The Oracle

My new boss calls me The Oracle. I am so deeply flattered, I can’t even tell you.

But I’ve also been wondering if some of what people perceive of as psychic powers is just pattern recognition in overdrive.

Speaking of patterns:

I didn’t expect orange to play such a prominent role, but I like it.

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Window

My favorite thing about my new office is that I have a window. I think, since we’ve moved in, I’ve only turned my office lights on a handful of times.

I’m taking a week off at the end of the month and spending it working on the book. My boss has given me permission to use my office during that week, because I’m at the point where I just need to look at it someplace else, on some other screen.

My editor at Third Man asked me if I wanted to start thinking about a short story collection. I haven’t written fiction in so long. But I kind of do want to start dipping my toe back into that.

Moping

I spent my whole weekend moping around, refusing to be a person who goes out into the world and talks to people and stuff. I got good work done on this afghan, though.

I really like looking at it. I find it soothing.

Baseball

My guts are fine. My uterine lining is as thin as it should be. We’re just going to wait and see what happens next month. Maybe we’ll switch pills.

I have a seven centimeter uterine fibroid. Like a baseball sized thing just sitting in my uterus. This is, apparently, also fine. Just a thing that happens in your 40s.

The transvaginal ultrasound hurt so bad I just came home and sat on the couch for the rest of the day. I’d had one before that was fine, so I was not expecting to feel like I’d gotten punched in my insides repeatedly.

I made some yarn and worked on the other afghan. I think, honestly, I’m just working on them both at the same time.

Different Circles

My only regret is that now that I know how it’s put together, it looks less random to me. I loved it best when I could see it as a wild clump of circles.

But, whew, I love this so much.

Tomorrow I have to go in for a transvaginal ultrasound to try to figure out why I’m bleeding. I admire my reproductive system for being just a rusty pile of shit the whole way. It takes commitment to suck from my first period to my last.

I had been feeling like I was dealing very well with this, but I’ve been sucked into a tiny bit of despair about how I’m going to die alone, unloved, with cobwebs in my useless vagina.

I’m glad for all the therapy and the drugs that lets me realize that’s a fucked up headspace. Also, frankly I’d rather have two weeks of cobwebs a month than two weeks of bleeding. Both are very goth, but the webs wouldn’t make me anemic. Plus, if my body is going to be a horror show, I would rather have the haunted house vibes of a cobwebbed vagina than the slasher aesthetic of all this blood.

Plus, if we’re being honest, I feel like “I will leave you unsettled and unsure if what has just happened to you really happened” is a more honest assessment of sex with me than “I will leave you screaming and fearing for your life.”

Cobwebs in my vagina. Truth in advertising.

Circles

I guess I should say more about my dad, but I’m not sure what there is to say. He’s dying. He’s carrying on being his damn self. He’s “doing what the doctor told me and getting back to my normal routine.”

I don’t really believe that’s what the doctor told him.

But fuck it. If this is how he wants to go out, this is how he goes out, I guess.

Hobbs & Shaw

It was worth every penny. It was delightful. It was full of easter eggs for people my age. And it was very sweet. Everyone was slightly dorky and a little insecure.

Everything was wonderfully ridiculous. And it was funny. Not a comedy, exactly, but there were plenty of jokes that worked.

Also, I got new shoes and I swear, when I walked the dog this morning, I wanted to do some zoomies, like you do when you’re a kid and you’re convinced your new shoes are going to make you super fast.

Nashville Demystified

Here’s the podcast I did. I really like how it turned out. And this is how I want reading the book to be, too. Funny, serious, sad, happy, etc.

Twice this summer a guy has told me I have a beautiful laugh. Two different guys. One who I think was hitting on me a tiny bit and the other who was a kid and just seemed surprised and delighted.

And, you know, listening to this, I heard what they meant. It is beautiful.

Heh, I wonder how long that’s been true?

Truths, Lies, and Histories of Nashville

We figured out a cool name for my series!

I’m going to try to spend at least some of today trying to dig up historians and writes I don’t know to make sure I’m not just curating a series of my friends.

I’m really excited and nervous. What if no one submits proposals? What if all the proposals are great? How will I narrow them down to 25?

My dad remains in the hospital with his “mild” congestive heart failure. He’s dying. It might take a while, but he’s going to die of this.

And apparently he’s hell-bent on doing it 8 hours away from his closest kid so that he can bullshit to us about what the doctors are telling him.

Or because he’d rather die with his friends than with his kids.

And that hurts my feelings a lot.

Even though I don’t know how I would do with him here.

You Took My Joy. I Want It Back.

One of the hardest things for me to unlearn about the way I was raised, a think I have not unlearned, even now, is the belief that all goodness will be balanced with bad, that, if you have joy, you will have sorrow in equal measure, so it’s best to try to live a life of as few peaks as possible, in order to avoid the valleys.

I had a great week. I’m getting to work on a really cool project–as soon as I can come up with a name for it. I’m doing some acquisitions again, which I’d forgotten how much I really loved. I got to go up to Port Royal and learn a monstrous amount about the town (which no longer exists) and the park ranger’s dreams for it. I’m going to a cool presentation about Belle Meade at Fort Negley this morning. I’m doing a reading this evening. Tomorrow I’m meeting with a writer whose work I’ve long admired. Monday I have another acquisitions meeting. And I’ve made some beautiful yarn this week:

And I’ve got all the inner circles for my afghan made, so now I’m in the difficult, but fulfilling process of piecing them all together.

My dad is in the hospital with congestive heart failure. As he put it, “a little congestive heart failure.” My mom was in the hospital a couple of times last month.

My aunt is on-call so she can’t get down to see them. I’m here. Everyone is so far away.

I’m so mad at them for carrying on like they’re still in fine health. I’m so afraid things are going to get worse before they realize they have to make some major changes. I’m worried they’re going to kill themselves.

And, you know, if they were making a conscious choice to just push and push until they die, I would hate it, but I would respect it.

But I don’t think they’re being honest with themselves about what they’re doing and that upsets me, too.

My Idea

When I was in Boston a couple of weeks ago, I got an idea for a book series about Nashville. Did I tell you all I’m doing a little acquisitions work again? I can’t remember. I’m doing a little acquisitions work again.

Anyway, today I get to find out if I can edit such a series.

I’m so stoked and nervous and delighted. Like, I literally had the idea two weekends ago and today I might get to start working on it.

When in the history of my job has that ever been the case?

Anyway, my idea is to do 25 books, one in honor of each decade of Nashville’s existence, contemplating some aspect of the city’s existence during a particular time and to bring them out for the next decade, leading up to the 250th anniversary of Nashville’s founding.

The Professor’s Bauhaus Bookshelf Blanket

I love how this turned out so much.

A thing, too, about handspun yarn is that it felts super easily, which means, when you’re tucking ends that you don’t have to weave them in three or four directions. You just make sure that the ends are in contact with enough of the other yarn that washing and friction can firmly stick them together.

Fall is in the Air

This morning’s walk with the dog was glorious. I had my first nightmare about the book, in which all my photos were wrong and some of them were afghans I’d made. The captions were still right, though.

I have a tiny bit of anxiety about my bank problems last week and then my getting the full gropey search at the airport on Sunday, like maybe I’ve landed myself on the “go ahead and bother her” list.

It’s paranoid, I know. But I think the dream is just a part of that.

The truth is that no one but me really gives a shit, you know?

That’s the sad part of this whole research.

I’m Home

God, Boston was so great. I feel so energized and excited. I’m doing a little acquisitions work now, which is a tiny bit nerve-wracking, but I’m also super excited about it.

I went to a session on New England vampires and it blew my mind. Basically, this dude is able to show that Hessian doctors are to blame. Oh, and also that no one thought it was vampirism until the end of the phenomenon.

And we got to see a picture of a “vampire!” In the grave! With his bones all messed up.

I cannot wait to bore C. and M. to death with all the vampire, er, excuse me “vampire” information I learned. But, basically, it all boils down to “Vampires are a Slavic superstition. How could a specter from the grave even drink your blood? They don’t have bodies. It would just fall right through them. No, this is science. Your undead loved ones suck your lifeforce from the grave.”

But also I had a long discussion with the most interesting of the vampire scholars and he was telling me how German soldiers eventually had encounters with Slavic vampires that utterly convinced them that the vampire phenomena, with the rising corpses and everything, was real, because they went and fought the vampires.

Y’all!

I can’t even tell you. It’s so delightful. He was telling me all about how these German soldiers would go out with the locals to fight vampires and they’d write back these long reports about how they opened the graves and attacked the vampires and the vampires let out these horrible moans and, as they were trying to stake the vampires, they would spew blood or burning liquid at them to get them to back off. And they came away from these encounters deeply shaken and sure vampires were real.

But, really, they’d just caused a decomposing corpse to explode at them.

I am Beyond Pissed

I’m frustrated that I don’t know what effective thing to do with my anger, but this country, man. The lack of shame. The willingness to pretend as if this is all normal and needs no extraordinary response.

And they’re going to get away with it.

We always move past this shit without dealing with it “for the good of the country.” We found ways to bring Confederates back into the fold without them having to face any real consequences. We let the terrorism of the 50s and 60s go largely unpunished.

And so we have to deal with these flair-ups of an old fire we refuse to put out because some of us don’t mind the warmth of it as it burns others alive.

Please Come to Boston. She said “No.”

I’m going to Boston for work, which I’m looking forward to. I’m also having a lot of anxiety about it for reasons that my subconscious is not sharing with the rest of me.

And, like all fun mental health stuff, I can kind of see how I’m pulling back and not properly engaging with the world, but it feels slightly better than having all this anxiety and interacting like a human being with people I care about, so… yeah… it’s not helpful and it’s only making matters worse, but here I am, in my pit of weirdness, just trying to keep my eye on the fact that the pit is shallower than I would have made in the past.

Many Small Things

My brother, my sister-in-law, Baby Dahlia looking like a giant, and tiny Baby Liam in the hat. I love that Dahlia has the tiniest double chin.

This is the start of my next afghan. No, I don’t have the ends tucked on the Professor’s afghan. Yes, I do suck goat butts. But I wanted to see how this was going to come together and it’s going to come together real, real hard. But I already am in love.

And I made a yarn with beads! And now that I know what I’m doing, I’m going to make more yarn with beads. It’s fairly simple and, if you use wooden beads, fairly light-weight. I’m fascinated and confused about how it will crochet up, but we shall see.

Also, I wrote some and my bank card got skimmed and it was a whole terrible thing that I’m sure isn’t over, but I just can’t think about it too much.

Places I Don’t Know

I’m writing an article. It’s not an important article, but the money’s nice. Anyway, the editor was all “Ooo, you should include something about Draper James and Imogen + Willie!” and I was like, “Okay, fine. Those just aren’t places I know anything about. They’re not places I’d ever go.”

I mean, there’s literally nothing I could buy there, so why would I go there?

Which my editor totally got, but it has me thinking about how different my internal landscape of Nashville looks because I just know there are places that are off-limits to me. Or not off-limits. I’m not banned from them or anything. But we have nothing to do with each other. Those places aren’t for me and I can’t find anything for me in those places.

I don’t really mind that, though. Not in this day and age when the internet makes so many things available.

What I do mind is that there’s no real acknowledgement of their decision to exclude me and whether that’s moral.

Anyway, I guess I’ll learn some about these places.

Great Aunt

My brother called me this morning to say that his grandson had been born and so now I am a great aunt. So far it feels awesome, except that the baby blanket I intended for them is still sitting in my dryer.

Oops. I guess I need to get that mailed.

Not Quite Done

I think it needs a thicker border. I don’t know how much thicker, but you can barely see this and I need the border to pull the sides straighter, which is not really happening yet.

I can’t decide if it’s beautiful or not, because I’m so in love with it. I’m in love with every bit of yarn. I simply cannot believe how satisfying it is to make a blanket from yarn I’ve made.

And it kind of looks like bookshelves. Which I also love and think is perfect for a professor.

But, yeah, it needs a thicker border.

The Long Weekend

Y’all, I recorded a podcast episode, wrote an article, organized my photos for the book, cleaned my house, made some yarn, grocery shopped, got caught up on The Magnus Archives and almost finished this afghan.

Excuse my unmade bed, please.

I love this afghan so much. It’s kind of a mess, I guess, but all the yarn is so beautiful and I love how there’s so much to look at. I really hope the Professor likes it.

Push It Real Good

Yesterday I had such a good Thinking about America day, full of discussions about the American project and whether it can be salvaged.

I’m also listening to a podcast hosted by a wizard. I haven’t listened to it long enough to decide if I would recommend you listen to the podcast or not, but it’s interesting. His being a wizard is part actual magical belief and part performance art.

But a thing I do like about it is his goal is to move us all into a slightly better reality. He claims he’s not powerful enough to do much more than that, but that, if we all act with intention and verbalize that this is what we want and then make choices we hope will lead there, then, tada, there we’ll be.

Which is one of those things that is simultaneously so stupid and true.

But also maybe feels like what I can do about America that will actually have any effect.

Just push in the direction I want us to go.

And Now? Squares!

The Professor’s afghan has veered off in a different direction from the other Bauhaus blanket I made. We’re going to get back to the bottom pattern in a little bit, but first, I want some squares.

There’s something happening to me with this afghan that’s hard to explain, but I want to try anyway. Usually, when I make an afghan, I am following a pattern or I want the afghan to look a certain way.

But with this afghan, in part because I trust the Professor to at least appreciate the effort, I want the Professor to look at it certain ways. Look how this yarn I made looks when it’s this wide, next to this other yarn I made. Look at it running in this direction. Now look at it running in this other direction. Feel how the llama yarn is so soft. Feel all the bumps in the weird yarns.

And there is a feeling I have inside me that I can’t really name, but that I want The Professor and whoever else sees her afghan to also feel when they look at it.

Maybe that’s what it means to make art?

I mean, this could be bad art, too, but still…