I was surfing Amazon and saw a thumbnail cover that said “How To Draw” with “Inky Wonderland” under that, and I thought, “Inky Wonderland. What a wonderful name!” Except that was part of the title. Now I want to name a character Inky Wonderland.
What book inspired or delighted you this week? Also character names, find any good ones?
I’ve been cleaning (I’ll be cleaning until I die) and finding old, unfinished crochet projects. Some of them I look at with “What was I thinking?” but some of them are great and should be finished, like the shawl I started in Gloss DK and this amazing Schoppel Wolle Edition 3 yarn called “English Garden,” which made me think of Jane. And then there are the new things I’ve started, one of which I managed to finish (a shrug in worsted, but still, I FINISHED it) so I’m feeling very productive.
How’s by you, person who makes things?
I was thinking the other day that the most valuable and important posts I make here are these Sunday happiness posts. They’re valuable because they make us think about the good stuff that so easily gets drowned out by the bad, and they’re important because sharing them spreads the peace and joy as we read about others’ happiness, like a contact high. I would also defend Good Book Thursdays to the end, and I think Working Wednesday is good because we get to stop and say, “Hey, wait a minute, I ACCOMPLISHED this,” but the ones we really need are the happiness posts.
So please tell us what made you happy this week. It’s important to us.
Today is Hug A Sheep Day.
I’m a big fan of sheep because of yarn but also because they’re fuzzy and huggable and my rescue pup Mona looks like a little lamb. I hug Mona a lot. She was the runt of the litter and was born without kneecaps in her back legs which means she can’t jump, but she can run like the wind, or at least a very small rabbit, and she’s happiest dog I’ve ever owned and I adore her, so today for me it’s Hug A Mona Day.
Feel free to define “sheep” as most befits your life and hug something close to you.
What good book kept you up late this week?
I want to start painting again. Actually, I want to start doing mixed media again, but I’ve decided to try to renew my painting skills first–haven’t had a painting course since the 70s–and I got the Fifty Paintings book that somebody on her recommended. I need something that’s a low bar and a 5×5 painting seems to be that.
So what did you start this week? Or finish? Or just work on?
The thing about writing love stories when you’re a naturally cynical person with disastrous relationships in her past is that achieving the willing suspension of disbelief necessary to convince the reader that they all lived happily ever after is really difficult. I have found, in trying to do this, that the most useful thing to remember is that we’re writing to promise mature love. Immature love/infatuation is easy to write, but everybody knows that doesn’t last. Mature love, the connection beyond conditions, is hard to write, but if we can get that promise on the page, it’s what powers the romance.
So when I turned back to Nita and thought, Okay, it’s a romance, but they’re only going to know each other five days, how the hell am I going to foreshadow mature love in that time?” And then I was reading the Gil Cunningham mysteries which made me think of Renaissance poetry (those mysteries are pre-Renn, but still, ye olde times), and I remembered my favorite love poem of all time, John Donne’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning.”
I was sitting in bed the other afternoon reading a good book, and I looked up because a cloud moved away from the sun, and the light poured through the trees outside my window and through my window, and Veronica sighed in the warmth and snuggled into my pink-flowered quilt, and I thought, “Right now, in this moment, I am happy.” It’s a mantra for me now; the rowboat of my life is currently besieged on so many sides by so many alligators, my country is beseiged on many sides by so many alligators, it’s too easy to get caught up in feeling helpless. But my life is also made up of many small things that add up to a good existence, and as long as I take the time to notice them, consciously, I won’t forget that overall, I have a very good life, a life worth noticing in its detail, a life worth defending from alligators. It’s a little Marie Kondo, a kind of thanking that aspect of your life for its service–I’m thankful I have a bedroom with windows on treetops so it’s like sleeping in a treehouse, I’m thankful I have a great mattress and squooshy pillows and blankets and a pink flowered quilt, I’m thankful I have a good book to read, I’m thankful I have three snoozing dogs who make me laugh, I’m thankful I have a daughter who writes me e-mails about Bloom County and a Krissie who writes me e-mails about rewriting being a pain in the ass, I’m thankful that my car Agnes did not run her battery down even though I accidentally left the ceiling light on–but mostly, right now, in this moment, I am happy.
How were you happy in the moment this week?
Today, I have decided, is Choose Your Own Holiday. Today’s possibilities are:
Evaluate Your Life Day
I Love Yarn Day
But since this is Argh, I think we can make up our own days from now on. And my day today is inspired by Mark Bradford. There’s a great article about Bradford–massively successful artist and philanthropist–in the Washington Post, but what really got me was the last paragraph of his interview:
“Some days, it ain’t great,’ he says. “Some days, it feels like wallpaper. Literally. I can show up and turn on the lights and start dipping that paper in water. But if you’re not in the room when stuff is not going well, you’re going to miss it when it is going well. I can work with incredible doubt, I can work with incredible insecurity, I can work with flashes of confidence where I understand what this work is when it unfolds to me. But I can always work.”
Everything about that rings so true to me. So my day today is “I Can Always Work Day.” And thank god for it.
Thank you very much to whoever recommended the Gil Cunningham medieval mystery series, I’m really enjoying it. Plus I can kind of justify it as research since the books take place about twenty years before Nick gets killed in that sword fight, so it’s a win all around.
What did you read this week?