Yesterday was a special day. It passed with no fanfare, and nobody remembered and nobody sent flowers or congratulated me and there was not a party. I thought about telling someone what day it was, but I thought they might think it was stupid, and so when they didn’t answer their phone I was sort of glad. I was a Juno widow this weekend, Joe was off doing his music thing, and so I didn’t even talk about it with him. The whole thing went unnoticed, except by me.
To be fair, I didn’t think that anyone would remember, or call – I mean, it was the anniversary of something very, very big in my life, but it’s not I like I thought anyone would have marked down the date, so when nobody remembered, and nobody said anything, I wasn’t surprised. I celebrated alone, quietly marking the occasion in my heart, and when I woke up this morning, I decided to tell you.
Ten years ago yesterday, I held the first book I’d ever written in my hands for the first time. March 15th, 2005 was the official publication date for At Knit’s End, and I sat there and held the little book in my hands and I didn’t even know what to do with myself. It was amazing. I started to write about all of the things that happened after that, but then I deleted it all, there’s too much to try and tell you, and besides you’ve been along for the ride.* I will simply say thank you for liking that little book, and for making it at home in your life. Ten years later it is still in print, and on Kindle, and there’s an Audiobook, and there are seven other books, and it all started that day, and with you, and I can’t describe how much that has meant to me without getting really mushy, and Mondays make me sort of fragile anyway, so let’s skip it. Instead, let me tell you about two things that happened after that day – both times that I had to write in that book. The first time was that day. I knew that at some point I’d be taking the book out in public, and to events, and that I would sign at least a few of them, and that there would be other copies, and all in that moment I didn’t want to ever lose track of which one was mine, my first one, and I took a sharpie, and I opened the book and I wrote the words “Author Copy” on the inside. It was a profound moment for me, and one that I haven’t ever forgotten the feeling of. I have done it with the first copy of each of my books since then – and besides it feeling like a properly ceremonious thing to do, it’s come in handy. One time during the last tour I was on, I read from the book, did the signing, and then went to leave, being reminded by the clerk to pay for my book as I went out the door. Only the words “Author Copy” on the inside saved me $14.99.
The other time was at the first book signing I ever did. I was having such a profoundly bizarre out of body experience that I couldn’t think straight. It was like floating while being struck by lightning multiple times, and I was awed, frightened and thrilled all at once. A knitter stepped up and I greeted her, and asked her name, and proceeded to write it in the book. Her face shifted awkwardly, and I realized I’d done something wrong. Book signing lesson number one: The question “What’s your name?” should be followed by “Shall I make this out to you?” The knitters name was Judy, but it was a book for her friend, and while it would have been great it her friends name was also Judy, it totally wasn’t, and here I was, at my first book signing, and I’d defiled her book with the wrong name. I was so upset and embarrassed that I took the book, put it under the table while exclaiming that it was nothing, grabbed another one, and apologizing profusely, re-wrote the inscription. When the signing was over, I paid for the book because I couldn’t see why the shop owner should have to pay for the fact that I was an idiot.
I have owned a copy of this book for ten years now, with this written in it.
It’s time to let go. If your name is Judy, and you’d like a copy, drop me a line. The first Judy wins and I’ll mail it to your house.
*I like to believe, in moments like this, that The Blog is made up of the same knitters it was that day. I know it’s not true. The Blog is ever amorphous and shifting, although it’s not all that perceptible from here. I know there are some gone, and some new though, because last week two of you wrote me to tell me that you think I’m good at this, and should consider writing a book.