Monday, February 05, 2007

While I Was Out

Hello again.

I had a long rest, and thank you so much to everybody who sent good wishes. I'm told I'm better now, and I hope so, because Resting Quietly is a royal pain in the kazoo. More than once I was put in mind of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper. However, unlike the poor lady in that story I was allowed to knit and so did not attempt to merge with the bedroom walls out of sheer boredom.

Not that the knitting itself is much to shout about. Here's the lot:

Sick Knitting

Another sock, obviously–once again in the same pattern and these and these. Why a third pair? First, because it wasn't too taxing on the mind or the fingers. Second, because at this point I can work it from memory and even my bookcase was verboten for the duration.

The other thing is a new altar cloth, using the pattern for the first one on the edge. In the center, in progress, is a panel out of Barbara Walker's second volume. She calls it "Scrolls," but I'll be a waltzing dakini if it isn't a dead ringer for the Endless Knot, one of the auspicious symbols of Buddhism.

That's it for knitting, I'm afraid.

Since I don't more to offer you, I'll answer a few questions that came in via comments and e-mail after I wrote about cataloguing my library.

Q. Do you actually have two copies of Maurice or did you make a mistake?

A. Yes, I have two copies of E.M. Forster's Maurice, but one of them is in French. It was given to me by my first true love, and is dear to me. Alas, the ending is just as implausible in translation.

Q. Can I borrow your copy of [title]?

A. Absolutely, provided you fit into one of the following categories:
  1. You are a member of my immediate family.

  2. You and I are presently involved in a committed, long-term relationship and I'm not planning on breaking up with you in the near future.

  3. I have an enormous crush on you which I hope may develop into a long-term relationship and I'm trying to seduce you with literature.
If you are in category three, and nothing develops, and the book is not returned in short order, I will hunt you down and kill you if necessary to get it back.

If you fit into none of these, I'm afraid the answer is no. I'm very Polonius about my library, and usually prefer to be neither a borrower nor a lender. Having another person's books in my care gives me horrible jitters, lest something should happen to them.

Q. Have you actually read all of those books?

A. Of course not. Have you ever tried to read a Baedeker guidebook cover-to-cover? However, anything I haven't read through to some great extent, with the expectation of picking it up again frequently, doesn't stay on the shelf very long. Space is too precious.

Q. How does a book earn the tag "beloved"?

A. There are many ways. It may be a book that reminds me strongly of a particular place or time I hold dear. It may have had a profound impact on my worldview or my writing. Most likely, no matter what, it's a book I've read so often that to be without a copy is unthinkable.

Q. Why did you label certain authors with the tag "pompous ass"?

A. Because I find those authors come across as such. It doesn't mean I necessarily dislike the book. Alden Amos's Big Book of Handspinning is an example. I love the book, and I even love his sense of humor–until his coyness gets in the way of his scholarship. When he remarks that "most" Lazy Kates are unfit for their intended purpose, but doesn't bother to say why, or which designs do work, I want to smack him.

Q. How dare you say that about Madeleine L'Engle, you heartless sonofabitch?!

A. Because I'm sorry, but I've never liked her books. At all. I read A Wrinkle in Time in fourth grade because it was damned near compulsory, and by the fifth page I could tell she was going to try to slip a badly-disguised Sunday School lesson past me. C.S. Lewis did the same thing, of course, but I liked his writing enough to make allowances. And, frankly, I find that in her later works she went completely off the deep end and wrote book-length inscriptions for sappy greeting cards.

This doesn't mean that if you love Madeleine L'Engle I think you're a moron. It just means our tastes differ on this point. And wouldn't life be boring if we always agreed on everything?

Q. Okay, smartypants–so why do you keep all those books by Madeleine L'Engle if you think she's a pompous ass?

A. I'm letting them appreciate. They're all signed with personal inscriptions (long story), and one of these days they're going to help me finance a house. Thanks, Maddie!

Q. How the hell did you make it through Middlemarch?

A. I'll tell you the same thing I tell everybody–even when they don't ask. Skip the prologue about Saint Theresa. When you finish the book, with tears in your eyes, you'll go back and read it and understand it and very possibly read the entire book over again...I did.

43 comments:

badmommy said...

So nice to have you back!

marie in florida said...

love the endless knot pattern. i mean to have it tattooed on my person sometime in my future. i'm very happy that you feel better.

DianeS said...

I still find it interesting that so many of your favorites are also some of mine, mainly because you are much more, well, literary than I am.

A weekend spent knitting cures many ills, or at least distracts you from them.

SallyT said...

Glad the rest helped you. You are blessed to have someone around who knows when you need it and insists on it. You are a treasure and it is obvious that your beloved is too.

Anonymous said...

You're back! Great! (giving you a smooch on the cheek)

Laura said...

I don't find anything implausible about the ending of Maurice.

*buries head in the sand*

sweetfigs said...

It's good to have you back.

Ann said...

Missed you!

Mel said...

Well, I'm allowed to blog, but I've had to put my knitting on hold for a bit. I think you got the better deal. I'm glad you got some rest, though. It was indeed needed & deserved.

Carol said...

Glad you're back and feeling better. I don't want to be gauche and ask what was wrong, but I can't help but think it has something to do with optical apoplexy after entering in ALL THOSE BOOKS.

Of course, being a lemming -- or perhaps recognizing a cool website when I see it -- I have begun entering my own personal library. So far we've got 33 titles in common, including pretty much everything by David Sedaris.

Is the altar cloth to be used at a certain baby's christening?

MonicaPDX said...

Welcome back the umpteenth! [g]Glad you got rested up, and hope you don't get back in that condition again. But... no reading?! ::horrified look:: I'd go mad in white linen, indeed, and probably defenestrate myself. If it were possible do to any real damage from a second-story apt., that is. Or chew through the person who forbade me my reading. Even if they were my best beloved. I'd feel guilty after, but... Get thee not between me and my books.
L'Engle, yeah, but LeGuin's worse, to me. With her it's simply for boring stories, though. My primary passion has been SF/Fantasy from age 5 or so, so I feel I have some legitimate basis for comparison. I never could see the attraction, even though I've been accused of being disloyal because she's a local author. (Seriously. WTF?) On the other hand, I totally agree with your point, "And wouldn't life be boring if we always agreed on everything?" I've never understood fellow readers (TV/movie watchers, whatever) who got apologetic if they found out you didn't like something they loved. Who says I have the right to dictate to anyone what they should like? I'm just sayin' I didn't like it. Geesh. Lighten up. ;)

FiberQat said...

I'm glad you're getting better. Take care.

KellyD said...

BIG HUG!!! I'm glad you are back and feeling better. The world is back in place now.

KellyD said...

ACK!! I was 13th!!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back... your rave about Charlene's book made me decide to buy it, and finally it arrived this week, so I may be about to do that exact sock. Too exciting! Mary

Knitting Addict said...

Glad to have you back!!

You're a luck man to have someone who loves you enough to make sure you take time to take care of yourself when you need it!!

Please, don't do too much too quickly -- we don't want to lose you again!

LOVE the alter cloth and the socks! I find myself knitting the same pattern quite often with socks, too! Just so I don't have to think too much.

Monique said...

Lovely knitting. Great peek into your sordid and orderly mind. }:-)

I see brown. Lots of brown. What happened to your love of colr and knitting with it?? Get thee back to the vivacious colors please.

Mims said...

welcome back franklin! so do we get to hear the long story about the personal inscription in a later post?

Suzanne said...

Thanks for the tip about Middlemarch. It's one of the books I'm reading for my English class this semester. What a fantastic read so far. (I'm "pausing" at the 500 page mark to shuttle through Jane Eyre.)

I'm always thrilled to find someone else who thinks it's a wonderful book. Because, it is. Really.

Liz said...

Welcome back... I'm sure that sock pattern has mysterious addictive qualities; I'm onto my third pair of those too...

Robbyn said...

I have seen the "Endless knot" in a slip-stitch mosaic version and hope, eventually, to produce a cable version if for no other reason than that it's a beautifl design element.

That it has other associations doens't hurt a bit either :)

Riin said...

I read Madeleine L'Engle's books when I was a kid and thought they were great. I started rereading A Wrinkle in Time as an adult, and I couldn't get through it. Gack, I didn't remember it being so religious.

Rest is necessary. I'm home with another migraine, which I've concluded is my body's way of telling me "You WILL rest, unless you want to end up in the loony bin!" Glad you're back. Be well.

enallagma9 said...

No piss, hardly any vinegar. Good boy!

koffeefiend said...

I see Make Way for Lucia in your library. I love it too. Try A Month in the Country by J L Carr; quiet fiction of English country life. Knitting as therapy--I've heard it works wonders.

roggey said...

Good to have you back, you were missed.

I'm quite mad for you just for this post (never mind the groovy knitting you do). Exactly my sentiments on loaning out books.

Well, except the part of actually loaning them out.

Lucia said...

I probably can't adopt you, can I? Dang.

I read a lot of L'Engle's books, starting with AWIT. I do like her writing and a lot of the conceits in her fantasy, but her plots don't hang together too well. And her attempts to write teen-girl-comes-of-age stories are, well, juvenile. (I have to admit I liked them well enough at the time, when, in my defense, I too was juvenile.)

Back to knitting... your altar cloth is beautiful. I think I'm getting the lace itch again.

David said...

If this is piss and vinegar, you need to drink more water and spice up your salad dressings.

Although the lending library rules were a nice touch.

ingridknits said...

It's lovely to have you writing again, sending good wishes your way (and a huge compliment on the weekend knitting - it's gorgeous)!

baxterknits said...

I love (!) Middlemarch, even with the beginning.

kitkatknit said...

I could never stand Madeleine L'Engle or CS Lewis. Love the socks.

brewerburns said...

Glad you're back. I like Middlemarch too.

Twilight said...

Welcome back.

I recently ordered Big Book of Handspinning myself and I'm more curious to read it now.

I've tried resisting spinning since I have so many projects and things to do but it just keeps calling to me.

Kirsten said...

Glad you're feeling better, Franklin. I missed your blog while you were gone.

I'll have to try that with Middlemarch. A good friend of mine absolutely adores it, but I couldn't get through the first reading.

Kathleen said...

Hey Franklin - I am woefully behind on my "Cast On" listening and only just finished episode 39 yesterday. I had to drop by and tell you how much I loved "The Romney". Brilliant! Genius! Hilarious! I'm sure my constant giggling unnerved my fellow subway passengers no end. You rock.

Carol said...

Welcome back.

Laurie (Moo!) said...

I love the socks. The pattern is so simple that it's beautiful.

Glad you're feeling better.

Anna van Schurman said...

I was a Great Reader as a child. (Oh, who am I kidding? I was until I finished the advanced degree.) Totally with you on Wrinkle in Time. Everyone kept telling me I was supposed to like it, and I just didn't.

Bill said...

About some books I'm happy to adopt a live and let live policy: for example, A Wrinkle in Time. I liked it, even with the semi-religious themes (something for which I have no patience in Mr. Sunday School CS Lewis), but I hold no brief for it and don't mind that others don't like it.

Middlemarch: I loved, loved, loved it. One of my fondest reading memories was one golden fall day with an early martini and late sunshine and Middlemarch. But I can understand people not liking martinis, or Middlemarch. Their loss, but what can you do?

But about other books I can be evangelical. Lolita: don't like it? Get out of my sight, for we clearly have nothing to talk about.

I get even worse when you tell me you actually liked a book I hold in deep contempt. I know that literary taste is not a test of character, but I can't help myself: people who like bad books must somehow be made to see the error of their ways.

Probably best not to talk to me of books.

Kate said...

I'm with you on authors and individual taste. I'm always terrified when someone pushes a book on to me stating that I'll love it because it changed their life and the way they view the world, etc. I'm very happy for them but find it highly implausible it would do the same for me. Last time I suffered through reading a foisted-upon-me book, I ended up having to buy the person a new copy of it... it tore along the spine when I threw it across the room!

Buzz said...

I have to add that I have been lucky enough to borrow a book now and then...i did at one point fall into 2 and 3, but even now I get the odd tome. Howeve, he knows where I live so.....

Kate said...

I read that C.S.Lewis didn't start out to slip a Jesus-story into the mix. I guess it was just so much a part of his inner landscape, or whatever. Of course, by the time he has Aslan appear as a lamb, he's obviously made a clear decision along the line there... still, every time I read it I think that going to Narnia after you die might not be so bad...


I'm about a quarter of the way through Middlemarch. I treat all prolouges and ESPECIALLY introductions with suspicion, especially ones that coome in any sort of 'classics' series. They often tend to be the sort of thing you should ony read when/if you fall head over heels with the book and want to know all about it and its author. Many a book will not stand after a read-through of the introduction, nasty, parasitic things that they are.

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Here, I do not actually imagine it will have effect.

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