Real books! Freight! Yoga! Knitting!

oKAY! Ethnic Knitting Discovery is a real book! The truck, due to arrive by 10 a.m. last Thursday because I had an appointment at 11, pulled up in front of the house at about 9:58. Just one pallet came here; two pallets went to the distributor’s warehouse in Pennsylvania, which is a good thing because I don’t have room for more boxes here. Well, I’d find more room, as I’ve done for the past two shipments, but the logistics wouldn’t be pretty.

The book is.


I love slitting open the tape on a box (I pick the box that got the most dented in shipping), folding back the corrugated flaps, pulling off the layer of protective cardboard or paper, and lifting out the first copy that I’ve seen of the finished book.

Then I flip through the pages for the first time. They’ve been compressed, almost compacted, in binding and shipping. They give a slight shuffling sound as they pull apart, breathing in air and preparing to become the near-living creation that a book is, at its best.

Thursday was also the first time I’d seen the interior in the two-color printing that I designed: I specified printing in black plus a custom-mixed green (and to get more visual variety I used the inks in various percentages and also printed them over each other).

Hey, it worked!

Until 4 that afternoon, I scrambled to fill the envelopes I’d prepared (addressed and postage-applied) and to label cartons that I needed to get out to the wholesalers. The pub date is today, and my goal was to have copies in every place they needed to be by this morning, if that was humanly possible. (I also have a goal of getting this post uploaded before the end of the day. We’ll see how well I do. I started it at 8 a.m. but I’ve needed to do a lot of other things, too.)

The book’s blog tour also starts today. When we learned the printer would be finishing the job later than we expected, so we wouldn’t have books until pub date, we supplied rough printouts and electronic copies to the early tour hosts. Nonetheless, I wanted to get real copies into all the tour hosts’ hands as soon as possible.

Shortly after 4, I set out for UPS (the farthest shipping center from the house) on my way to Estes Park, Colorado. My daughter loaded her car with the larger shipments destined for the USPS and FedEx.

After delivering the 90 pounds of books in my car to the shipper, I turned toward the mountains.


But first a short conceptual detour: In the midst of all that, I received a copy of a literary magazine called Pilgrimage. It’s volume 32, issue 2.


It contains an essay I wrote called "Above timberline."  (The editor of Pilgrimage, Peter Anderson, also chose to publish my "Almost still-life with pages" in volume 28, number 2. In case anyone reading this is curious about what I write like . . . since mostly I publish other people’s work . . . last week I put one of my essays, called "On moving into the hollow square," on a page that’s part of this blog. I haven’t figured out how to link directly to the page, so I’ve put it in a sidebar item called "Additional writing.")

Anyway, another essay is now in print. I even got paid for it! Writing essays is not a get-rich-quick activity. Neither is publishing. Both are characterized by long-delayed gratification.

It’s always interesting to see who the other writers are in periodicals that have chosen to print my work. Work by my friend Susan Tweit has appeared in other issues of Pilgrimage, as has Bill Sherwonit‘s, and that of other good folks too numerous to mention while I’m short of time.

The new issue has contributions by folks like Aaron Abeyta, Karen Chamberlain, David Ray, and Mary Sojourner. Very good company—only one of whom I’ve met in person. I’d like to spend a weekend visiting with these folks.

What I did get was a weekend in the mountains doing yoga. Similar energy : different form.


I forgot to take my camera, although I wouldn’t have taken many photos anyway. I might have gotten a few of the light dusting of snow on Sunday morning. It rained Saturday. It was really hot Friday. Colorado.

At the last minute, though I didn’t think I’d have time to need it, I did throw one of my knitting bags into the car, mostly because I hardly ever go anywhere without some knitting. It contained the cotton chenille gauge swatch that had decided to turn into a scarf.

I don’t drive the canyon road fast; I aim for optimum speed, but I don’t rush. It’s a lovely two-lane highway, but too dangerous for speeding . . . a fact that doesn’t register with everyone who travels it. It’s narrow. It winds. Rocks fall. Oncoming traffic may be over the center line. The shoulders are narrow and the route’s popular with bikes. And all that’s before we mention flooding, which is rare but a big deal when it happens and doesn’t always give a warning. (Thanks to a fellow I don’t know called Yansa for the photos that show exactly what the road looks like, although they don’t give much perspective on the height of the canyon walls.)

Mostly driving the canyon is a delight. It’s just not something to do thoughtlessly.

Nonetheless, I was running late. My intention was to get to the Yoga Journal 2007 Colorado Conference in time to (1) check in for the final few days that I’d registered for, (2) find my five-roommate lodging (read "economical"), (3) get some dinner, and (4) attend the keynote, a talk I was looking forward to. Timothy McCall was speaking on yoga as medicine (actually, his topic is what yoga has to offer to medical intelligence, and vice versa).

When I arrived at registration, I discovered that it was fortunate I’d thrown a knitting bag in the car. Yoga instructor Cyndi Lee from New York was graciously convening a knitting circle in the library that evening starting at 7 (just before, and then concurrent with, the mid-week keynote). A similar gathering was scheduled for Saturday night.

I faced a difficult choice: keynote, or knitting?

It’d been a long day, after a long week:


Sorry about the muddy type below those photos. I’m not going to fix it . . . too late. The day’s wrung out. The left photo is beginning of weekend, the right is end of weekend. The measurements are in P.P.S., below.

P.S. Yoga folks are great. My roommates were terrific. The knitters were fantastic: lots of different types of projects and skill levels. I left the Saturday gathering of knitters reluctantly, because I had a ticket to a concert by David Wilcox that was raising money for YouthAIDS. I had a sense that the concert was where I needed to be, although it was an extremely hard choice to make. About fifteen minutes after the performance began, I was convinced I was right. Fine songs, a set list that evolved spontaneously, and there was something extraordinary about that guitar. . . . He got it into some amazing tunings—for one number at the end of the concert he dropped the bass string lower than I’d ever heard on a regular guitar and it went there with incredible resonance and not a hint of a buzz. I mean LOW. The music: laughter and tears, sometimes simultaneously. Good.

P.P.S. Scarf notes: The scarf is 7 inches (18 cm) wide and 55 inches (140 cm) long. (It began the weekend 30 inches (76 cm) long.) It has the structure of a seaman’s scarf, a form also used as one of the skill-building projects in Ethnic Knitting Discovery. The scarf’s divided roughly into thirds: stockinette, ribbing, stockinette. There’s a 3-stitch edging of seed stitch along each long edge and four rows of seed stitch at each end. That isn’t enough to keep the ends as square as I’d like—this did start as a gauge swatch, so I didn’t plan its end finishes. The long edges are fine. I’ll probably stabilize the ends with single crochet. Because cotton isn’t very elastic, and cotton chenille just might be even less elastic than other cottons, the ribbing doesn’t pull in as it would on a wool scarf. However, the drape of the ribbed area is different from that of the stockinette sections and should nestle neatly around a neck. What this fabric will really look and behave like, of course, will be revealed after it is washed.


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