Syndactyl Salutations

Thoughts on writing, knitting, and the world around me.

Friday, June 05, 2009

I've Moved

I'm here now: I hope you'll join me. I wanted to get in the swing of blogging again, and a new space to do it seemed necessary, somehow.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Status: Undecided

Time to get the fear rant off the top of the blog. Should have done weeks ago.

Not sure where I am with all of it, to be honest. I am in the process of sorting through my closet, which mainly means that my room is in an even greater state of chaos than usual. I am trying to get rid of things that no longer serve any purpose (whatever purpose that may be).

  • Clothing that doesn't fit or flatter, in a bag to go out.
  • Short pieces of ugly acrylic yarn from an odd Goodwill purchase, in the trash (horrors, throwing yarn away!).
  • Shoes I literally walked holes through, thrown out and replaced (nine years of wear, good run).

And, yet, I can't throw out tiny scraps of fabric from a small quilt I made five years ago (??). I am a work in progress.

Decided not to go to MD Sheep & Wool this year, because I could only have gone tomorrow, and have decided to go to the Fairie Festival instead. I've never gone, but have wanted to for as long as I've known about it. It may rain, there may be mud, but it should be interesting.

I'm having fun with Twitter and have cooled a bit with Facebook, which makes me feel like high school all over again. I see and hear what everyone else is doing, without me. Not the end of the world, and on some level I don't really care, but still sort of discomfiting.

I'm writing letters (albeit very slowly) and enjoying my rediscovery of fountain pen love.

I'm still working on my Flower Basket Shawl and mostly enjoying it, and have, in the meantime, finished two shop samples.

I'm trying to do some writing besides letters and tweets, but am finding myself very easily distracted.

Okay, randomness done, sorry for the incoherence.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Open Letter to Fear

Dear Paralyzing Fear of Failure:

I need to ask you to ease off a bit. I know that you may be trying to protect me (though it may be that you are simply out to get me.), but this grip you have me in is a real problem. I am so tired of being afraid to do anything that could possibly make me feel even a little foolish, or that would cause someone to say “no” to me.

People fail at things all of the time. It’s okay, and generally not the end of the world. Getting a few rejection letters as a result of actually sending queries out to editors will not kill me. And, honestly, the more queries I send out, the more likely someone is to actually say “yes” instead. Right now, by sending out none, I have no chance of a positive response, which doesn’t seem like a very good ration to me.

Of course, writing isn’t the only thing I worry about screwing up. You also don’t want me to call friends to hang out, because you want to shield me from the fact that they might have something going on at the moment I call. It’s really okay. I’m a big girl. There are ways around it, other arrangements can be made, other time can be spent. And if someone would consistently say “no,” then maybe I don’t need to be friends with them after all.

I just bought a sewing book and I want to make a skirt, or at least some napkins, but we haven’t dragged the fabric out of the closet because there’s the chance I won’t be able to sew a straight seam.

The closet hasn’t been gone through, because if I get rid of too many things I’ll have to replace some of them with different things and I won’t know how to dress myself.

The package needs to be sent to M, but the inscription hasn’t been written for fear of writing something stupid or making a wrong penstroke, oh, and for fear that my package won’t measure up to the one she will be sending me.

This is so ridiculous, especially since I could probably go on like this for an hour if I let myself, but that just seems as though it would belabor the point.

I’m tired of being afraid of doing any and everything. I’d much rather have a few spectacularly Technicolor goof-ups than to continue doing nothing because it’s safe. Because, really, doing nothing isn’t safe either. Doing nothing makes me anxious. It makes me sleep until noon and not leave the house. It makes me feel and act like a mouse, not cook, eat fattening food, or not eat at all because I don’t want to mess up the kitchen. It makes me wait to do dishes until no one else is home so that Mark and Chip won’t comment on how I might do them better (not that they’d even DO that sort of thing!).

So, what can I do to change this? Do I need to try to just charge ahead and ignore you, batter against you and hope that I am stronger than you all of the sudden? Do I need to tell someone I’m going to do something so that I have accountability to an actual, living, human being, rather than some weird piece of my psyche that’s way too good at intimidating me?

Please, let me know what I should do, because I’m really at the end of my rope and am tired of being tired and anxious and terrified of anything that stretches me in the least little bit beyond the very narrow confines I’ve shoved my life into over the past few years.

I know other people who have made enormous, colossal mistakes, ones that I can’t even begin to imagine being able to make, and they’re still out there living, interacting, putting themselves out there and making things happen. I want that. No, I need that.

Please let me live, give me a break. I can take some risks without endangering myself, I promise.



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Sunday, March 08, 2009

What Am I Waiting For?

I have less than 20 rows to go before finishing my February Lady Sweater, and somehow I can't get myself to sit down and make it happen. I'm pretty sure I'm worried about the what-ifs: what if it doesn't block the way I hope it will; what if it doesn't fit the way I want it to; what if it just looks bad on me; and on and on. Dumb, I know, but I just can't help it.

Daylight savings day is usually a slow one for me, and this was no exception. I did some reading, sorted laundry to be done tomorrow, bought a journal for a swap I'm doing on Ravelry, but mostly had a low key kind of day. Except that I drank too much coffee early this afternoon, so now I don't know when I'm going to be able to fall asleep. I should probably just go back to not drinking it.

I'll do some writing this evening and try to sift through a little bit of my stuff, as usual. I have assignments for two new articles, so tomorrow I'll begin contacting the subjects and setting up meeting times. I'm getting much more comfortable with this process, and that makes me happy.

I got a pen pal letter this week that I need to answer soon, but I want to read it again and set aside some time to write a thoughtful reply. I love exchanging real letters, but I do tend to do it sort of slowly. Luckily, I have understanding people on the other end.

Tomorrow may be the day to see the Kitchen Kettle Village location of Lancaster Yarn Shop. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the new space.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions about Twitter, I may give it a try soon. I hope everyone had a nice weekend. Be well.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Day!

Er, except for the fact that I didn't actually have to leave the house to work. But snow it did. We got several inches and I decided to just stay home all day. Lancaster Yarn Shop's new location's opening was postponed until tomorrow, so I didn't have to feel guilty about missing it.

I did my proofreading project, which was a small one, and the client stopped by this afternoon and got it while I was shoveling piles of light, fluffy snow off of the steps and sidewalk in front of the house. I knew she was coming, since I wasn't planning to go downtown until tomorrow (which originally she'd been fine with), and had decided to take advantage of the waiting time to get the snow moved. My only concern about my shoveling is the possibility of a super-thin scrim of ice forming on the steps and walk in the sub-freezing cold we're supposed to have overnight. I'll have to look carefully at the steps, and put more salt down, when I leave to run my errands tomorrow. I'm trying to avoid falling again, if possible.

I am planning to do some writing later this evening, but probably won't get started on editing a long-neglected manuscript, yet again. I printed the whole thing out a couple of weeks ago and put it in a portfolio with a blank spiral notebook, but that's as far as I've gotten. I look at it every day (it's sticking out of my document file at an angle), but haven't opened it. I'm pretty sure I'm afraid it's going to be a huge, un-fixable mess that will represent years of wasted creative energy. Sad, I know, especially since it's probably not entirely true. There will probably be plenty that needs chucking, but some that will make sense and be at least workable. I came across a couple of days worth of Nano 2008-that-was-not (one of these years I WILL complete it again!) yesterday when I was uploading stuff from my Neo to clear it for super-mobile typing opportunities that actually wasn't half bad, so maybe there is hope for the other, if I can just convince myself to sit down and start reading, and eventually start retyping.

My editor sent me the early issue of the magazine I write for, with one of my articles in it. She assigns them in clusters, but they don't always end up running in the issue immediately following the assignment. It's validating to actually see work there, with my name attached, but I know I need to do more, to get beyond one proofreading client and one writing client. At this point I'm clearly still swimming in the shallow, hobbyist pool, and haven't figured out how to propel myself to the deep end with the pros.

The lack of momentum/overabundance of fear regarding my writing/editing aspirations explains why I have spent the past week reading the blog archives of Havi Brooks at The Fluent Self (link originally found at Enchanting Juno). She talks a lot about figuring out what is keeping you from doing the thing you know you should be doing, getting past fear, getting yourself out there in ways that feel right and not pushy or obnoxious. She offers workshops and classes and consulting services, but right now I don't feel like I can afford to pay for any of it, so I'm starting of by reading her blog from start to present, as well as what some of her commenters have to say, just to give myself something to think about, and perhaps a better starting point from which to proceed. I don't read entire blog archives for every blog I stumble upon, but I am getting a lot out of this one.

Other than doing business reading, completing a short job, and shoveling snow, it was a pretty low-key day. I started a swatch with a mystery orange tweedy yarn that could become a vest (and about five other things, there's a fair amount of it) if I can get anything close to gauge and if it softens up considerably in the washing. I'm usually not so diligent with the swatching, but there was no way of avoiding it with this yarn.

Enough, have a good evening.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Beginning to Relax

Though, by saying that, I probably just blew it. Regardless, yes my stress level seems to be evening out, and though I still feel like I'm either not sleeping enough or sleeping way too much (sometimes in the same night!), equilibrium seems to be returning and I am so glad.

Since my last post about my work situation, I confirmed that I will, in fact, be working four days a week at the original, Gallery Row,Lancaster Yarn Shop. I had to specify the location, because tomorrow our (well, Wendy's, really) second location at Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse will be opening! Although I will not be working at that store, I do plan to stop by tomorrow to wish Wendy well and check out the new digs. I have high hopes for the future of both shops, which will likely fill slightly different needs based on location and clientele. If you are local or are going to be, please stop by and say "Hi." Or any other greeting you'd like to exchange, as long as it's pleasant.

I've worked in, and not especially enjoyed, retail before, but this is different. It's working with products I use and am excited about, and I get to help people one-on-one (beyond just ringing up sales or finding the right size of x or y) and meet lots of interesting knitters who live in my community! What's not to love? So, there's that.

I also find that I am writing more, daily, even. Most of it is definitely first-draft work that may well stay that way, but the point is that it is returning and I managed to clear off a spot on my desk so that I can sit and get something done like an adult. Also, I was in touch with the editor I've been writing for the other day, and it looks like some assignments may be forthcoming. Also, I have a proofreading project to do tomorrow.

It may not seem like a lot, and there are definitely things I still need to figure out: still way too much clutter, still worried about a sick friend, still trying to find balance, not to mention making a decision to use "still" a whole lot less.

As for knitting, FLS has a completed body and part of a right sleeve. I'm counting on it growing in the blocking, and if washing Coronet was any indication, it will.

Here's a question, anyone use Twitter, and if so, should I? I succumbed to Facebook, but don't know if I need yet another social networking thingy grabbing my time and attention. Thanks for your input.

Enough with the rambling, have a good week!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tired of February

I told a friend today that I was tired of February specifically and winter in general.

I'm mostly tired of being cold all of the time, of having to bundle up every time I want to go anywhere, and of the gas bill reflecting the struggle to stay warm. Yes, as a knitter, I can appreciate cooler weather for the wool wearing and working comfort, but enough is enough!

Spring fever is obviously setting in, because yesterday I was pretending to plan a trip I can in no way afford, and today I took four books out of the library and three were volumes of travel essays. None of the four was the book for the Pen Fetish Crafters (on Ravelry, of course) read-along; I got the call this afternoon that they had received it, so I'll probably pick it up tomorrow or Thursday.

I am at a crossroads once again, of course (my life must take place on some level in what I imagine a souq to be like, where intersections are close and frequent and there are new distractions at every turn). My fill-in time at my old job appears to be done (though I need to confirm that) and I'm still not sure what is happening in LYS land, other than the fact that I'm working Friday and Saturday, and most likely at least part of next Friday for First Friday.

I'd still like to find some way to be able to work for myself, but I have a hard time putting myself out there. If someone gives me a project or assignment, I'm great; I'll do it diligently and thoroughly and get it in when you need it. The problem comes with the going out and seeking new clients or assignments, or sending query letters to pitch ideas. I worry that I won't cut it, so I just don't do it in the first place. This is not a recipe for freelance success, or success of any other type, for that matter.

I'll give it this week and maybe next to find out if my current options will work out long-term, then I may have to call the temp agency and see if they have anything to put me into so that I can be sure to have food, clothing, and shelter for the foreseeable future.

On a brighter note, I'm nearly finished with the body of the February Lady Sweater, and am happy with the way it's knitting up in the Lamb's Pride.

There are other things I thought about adding, but I think this has been enough random for one evening.

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