The Book

I’m slowly working my way through the comments by my first beta reader, who did such a good job that I’m still kind of reeling from how much better my draft is in the parts where I’ve incorporated her comments.

I got asked by another group to come speak to them, but I can’t do it on the day they want, so we’ll have to see if that comes together in the fall.

It’s very satisfying, though, to see it slowly becoming better and better. Just this morning I was re-reading the first couple of parts and, shoot, it’s jammed full of things.

I really hope you all will like reading it. I have a shit-ton of footnotes, but I had to have some place for all the snark.

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The Sister I Never Had

My parents have this friend. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned her before or not, but she’s in her mid to late 50s and she calls them “Mom” and “Dad” and they tell people she’s their daughter.

I’ve met her a couple of times and she doesn’t strike me as a con artist, so whatever.

I made them an afghan a million years ago, back when I was learning. They gave it to her. Which, I mean, I gave it to them. They’re free to do with it what they want. That part, on a scale of “I have a hair in my mouth, but I can’t seem to grab it” to “I stepped on a Lego in the middle of the night,” I’m putting down at the stray hair end.

Y’all. They told her that I wanted her to have the afghan.

She was deeply moved and grateful and touched. Like I had made this grand gesture to show I also thought of her as a part of the family–which I do not.

That part has me so fucking irritated with my parents. I feel utterly misrepresented to this woman who, now, through no fault of her own thinks I’m very fond of her.

And then my dad had the gall to try to read me the birthday card she gave him, because he claimed she wanted him to. I told him that didn’t sound right, that whatever she wrote to him was for him and didn’t have to do with me. He seemed irritated and brought it up a few more times, but god bless, I’m not going to… I don’t know what. Be any more embroiled in the bullshit of this than I have to be.

And then, AND THEN, he sat here in my chair, in my house, saying how he knew that everything nice I did for him–like, oh, specifically making afghans–I really intended for my mom, so that I wasn’t doing anything special for him, because I didn’t care about him.

I said, “Yep,” which ended the conversation, because a.) I think he may really think that. Which is bananas and go get on an anti-depressant, sir. 2.) So I’m supposed to sit around and… what? …beg him to believe that I love him? That the nice things I do for him I’m actually doing for him? I mean, my god, I can just do shit for my mom if I want my mom to have shit done for her. I don’t need to go to the trouble of all that subterfuge. And I sure as hell can’t prove I love him through doing nice shit for him or telling him if, indeed, he believes those gestures and words are lies. So, I guess I’m just supposed to sink back into a dynamic where I try and try to do the thing that will appease him, but it never works, because nothing will appease him, but he feels a little better because all my focus is on him?

And I don’t like him when he sits around bickering nonstop with my mom or running me down or complaining about the state of my house or trying to rope me into friendships with his friends or whatever.

So, yeah, if he was picking up on that, he wasn’t wrong.

But to sit here and try to make out like I don’t love him? Why in the hell would I put up with all of this bullshit if I didn’t love him?

It’s like, dude, either this is love or I’m a fucking idiot. And if you can’t recognize this as love, then all I can gather is that you think I’m a fucking idiot.

The Visit

My parents were here this weekend and I had a fleeting thought on Saturday that, if they wanted to move down, I could always kill myself before they came. And then I laughed, because, damn, that’s the kind of thought you have to call your shrink about.

I’m embarrassed to even write it out, but I want to remember that I had it.

But then I practiced my “what am I feeling?” exercises and decided that what I was feeling is unhappiness. They fight all the time, not even big blow-up fights, just constant sniping. They complain about their friends. They complain about their families. They talk constantly about people I don’t know, but never give enough context for me to know why I should care.

My house is never clean enough. I don’t have the right things they need for whatever. And they seem congenitally ill-equipped to understand that I have other things going on in my life. That I might have had plans this weekend. Or any weekend.

Which is all fine and manageable in small doses.

But the thought of that being my life, if they moved down here because they need someone to watch over them? I can’t do it. They’re going to have to go to my brothers. It was one thing when the Butcher and his family were also here.

But the idea of me, alone, trying to manage them while also maintaining my own ability to function and to have a life outside of them?

I love them and I feel like a really shitty child for not being able to do this for them. But, damn, I couldn’t do this for them.

The Yarn

It’s funny to me how twisting it into a skein makes it look like a legitimate yarn, even if I can nitpick it apart like it’s my job.

I told my coworker that I was just going to be sad and weird all week and it made things better. I haven’t needed to be sad and weird, but I felt like I had permission to be so if I needed.

In that spirit, I’m just going to say that I don’t enjoy the afghan I’m working on, which means it’s dragged out into month three, when I should have been able to finish it up in four or six weeks. I’ve never put something aside before, but I’m so tempted to put this aside.

Or, frankly, maybe I have and I just need to admit it to myself.

This Single!

I kind of want to stay home all day and just admire this yarn. I spun this half in a fractal spin, but I’m doing the other half in a gradient spin:

Then I’ll ply them both back on themselves and end up with two different yarns in the same colorway.

I feel a little bad for people who spin for sweaters, because you have to try to get a lot of the same yarn. Where as I just get to dick around with smaller batches of different stuff to see what will happen.

Also, I bought myself a pound of bare wool.

I’m having fun imagining all the ways I’m going to dye it. But I also put some aside to spin up just like this, because that also seems fun and cool.

Sad, Continued

I wisely gave myself a project–to make some yarn for my friend, K. She said she likes purples and reds. I made her this two-skein gradient. I may have overdone it on the shiny bits.

The red is mostly BFL and some mystery wool, with some Merino. The purple is all Merino. And I still remain frustrated by Merino. It’s clumpy. It’d dense. I don’t spin it very well.

I just feel like there’s something I’m missing about it. Do I need to card it 100 times? Should I only blend it with things? People fucking kept these sheep secret, so amazing is this wool. Why am I immune to its charms?

Sad

Today I see the Butcher for the last time before he moves to Arizona.

I don’t really know what to say about it. I feel a sharp empty sliver in my chest. I feel alone in a way that makes me kind of dizzy.

I’m old enough to know all will be well. This is the feeling of driving to college for the first time, of moving to a new city. There is something on the other side. Good things on the other side.

But this part still feels perilous.

Yarn

Maybe I’ll feel different when I start using it, but right now, I am stunned by how beautiful this yarn is.

There are still so many ways I suck at this. I’m still not incredibly consistent. I hurry too much when putting my dyes together and then I’m always pissed that they don’t look any different than they always do.

Even so, it’s so beautiful.

I didn’t do any twist setting last weekend, so I have a lot of yarn that needs it this weekend, which is fine except I don’t have a lot of places to hang it up to dry.

I’m still deeply in love with BFL, but I got some Targhee/bamboo/silk blend in my Paradise Fiber box this month and, whew, I like the hell out of that, too. Dyed up nicely, spun up nicely, feels real soft.

It Continues

I told y’all how I am having a weird sense of things coming together just right for this bombing book, in terms of me being comfortable in front of crowds and able to engage an audience.

Yesterday I had to give a brief speech that was basically like “Here’s how to buy this book. Here’s some background on the series. Here’s how excited we are. Please buy it.”

And three people complimented me on it.

In unrelated news, though, the Butcher needs to be in Phoenix next week. Which means I am going to end up being the one to finally clean out his goddamn bedroom. Am I allowed to box it all up and mail it to him in Arizona?

Because I am tempted.

It’s been two years of “I’ll get over there. I’ll do it.”

I also think I’ve decided on a pattern for the afghan I’m going to make for myself out of the yarn I’m spinning right now.


Sad, but Happy

The Butcher got an amazing job offer.

In Phoenix.

Yes, the one in Arizona.

I’m really, truly bummed. I mean, I’m having such a good time with my nephew.

But it’s so much more money than he’s making now and I think he’s going to be great at it.

I’m just sad. And I’m saying it here so that I can be all in enthusiasm-wise in person to him.

This is the kind of shit we were working for–to have full adult lives that made us happy.

But I see him at least once a week. I’m going to miss him so much.

Hellier

Am I alone in having watched this? I had it on while I was spinning and I wanted to talk to someone about it, but no one I know has seen it.

But I’m also afraid that, like, if I go to Reddit to see what people are making of it, they’re going to point out all the ways it’s stupid and ruin my positive feelings for it with their logic.

Anyway, it’s up on YouTube and I think it’s the best depiction of how most supernatural experiences work. The way it’s both really boring and kind of nonsense and deeply moving. But really personal and I’m not sure very compelling from the outside.

Saturday

Y’all, I got so much done yesterday. I got some really good revisions done on the manuscript. I dyed some fiber. I spun some fiber. I plied some yarn. I put together a chair. I took all the cardboard in my house to recycling. I rolled down the windows so the dog could bark at the world. I swept.

And then, of course, because I have anxiety, I sat around and worried that I’m in some kind of manic phase and developing a new mental illness.

But I actually think, maybe, knock on wood, I’m just having a nice time.

Asa’s Guy

Last night, I went to a lecture by Don Cochran who successfully prosecuted Bobby Frank Cherry, one of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombers. At the end of his lecture, he showed an editorial cartoon of Cherry in a cell, wearing a t-shirt that read “Segregation today. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever.”

It gave me chills because Asa Carter, Wallace’s speechwriter, wrote those words. Asa Carter was also Bobby Cherry’s Klan leader in 1957, when Cherry attacked Rev. Shuttlesworth.

Pinch, Pull

I’m trying to figure out how to make rolags on the drum carder. The problem is my technique, because all the elements are there–the fiber is on the carder, the carder is keeping the fibers aligned, I have two long sticks to pinch the fibers in–but I still kind of suck at it.

But I did make some rolags last night. Not great rolags, but rolags. And, y’all, in order to keep your yarn from getting clumpy, you cannot pinch too hard on the rolag. You have to keep your back hand loose. And, with your front hand, you don’t need to pinch too hard because the way the rolag is set up keeps fiber feeding into the twist.

So, when I first learned to spin, I was pinching with both my front and back hands. The twist came up the fiber and when I felt it in my front hand, I opened up the pinch and let the fiber draw into the twist, keeping my back hand pinched up so the twist couldn’t get into the rest of my fiber.

This is, turns out, a great way to get lumps.

But something about the rolag made me realize I’m always pinching too hard. And, you don’t have to draft every section of fiber if you’ve already pre-drafted. You might, indeed, have some sections of fiber that are already the right thickness. Just let those sections pass through the pinch.

And that’s true for all spins!

So, my making rolags technique still kind of sucks but my learning to spin rolags technique seems to have improved my spinning game in general.

Craft Room

The transition from den/junk room to craft room is slowly happening! I have these awesome shelves. I have a sturdy repurposed desk for my drum carder. I have a repurposed rolling TV stand for… I’m not sure what, yet, and a couple of chairs on their way.

The Butcher and I tried to put the new spinning wheel together. We did… not great. But it sure is pretty.

Pictures of Us & Things

I had coffee in the morning with S. and I was telling her my desire to turn the den into a craft room and I don’t know why, but I left coffee, went to Home Depot, bought myself the kind of shelving that I want, went to lunch at Steak & Shake and decided I didn’t like any of the chairs that the local furniture places were showing online, so I came home and bought myself a couple of chairs for the craft room.

Then I started emptying that motherfucker out. Whew. I am so sore today. And there are still two computer towers, a huge old monitor, and a TV in there, but the Butcher is coming over this morning to help me take them to recycling. And put the shelves together, I hope.

I took these pictures while I was taking a break (before the mop broke. Did you know you could break a mop?)

I really hate pictures of myself. I just feel like I look fat and gross and it bugs the shit out of me. But here I am, unshowered, no makeup, covered in skunked beer (long story, but what the fuck, den?), dirty, fat, and cute. Like, this is cool to look at. It’s okay. It’s not gross.

Also, I set the twist in a bunch of yarn, so here’s my bathroom.

Can you just wear yarn around as jewelry? Do we have a consensus on that?

Hobbs and Shaw

Here I am, only a human person with human person capacities and The Rock is out here making Hobbs and Shaw into the romantic comedy of the year:

“Going in to Hobbs and Shaw, they still have a very biting chemistry, and they are polar opposites of each other in every sense of the word: from where they’re from, how they talk, what their likes are, what their philosophies are, what their fundamental core values are,” Johnson previously told EW. “But yet, they still have this magnetic attraction that happens between them that the universe brings them together, certainly against their will.”

Mark my words, they give Shaw a sister for Hobbs to end up with because Hollywood will not give us the Hobbs & Shaw romance we deserve. We’ll watch a character just like Shaw, but female, slide in and take the spot the narrative has generated for Shaw, because we both desire for The Rock and Jason Statham to fuck in front of us and we can’t admit that desire to ourselves.

This is one of the things I find most fascinating about the best Jason Statham movies. They’re dude movies. The audience for them is 100% supposed to be dudes. And yet, Jason Statham is always getting stripped down in them. And, more importantly, the camera lingers all over him. The audience is supposed to look at his body and supposed to enjoy looking at it.

But there’s always some tacked on, extraneous woman.

It’s like, if the male gaze is supposed to let men have a fantasy where every woman is for their consumption and every action hero is a male power fantasy–do her, be him. A lot of Statham’s roles–or I guess a lot of Statham’s directors–are constantly positing the question “but don’t you want to do him a little bit, too? I mean, look at his chest or his shoulders or whatever” to their male audience.

And yet, to mask the fact that the films are creating a space for men to desire Statham, there’s always some extraneous woman.

As for me, The Rock, Jason Statham, and fucking Idris Elba? If that movie theater isn’t 60% women, I don’t understand this world.

The Bombing Talk

It went well. Really well. The audience was super engaged. I wish I’d had more photos, but the photos I had were good. And people seemed to get my points and be along for my inferences.

One woman told me it was the best presentation they’d ever had, which, frankly, I find hard to believe, but it’s super sweet.

I’m starting to feel like this could be a big deal. Like everything is coming together in a way I don’t quite know what to do with. The topic is good and interesting. My writing is informed, but engaging. I’m knowledgeable and engaging.

This could be something.

That’s thrilling and terrifying.