This Year

I’m perhaps a little late to the “2016 round-up” train, but I guess there’s no harm in plowing on with it!

I’m checking in here after my first visit to the Glasgow Women’s Library – I applied to join their book group last month, and this is the first sessions I’ve been able to make it to! We were reading Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a very interesting early 20th century utopian novel. I’m hoping that going along will help me continue to challenge my reading, especially when it comes to reading non-genre fiction, which can be a bit of a weakness of mine.

This year, I will also be embarking on an alphabet reading challenge. In knitting, we use the term “stash-busting” to talk about trying to work through all of the unused yarn in our house… I guess I see this second challenge as a stash-bust for books, hoping that finishing B and saying “what do I have in the house by a C-surname author” will lead to me reading more books I already own instead of hoarding new ones.

I’m still working four days a week, and have a dedicated writing day. On the one hand, it’s been really good to have a dedicated writing day, and I have been writing every week. On the other hand, it’s somewhat frustrating to have a tantalising view of how much more creative work I’d be getting done if I could afford to spend less time working for money.

I realise this is a common problem in non-professional writers – but I suppose that doesn’t mean I can’t now understand it emotionally instead of knowing about it logically. Especially since I often feel self-conscious about how much I write – for me a carefully squeezed out 500 words, some of which I may backtrack on next time, is a good session, and more than 750 is a great one. It would take me over a year to write another novel from the start, and that’s assuming I write every week and don’t spend time and words deleting, re-doing, re-planning.

I am taking a break from my novel, since I’ve been having trouble editing it, and have been having fun writing a new – well, what began as a short story but is beginning to look like a novelette, at least. I’m hoping I’ll be able to return to my novel and finish it by the end of the year, but writing this right now I’m not sure if that will happen. I worry that I’m somehow missing my novel’s “moment” by doing so. When I started writing it in 2014, setting it in 2011 was only a few years back. The world has changed so much in 3 years – at what point to have to begin working in periodising it, or rework it for the new contemporary?

I shall leave off with a few pictures of my current on-the-needles knitting. I am hoping to finish at least these two projects by Edinburgh Yarn Festival, which I’m very excited for – I’ve finished a lot more knitting in the past year than I remember, and I’m looking forward to going back!

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This pattern is The Love Of Spiders, by Melanie Berg. It’s knitted in a mix of Rusty Ferret Yarn Doll (the purple) and Rainbow Heirloom Solo Light (the black). I wanted to challenge myself to knit things with ~more than one colour in them~, and this is one of the results. The colour combination is also, perhaps, partially a result of my abortive plan to knit a three colour shawl in black-white-purple to make something patterned after Miss Muffet from Undertale. Alternately maybe it’s just my teenage emo kid heart coming through. I’m listening to Welcome To The Black Parade right now, guys.

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Another result of my attempt to do more with colour, this is the Anchor Steam by Thea Colman in two different colours of A Verb For Keeping Warm Pioneer that I picked up on holiday. For the non-knitters: this may look less complicated, but is harder. The Spiders shawl uses only one colour per row because of Witchcraft Reasons. In this one, you need to switch colours within the same row. And that is TERRIFYING (or at least, seems so until you try it. Then it’s okay.)

I will update after Edinburgh Yarn Festival to fulfil the craft side of this blog – and with luck will be able to report that I’ve finished my new story, too.

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