That grinding noise you hear is rust working its way out of the joints in my cerebral cortex. My friend the Prominent Anatomist insists there are no joints in the brain, but I don’t believe it. I can feel them in there most days, creaking.
I have to stop every so often and oil the works to keep them from freezing up, which I neglected to do this month. Therefore, the extended silence.
And there has been so much to relate.
A talk at the Yarn Market News conference in Chicago. A talk at Knit in Public Day in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. A signing and a class at Loop, in Philadelphia. Two appearances in New York City at Knitty City and Annie and Co. And a visit to a live taping of my all-time favorite National Public Radio show, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, at which a group of knitters presented Mo Rocca with a quite gorgeous hand-knit sweater and I gave him a copy of the little book. (There’s even a video of that one, if you scroll down to the bottom of the WWDTM page.)
And I’ve been knitting, though mostly on projects that’ll be published elsewhere.
Just couldn’t write about any of it. Could not.
When you are accustomed to writing at least with fluency, if not elegance, realizing that you've suddenly gone dry is terrifying. It’s like sitting down to knit, and finding your fingers have melted and run down the drain.
Every writer suffers from block now and again. It’s an occupational hazard. But this wasn’t a block, it was a wall of blocks. A big wall, like that one in China. I was on one side, and on the other were all the ideas. I could hear them having a marvelous time, blowing kazoos and playing tag. But I couldn’t get over the wall.
My usual tricks–scribbling randomly in notebooks, talking into a recorder, beating my face against the shower door–fizzled like a pack of wet matches.
I started envying people who aren’t usually sources of envy. Like the guy who hands out flyers in front of the subway station. Sure, I thought. You have to stand in the rain shilling for a mariachi band that’s paying you a quarter an hour. But you don’t have two unfinished articles staring you down, vulturewise, from a perch just above the keyboard.
In the end, this time I simply had to give up the struggle and wait.
Thank goodness for knitting. Knitting helped. When I couldn’t follow a noun with a verb, I could still follow a knit with a purl. It felt like progress, production, industry. It kept my fingers busy while the circuits in my brain rebooted. I know it's far more traditional for a writer to turn to drink, but I'm too much of a lightweight to handle Thunderbird and too cheap to pay for good champagne.
(Just imagine if, instead of glugging whiskey in excess, that nice Mr. Hemingway had thought to cast on for a mitten. I bet The Old Man and the Sea would have ended properly, with a round of mojitos and a fish fry.)
As to what I've been knitting and lots of other knitting-related chitchat, tune in tomorrow. And no, I’m not kidding, I mean tomorrow. I'd write more, but I have to take Dolores downtown for a go-see at Veterinary Practice News and she's getting antsy.