NaNoWriMo 2019

There was a time when I thought I would be a writer- as in, actually published and lounging in the lap of luxury created by the sales of my novels. One day, however, I read a short story written by a classmate at LSU and saw what real talent looked like. Re-reading my own submission for that assignment, I saw only the absence of what I thought I possessed. A smart girl would have packed it in then, but I never claimed to be that smart. My heart of hearts believed that if I wanted something badly enough, it would be within my reach. All I had to do was work hard enough for it.

There was a long history of this kind of thinking in my childhood and teen years. My parents were possibly driven to early hearing loss for being subjected to years of flute practice that landed me not even close to a seat in State Honor Band. My ranking was something like, 49 out of 50. Twirling baton was another failure that I didn’t realize was a failure. Starting in fourth grade, limitless hours of practice increased my skill only marginally. There was no shortage of purple-to-green-to-yellow bruises I gained from hitting myself with the thing, or having it fall on my head during toss-and-spin moves. During a Friday night high school football game, with fingers numb from the cold, I fumbled my baton and it tumbled to the ground over and over again. I gave up and walked away. Bad timing for a life decision like that. I walked away and left the other majorette (and close friend) out there on her own. The self-centeredness of this action is something I am still regretful of today. It’s a shame we can’t go back to our 16-year-old selves and give advice. Supposedly, life would be boring if we could do that, but think of the heartaches we could undo. Perhaps we could even undo some of our own.

Back to my aspirations of becoming an author… Because I believed I could do anything if I wanted to enough, in my junior year at LSU, when I met that talented classmate, I submitted a short story to “Legacy”, an LSU publication. The aforementioned classmate did also. Guess which one of us made the cut? I’m proud to write that I can count one of my closest friends as a published writer. Close Friend—you know who you are. I hope you are writing this month.

 


A Life Under Construction

2012 was the last time I posted anything on this blog. As it is with most of us, things in life have changed over these past seven years. There have been losses of course, but also gains. My dear greyhound passed away in 2016. Just two weeks later around 9 p.m., in a sparsely populated rural area, my headlights shone on a sweet little puppy who had a leopard print collar, but no name tag. My immediate response to the look my son gave me was: “Absolutely not. No more dogs”. He pointed out that the puppy would probably be eaten in the densely wooded area surrounding the house we were visiting if we left her outside. Yes, that’s a real thing where we were. With an inward but almost audible groan, I agreed. We approached the puppy, who neither cowered nor tried to run away, and my son said, “Hi, Sweet Pea”. A quote from Mike Wozowski of Monster’s, Inc. ran through my mind. Though I can’t remember it now, it was about how once you name a human child (in this case, animal), it becomes a pet. “Found Dog” notices were put on mailboxes along the rural highway the next day. No one ever called. So, there we were with yet another dog. Maybe Sweet Pea knew that I was sad, or she just took to me for no apparent reason, but she melted my heart that winter. She’s been my little sidekick ever since. 3 weeks ago, she and I started group training sessions with Denise Landin, who owns “Diamond in the Ruff” and it is going great! Sweet Pea ran out of the yard a couple of days ago, but I did exactly what Denise recommended during class and she came right back. It was amazing!

In addition to needlepoint and linen work, surface embroidery has been added to my list of passions. My mother hand embroidered a red rose on a denim jacket that she loved. Working with a needle, thread, ground fabric and a hoop in this particular style of needlework makes me think of her. This doesn’t evoke special memories. It is just neutral.

Another love I have gained over the past few years is knitting. In 1995, I paid for private knitting lessons in California that didn’t pay off. In the 2000s, I tried to teach myself with the popular book that a friend recommended, “Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook”. I bought a kit with chunky, rainbow-colored yarn and size US 15 wooden needles. For those of you who don’t know, those are really big needles.  This effort took even less time for me to give up. Three years ago, a conversation with another friend who knits inspired me to try again. With her help, FaceTime conversations with my dear sister-in-law (also a knitter), a cold, rainy Sunday spent with one of my stitching sisters who also knits, lessons at a local yarn shop, and many YouTube videos later, there was enough support to make me think it would be different this time. And it has been! Early on, my husband witnessed my tantrums of throwing knitting needles and yarn across the couch while yelling, “This is not f*&^’g relaxing!!”, but there was no way I would let this craft defeat me again. The day I watched a Very Pink Knits video on Portuguese style knitting, I was hooked. Using Staci Perry’s pattern, I made dishcloth after dishcloth and loved every minute of it. Soon after, I watched every YouTube video I could find of Andrea Wong, the Portuguese style knitting guru. Technique improvement was gained when I found Andrea’s class on mybluprint.com. This is now the only way I knit.

I’m back and I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you’re stitching, knitting, reading, watching, or listening to in the comments below!

Links:

Quotes from Monster’s Inc.

https://ohmy.disney.com/quotes/2018/06/06/ultimate-list-monsters-inc-quotes/

Andrea Wong’s class on mybluprint.com:

https://shop.mybluprint.com/knitting/classes/knit-faster-with-portuguese-knitting/44397

Very Pink Knits- Knitting Help- Portuguese Knitting Style

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j-1j8Z16OM