When I was a little girl I played the piano. (Well, I still play the piano but the errors that were charming when I was younger are now just…well, sucky piano playing.) I had this Russian piano teacher with one bad leg and she used to strike her cane on the ground like a metronome while you were playing. I was scared to death of her. Back then…maybe now, though I like to think that we are less barbaric as a culture, when you completed certain levels of The Royal Conservatory you had to go perform and be judged at the Kiwanis festival. My piece was “Fur Elise” I practised and practised and practised. Determined to not screw up. Determined. The day of the exam came and my Mum and the Russian piano teacher took me to the thing and all the way there I had this bad pain in my stomach. We got there, and there was this huge crowd in the auditorium (or maybe it was three people…it felt like a huge crowd) and I listened to the other kids play…and then it was my turn.
I took a few moments and begged the Russian piano teacher to let me skip it. I begged my Mum. I told them I couldn’t remember the music (A lie. The music is burned into my memory banks for all time. I will be a thousand years old, I will have forgotten my name and I will still remember how to play Fur Elise. Trauma is like that.) I told them I couldn’t breathe (That was true), I told them that I was going to die. (Possibly not true.) My Mum told me it would be Ok and the Russian piano teacher told me that I “must lern to performe diz musik to be feedink my soul”. (That was a lie too. My soul is fine.)
Me and the horrible clenching pain in my stomach took to the stage, I played the first two bars…and then I screwed up. My colon attempted to exit my body…and despite this I ignored all the warning signs, smiled at the judges, felt all the colour drain out of my face and I started again. I played the first two bars…and then in a moment of hideous vibrancy… I threw up all over the piano.
You can understand then, that last night as I made my way toward the Museum of Textiles for the book launch where I would give the looming 20 minute speech…that when I felt that same pain in my stomach I panicked a little. I imagined myself walking down the stairs with my knitting and my speech, placing them on the podium, looking out at my friends, family and all the knitters, and then upchucking suddenly and completely in a way that people would be talking about on blogs for time immemorial.
I was so sure that this would be what happened that when I did actually stand in front of the podium, I moved my sock in progress to the side.
This is what I saw.
Crazy eh? (They are holding up their knitting for you to see.) It’s like I woke up in a Salvador Dali painting. I talked (despite the persistently surreal feeling) and talked (despite the horror of realizing that time had completely ceased to pass and I was going to be there forever in some agonizing loop of trying not to throw up or say arse.) and then it was over. Then it got fun.
I signed books…I saw babies (Hi Lara!), I talked with knitters by the dozen. I forced asked Canadian Rock Stars to pose with knitting.
That’s Andy Maize, Ron Sexsmith, me (wine in hand. Clearly having a much better time) and Fab knitter/guitar player extraordinaire, Colleen Hixenbaugh who’s claim to fame in knitterly terms is that she helped my Joe find me yarn when By Divine Right toured China. (Please also excuse the rather perplexed look on Ron’s face. “Hold a sock?” We’re just trying to show the sock a good time Ron. Let it go.)
Not confused by the sock holding at all (longtime readers will recall that they have held a sock before) are Lily Frost and Jose Contreras
Finally, my favourite part? The Wednesday night stitch and bitch at Lettuce Knit changed venues.
Thanks to everybody who showed me such a good time (and each and every one of you who didn’t think I would throw up) , especially the Museum of Textiles, who were completely brilliant. Must go have a lie down now.