved to go into someone's house and try to identify what the owner was passionate about. Most of us are passionate about something, whether it's a craft, reading, or collecting some arcane object.

(Frankly, if you're not passionate about something ... well, shame on you.)

Anyway, I'd wander through someone's personal space, all in the name of business, of course, and while I was taking notes on square footage and condition of the appliances and carpeting, I'd be checking out the shelf space. I would see the most amazing things--at least they amazed me.

Sometimes the things people collected were pretty run-of-the-mill. Pottery or a particular kind of glassware or cow creamers--yes, I do remember someone who had hundreds of cow creamers. Very Bertie Wooster, that. I saw more doll collections than you can imagine, which only tells me that someone's spending way too much time with the shopping channels. It's only my opinion, but there's something just a little creepy about all those Marie Osmond dolls staring blankly out from behind the glass cabinetry.

One time I went into a very ordinary house in the F... M ... subdivision of Herndon. House was ordinary, owner was ordinary, nothing special one way or another. Then I got to the master bedroom. Over the bed was a huge, and I mean VERY LARGE, oil painting of Fabio on horseback riding through the woods, that long shiny hair flying in the wind, teeth glistening, and a sensuous look on his face. He looked like he was coming right toward me so he could ... well, let's just say that I got a twitch in a few unbusinesslike parts.  What I once heard a romance writer call "the nether regions," although I'd have to look up "nether" to see if that's an accurate use of the word.*

Once I recovered my equilibrium, I asked the owner, "uh, not to be too personal, but ... uh ... what's the deal with Fabio?" Because let's face it. I'd seen a bunch of stuff, but Fabio hanging over the bed? I don't know what I thought the explanation would be (it was before the days when we were used to hearing about erections that last more than four hours and personal lubricants), but I was unprepared for it.

Turned out, she was a romance writer. She showed me a bookcase of her books published by Harlequin Books and the oil painting was the original art for one of her book covers. She said she wasn't sure which was the greater thrill--knowing her books were being read by thousands of horny women throughout the world, or knowing that Fabio was on the cover. Well, that was in Fabio's heyday--I'm assuming that by now he's just another long-haired wrinkly old dude, but I got her meaning.

I'm digressing again, aren't I? Well, not surprising. That's what I do.

Anyway, I've been a reader since I was very young. I was an only child until I was nine, and life in those days was ... let's just say, I spent an awful lot of time alone, and I read, all the time. And reading is still a huge part of my life ... everything from the daily paper to The New Yorker to knitting magazines to novels to histories to ... well, you get the idea. I'm one of those people who reads billboards and cereal boxes and yarn ballbands and other people's blogs.

And I also write, mostly for myself, but that's okay. I'm my own best fan, so why not? And of course, I knit. Well, we knew that, didn't we?

So, who cares? What's this all about? Glad you asked!

First of all, you all know that Wednesday is Noble Knitters night, right? Yup. That's the once-a-week knitalong that makes Hump Day bearable for me. Our group has been meeting at the Barnes & Noble at the Avenue in Norcross for a couple of years now and has grown from a few people to a pretty steady 10-20 folks. It's become an oasis of knitting camaraderie in what is often a fairly stressful workweek for me, and it's pretty much what held me together when I was ... between jobs. (And, believe me, there's NOTHING more stressful than that!)

So I wasn't all that excited about having it disrupted by a book signing, even if the book was knitting-related. Because here's the ugly truth: I'm not all that crazy about knit lit. I've enjoyed the Monica Ferris stories but have been pretty disappointed by some of the others, especially that one lady who keeps claiming that, soon, very soon, any minute now, just wait, Julia Roberts is going to star in her new movie and the one who keeps telling me to find Jesus in the stitches. Frankly, I'd rather see a vampire movie.

But, it should be interesting to meet someone who's probably not too unlike the rest of us around the table, except that she's found a way to make a living doing what we do for free. (Free? Who am I kidding? We're paying for this stuff!)

And Bill and Elyse from Only Ewe and Cotton Too were doing door prizes! You just can't improve on that!

Terri Dulong was so delightful! Turns out she's a transplant from the blustery northeast to Florida, which, even if it really isn't The South in the way that Gawga is, is still southernish. She's a former RN who's written several books that most of us haven't heard of, but hit the big time with her novel about Cedar Key, FL and a series of knitting heroines. 

And, needless to say, she's a Reader, a Writer, a Knitter. Yeah, yeah ... I know her book has "spinning" in the title, which is why I walked past it when I saw it on the table at B&N the other day. I mean, I'm as much of a fiberista as the next person, and I do have several spindles hanging out at home in a mug waiting to spin up something wonderful, but, nah, I'll wait for it to turn into yarn, thank you very much.

But she did show us her knitting, and unless she picked it up in a dark alley from a half-completed-knitting dealer, I assume she actually knit it. Actually, I sort of like that concept--the darkly beautiful knitter of a certain age--a redhead, of course, because they're ALL redheads--who hangs out at Michaels to get knitting wannabes hooked on that famous gateway drug, merino wool. She sells them a partially complete sock on double points so they can flash it when they go into a real yarn store and gain acceptance. Now there's a character you could build a novel around! Can she gain redemption taking acrylic to the homeless?

Back to Terri. She had some great stories, both about her life and her writing. (It was worth the price of admission just to see our own Scarlett O'Haras giggle over the way Terri said "scawf." Wow! Don't you just think it's hysterically funny when people have regional accents? Amazing!)

So, hang on to your hats for a review, coming soon, of Spinning Forward. My hopes are high--I enjoyed the parts she read to us and hearing about the book and the ones to come. And she inspired me--I swear, next year I'm going back to Malice Domestic with a manuscript to show around.

And, did I say? I met another reader, writer, knitter who's got a writing group! Woo hoo! (Hi, Cheryl!) I was floating, all the way home.

*neth⋅er  /ˈnɛðər/ 
1. lying or believed to lie beneath the earth's surface; infernal: the nether regions.

2. lower or under: his nether lip.


bef. 900; ME nethere, OE neothera, nithera, deriv. of nither down (c. G nieder), lit., further down, equiv. to ni- down + -ther comp. suffix


Terri said...

It was SUCH a pleasure meeting you and the rest of your wonderful group on Wed. evening. You gals were such a joy to meet and talk with. And the talent! Wow, I was really impressed with all the projects being created on those needles.
Really enjoyed your blog post here and I love your sense of humor! I do hope you enjoy SPINNING FORWARD and I look forward to the review.
All the best to you,
Terri DuLong

The Knifty Knitter said...

I'm also not a big fan of knit lit but Terri was so engaging that I had to pick up her book. I've read the first 2 chapters and, already, it's better than the other 15 I've read of the Friday Night Knitting Club ( I couldn't stomach the rest of FNKC).