Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Harlot's wisdom

I was struck by this bit of the Yarn Harlot's latest post:

During this phase, this scary part, I am drawn to knitting. I love that it's easy to finish. Easy enough to balance almost all of that other stuff. One row, one stitch...there's your accomplishment. It's black and white. Either you have knit or you have not, either the pattern is right or it is not. Knitting has this reliable rhythm that comforts a freaked out obsessive compulsive writer who's edging their way through the grudge match that is finishing a book.

This is precisely why I've been knitting so much in the 8 months since I learned. I knit along and I can see the progress. I apply some design creativity, and the results come out in front of me. It's not like my thesis, which my advisor will just refuse to read or start randomly complaining about something that I wrote three years ago and she's read (theoretically) sixteen times since then without complaining. It's not like hunting for a job, where I have virtually no control over the process and everyone close to me wants some kind of result or other. It's not like shopping, where I wrestle with the difference between myself and sizing models, where people just say "oh, you can't complain about that -- you have a nice figure!" without realizing that all I want is a suit that buttons up the front without swallowing the rest of me.

Knitting is an eccentric way of getting out the twitches and the anxiety that high-stakes, long-term work brings out in people. If you see me knitting, you might think I'm odd or a nice little housewife (if you want to see me laugh until I fall over, this is an excellent thing to tell me). If you see me fiddling and moving about, you are more likely to think I'm off my rocker or off my medication.

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