The Writing

20 February, 2017

war bandage


So, friend M. is a talented fiber person (tm). She doesn't just knit, people, she processes the wool from its stinky raw state into things of beauty. She dyes. She spins. She weaves. And knits. And crochets. I suspect she also sews, but I can't prove it. Let us say simply,

She does All The Things.

Sometimes, however, the Things do not turn out the way she intended. While she was dyeing for a show last year, she created a colorway she didn't much like. She brought it to our yoga class (this is a frequent thing, that we bring fiber to yoga. It's like show-and-tell. Sometimes we bring fibery things to the pub, too.) M. frequently brings me scraps of fiber, dyed or undyed, so I can practice my spinning. That day, she brought me a big hank of yellow/blue/cream/red.

"This is awful," she said. "I can't sell this. Do you want it? You can practice with it. Then you can throw it out."

"It's not that bad," I told her. "I don't think it's as ugly as you think it is."

"It looks like someone bled all over it," she said. "Like it's a war bandage, or something."

War Bandage. WAR BANDAGE.

How could I not make something with WAR BANDAGE?

Nous had gotten me a kick-spindle for my birthday, and I reckoned I could learn to use it and try to spin something thicker than the spider-silk fine thread-yarn I seem to produce on the drop-spindle. So I spun the fiber (not quite a thick as I'd intended; evidently I have a predisposition to fine spinning). Then I plied two strands and ended up with a mostly-even DK-sportish weight. Then I wound the result into two balls. WB1, top left, favors its reddish roots. WB2, bottom right, looks like a refugee from Sweden (though you can see the red peeking out at the bottom).

I have a set of felted coasters in mind--

--OK, let me explain that. Years ago, we were in some tourist-trap beachside gift shop and we found a set of undyed plain old knit-and-felted coasters and they were something like $20 each and I was mortally offended. Like, seriously. How f-ing hard could it BE?

(I have acquired many skills over the years by saying Oh, I can do that. Notable exception: pie pastry. For that, we have Trader Joe's.)

--anyway, felted coasters, WAR BANDAGE, we're on.

15 January, 2017

blood in the eye

I woke up today to a burst blood vessel in my right eye. I thought at first, oh shit! Conjunctivitis! But then no, upon examination, that redness had a definite origin-point.

I am not a huge fan of baring personal weakness. (I was going to say in public. But really: at all.) But I'm gonna cop to this one, right now: blood in eyeballs. Bloody eyeballs. EYEBALL BLOOD.

So first thing, no coffee, barely any sentience, and I'm looking at blood in my own eye. I try to look closer, because I'm curious, and I know the eye is not bleeding, not really, and I am not going to die, and I can see fine, and there's no reason to freak.

Reason, however, has little place in my physiological reactions. Almost immediately, I feel nauseous. Two deep breaths later, and I realize the whole breathing thing's getting tough, and also the balance thing, and also there's a freight train in my head.

I am the person who can look at open heart surgery, at my own wounds, at Peter Watts' photo-chronicle of his flesh eating fucking bacteria, no problem. I can gut myself through damn near anything that happens to me, too.

But it's becoming rapidly clear to me that I'm losing this round. All the steady breathing in the galaxy isn't helping. My vision's going all tunnely. I weigh the wisdom of fainting in the bathroom and cracking my skull open on the sink or the toilet  (and scaring my husband to death), or trying to get somewhere softer. I know I should sit down. But on the off-chance this is an actual stroke or a heartattack or something lethal, damned if I'd die sitting on the toilet. Besides. The spouse won't wake up for a while. If I collapse on or near him, he would. So.

I'm sitting there on the edge of the bed next to a snoring husband, all over cold sweat, like soaked, with two hungry and thus very attentive cats circling, head between my knees, hands on the ground, breathing as deep and slow as I can, thinking, what the actual fuck, body! Stop it!

I am also thinking: remember how this feels. This is writing material. 

And so: I have made little flirtatious passes at the mirror all morning. Is it getting better? Is it spreading? Is it worse? Each time, I am forced to retreat and breathe. Now that the spouse IS awake, I can't take refuge where he is. I must slink out here, put my head down, and breathe. (Because while he has sympathy, having experienced vasovagal shock himself once before, he'll say 'why are you doing a thing that makes you want to fall down? Stop it.) He is probably right.

Sometimes I need to remember: however formidable my will, however much control I can exert over my body, I am still a big bag of chemicals, and there are some things I don't get to control. Sometimes the body wins.

Look for all of this in a future novel.

07 January, 2017

achievements unlocked

Skugga, temporarily earthbound
Skugga has discovered the top of the kitchen cabinet. He was eyeing it this morning, mrping under his breath, which is never a good sign. It means he's thinking.

And then--thump, I hear, from my vain attempt to chase wordcount this morning.

What is that? I inquire, and the spouse says, It came from the kitchen.

And lo! Perched 7 feet above the floor, beside the cat carrier (kept high and out of sight, to spare delicate Louhi the horror of seeing it), is Skugga, looking down at me anxiously. Like, I shouldn't be up here, should I? This is like not being on the counters squared, isn't it? Are you going to yell?

I did not yell. I stared at him until, still mrping under his breath, he jumped back down and found somewhere else to be.

The athleticism of cats, man. The counter's already 3 feet off the ground. Then from there, another 4 to the top. I'm impressed. I'm also hoping he doesn't knock anything over up there. The cat carrier is soft-sided, fine if it falls. The extra beer growlers, not so much.

Another achievement unlocked: my SFWA membership was approved. If that seems odd, me writing that under the bit about my cat's jumping adventures, it's because I don't know what to say. I mean, it's a big deal to me. A huge deal. It marks in my mind that I'm actually here, now, a professional in the field that matters most to me. And yet--I am no more, or less, of a writer today than I was yesterday. (Less, actually. Yesterday I managed to get shit written. Today, I am posting pictures of cats. So.) I don't know if I should feel more legitimate or not, but... I do. I also feel like I've gotten myself somewhere totally cool and that someone's going to notice me up there any minute and come stare me back down.