The phrase "perseverance furthers" recurs frequently in the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes. I use this as a mantra and have for years. Not intentionally. It just comes to my mind on a regular basis. It’s a helpful reminder for projects that take a long time, a description that seems to characterize many of the things I decide I want to do.
Speaking of things that take a long time, we still have snow.
The photo was taken last Friday, but not much melting has occurred since then and more cold (with snow) is predicted for the weekend. I have shoved the snow in that photo off the car and dug our means of transport out again, of course.
There’s a nifty thing about this snow. Although it took a long time to excavate a parking spot from the drifts, and I can only leave the house in one direction because the spot for the car is surrounded on three sides by piles of snow so it’s kind of like parking in a big chute and the driveable portion of the street is only two tire-ruts wide, I also feel like my car’s really safe within its private, handmade, custom-sized space.
This afternoon when we walked the dogs, the day felt almost balmy. Very slick underfoot, though, even more than it has been, and the piles of white-with-gray stuff have not diminished.
In this snow-surrounded state, I find myself counting progress in small increments that add up, by teaspoonfuls (or shovel loads), to major accomplishments.
While visiting with relatives over the holidays, I knitted a bunch of swatches that will show what the color patterns will look like in Ethnic Knitting: Discovery, the book I am working on that will be published next fall. Here they are, pinned out on the blocking board. What a lovely feeling to have them turn from curled up little pseudo-washrags into nice, clear samples!
Here’s another major accomplishment for this week. I’ve worked on the book for enough months, one bit at a time, that it is now, temporarily, off my desk. It’s even out of my office. I’ve turned this:
and shipped it off to a copyeditor I trust. Copyediting is one of the skills that I learned years ago, but I send books that I’m publishing to be copyedited by sharp eyes that have not already seen these pages so many times that everything begins to blur.
Meanwhile, I am turning my own copyeditorial attention to three freelance copyediting jobs.
It’s weird, but it works. Sometimes it’s best to ask someone else to do a job you’re quite good at yourself.
I also have a meeting next week with this book’s illustrator. We’ve been poking at the illustrations since last summer—talking about them, planning them, formulating ideas, making sketches—but it doesn’t make sense to prepare final illustrations until most of the editing has been done. Otherwise there’s too much risk that something will get drawn wrong, or that we’ll end up having to do a lot of back-and-forth because we discover we need two steps in a sequence rather than one, or four instead of three, or any of an infinite number of possibilities that make the job of getting the right pictures in the right places harder than it has to be.
In the days of pasting up books by hand, I would occasionally have to modify a drawing with an Xacto knife while we were getting ready to send the pages (called "boards") to the printer. In these days of electronic images, I have moved a cable on a drawing of a sweater with cut-and-paste, and I’ve erased pixels and redrawn other bits to fix errors in illustrations. Sometimes I’ve even made up whole sequences of pictures out of bits of other images. It’s so much better to have the drawing done correctly in the first place, if that’s humanly possible.
Wow, am I ready to have illustrations for this book! It’s so much fun to get the visuals into the layout file!
And also a cover! The cover designer will be showing us ideas soon. That’s a magic time in the preparation of a book.
I’m also glad to have this particular book leave my office—in a nice neat package—for a few weeks! The transformation for this particular title appears far less drastic than most, because the author sent me well-organized materials and there aren’t a lot of other components that need to be tamed. (Arctic Lace, by contrast, contained lots of items of many different types and the photograph of its raw materials would have been . . . well, not just one photograph.)
By the end of next week, we need to provide our distributor with a
whole package of information about this book that doesn’t really exist
yet. We have to tell them how many pages it will have, what it will
cost, what size it will be, and how many copies will be in a carton.
Talk about guesswork. . . . We also have to write the catalog copy.
A few weeks later, we need to provide the real cover image (which I haven’t seen even first thoughts for yet). And not many weeks after that, we need to have sample pages, with illustrations in place, to begin the marketing.
Lots is happening around here, one tiny task at a time. No one day feels particularly productive, but we travel miles by inching along.
Meanwhile, I have begun to knit again on the Norsk Strikkedesign–inspired sweater. It didn’t travel with me over the holidays because it’s become too large a project and because the swatches needed to be knitted. But every morning I knit two rounds on the body before I get out of bed. That’s not a lot of progress, but it’s so much better than none.
I have photos of the next phase of that sweater and will talk about it here soon (as far as I can predict right now!).
Our wonderful vet, Dr. Julie Gamble, brought our nineteen-year-old cat back from the brink of beyond yesterday. We’re grateful.
Incremental actions. Perseverance furthers.
The cat looked kind of like a curled-up old washrag, the result of an imbalance in the several old-cat conditions that we generally keep under reasonable control. She’d gotten dehydrated. She’s had two treatments with subcutaneous fluids—a batch yesterday, and another today—and now feels like eating again (so she is also ingesting her meds). This morning she stalked over while I was doing yoga and head-butted me to demand a pat.
Incremental actions. Perseverance furthers.
One thing at a time.