Cat Bordhi’s Treasure Forest

Many knitters know about Cat Bordhi’s knitting books: Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles, A Treasury of Magical Knitting, A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting, and recently New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One (released July 20, 2007; more about that book in a future post). Folks who have visited Cat’s web page may have seen that she’s written a novel as well, but I wonder how many have sought out the book and read it?

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Cat works solidly within the world of independent publishing. Her knitting books are published by Passing Paws Press and her novel, Treasure Forest, is offered by Namaste Publishing, based in Canada. Namaste is an interesting enterprise, with a well-defined core philosophy that mostly encompasses nonfiction and I think includes only one novel so far—Treasure Forest, which is part of what Cat envisions as a trilogy.

I think the other volumes will be published when they are ready and not before. Large publishers prefer to have their writers create on a schedule that fits marketing and cash-flow demands. The schedule-driven approach is, believe me, extremely understandable from inside the fray that is the contemporary book marketplace. But one of the reasons I’m in independent publishing is that creativity doesn’t always flourish under those constraints and I believe in keeping alternatives alive that are more supportive of the creative process.

This past weekend, I had the good fortune to read Treasure Forest. After reading a run of good books a few weeks ago . . . a series of discoveries that left me thinking, "Ah, it’s not as hard to find an engaging book as I sometimes think" . . . I had been putting down one book after another, dissatisfied. Yet I needed a refreshing alternative to work.

While waiting for the printer to produce the finished copies of Ethnic Knitting Discovery, I’ve been working on at least four future books, all at different stages (topic for yet another future post). Some of these tasks require simply sitting at the computer for hours at a time paying attention to extremely picky details (for example, chart-making). Some require congenial weather combined with a bit of creativity (for example, taking photos). Some require gathering supplies (preparing to design a couple of projects).

Most of it has involved computer time.

In need of balance, I opened Treasure Forest and began to read.

Classified as "young adult," it’s one of those non-age-specific works.

In a way, it’s about the need each of us has to find a calm, individual home inside our own skins and spirits. And in a way it’s about developing a philosophy of life that can expand to cope with whatever events may befall us. The book does an amazing job of describing meditation and centering and showing how they can become an important part of everyday activity.

Mostly it’s a story about a handful of people faced with life challenges and how they cope, some more effectively and some less so. Knitting and spinning play significant and interesting parts in the narrative: they are part of the core concept, but are not overworked.

I enjoyed Treasure Forest a lot. It was exactly the type of book I needed right now. I look forward to its companion volumes whenever they appear.

Treasure Forest won a Nautilus Award, in recognition of books that "contribute significantly to conscious living and positive social change" (scroll down here for information). This is an award program of similar stature to the awards that some Nomad Press titles, which we publish, have won, including Independent Publisher Book Awards and ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. We know what winning an award like this means! The competition is fierce, and the acknowledgment of our accomplishment feels sweet.

To find Treasure Forest, check with yarn stores, which sometimes carry it; the supplier Cat recommends on her web page (her own local yarn shop); or interlibrary loan.

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