March 15, 2006

No big deal

This morning dawned bright and early (one way in which life with a five year old is different than that with teens. The five year old gets up in the morning where you have to hold a mirror under the teenagers nostrils around 11 to see if they are actually alive) and Hank went to the front door and got this.


I don't talk about it much, but I write books. Knitting books. Silly knitting books, just little wee ideas about knitting, like in this one....

"At Knit's End : Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much" (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee)

or longer stories about knitting, like in this one.

"Yarn Harlot : The Secret Life of a Knitter" (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee)

No patterns, no help, nothing useful at all...just thinking about knitting and knitting humour. (I know. Don't ever try to explain this genre at a party. Say you write books and then pull the fire alarm to get out of there before they ask you what kind. Trust me.) From time to time I get an email from someone who wonders why the books aren't plastered all over the blog and why I don't mention them all the time....and, well. I don't know why. I'm certainly proud of them, and I certainly don't think that there is anything wrong with standing up and saying so when you've done a big job fairly well. As a matter of fact, I regularly applaud other people, especially women, and especially knitters, who give their work it's proper due and take credit for their own intelligence and achievements.

I think my reluctance to do the same for myself comes from some very early lessons taught to me about things like being humble, not blowing your own horn and pride going before a fall. Or perhaps my family's belief that if your talent happens to be writing books, it doesn't make you any more special than someone who's talent is accounting or working a factory line. It could also be that while I have been extraordinarily successful in this life in all the ways that matter...I have many friends, a very good family, healthy children....yarn. I have never been very successful in the ways that society measures it.

My house is very small, my clothes are ratty, I can't seem to accessorize and I don't get my hair cut often enough...and since Joe and I both work freelance, money is always, well. Interesting. A lot of this is my own fault, money wise, it was important to me to stay home with the girls (I knew I wouldn't get paid for that), it was me who decided to do LC and Doula work on a sliding scale, and some of it was the Joe and I both getting completely wiped out of our jobs at the same time when SARS rolled through Toronto. Really, waking up one morning two years ago, making a decision that I would take a stab at my goal of being a writer (what the hell. I was unemployed.) and having it go so well, being this lucky, having all of the stars aligned in a way that let me not only support my family in a way that I love, but realize a dream for myself.... I think I worry that any minute now the planet is going to notice that I'm getting so much of what I've always wanted, realize its cosmic mistake and send me right back to where I belong. This fear is compounded by knowing with absolute shining certainty that much of the good fortune I have had in the last year is the product of timing and luck, for which I take no credit. There are many smarter, more talented writers starving in crappy basement apartments all over the world who deserve to do better.

So when something like this happens, when a book I wrote appears in my mailbox from the printer with charming notes like "hope you like it" written on it I'm completely torn. Part of me wants to scream "Look! A book! With my name on it!" and throw a big party, and part of me wants to say. "There. Good job." and quietly go back to my knitting before Mr. Washie breaks down to remind me of my place.


I have positioned the book with the latest skein of Joe's Gansey yarn so that Rams won't think I'm losing my focus. I know where her priorities lie. In fact,


a closer look, just for Rams. The book that it lies upon is my third. (You can get a better look here, though Amazon still has the old cover and title.) I did some checking this morning and looked back at my archives and lo and behold, it was March 15th of last year, exactly one year ago today that I held my first book in my hands for the first time. What a crazy 365 days. I'm so very grateful to everyone who has contributed to this wonderful journey and kept the whole thing from being a public humiliation.

This book has stuff like the first two in it, stories, ideas, funny things about knitting...but it is also the first book I've written that pretends in any small way to be useful. My sock recipe is in there, some stuff I've found to be helpful...


and anything I could think of that I could tell knitters before they learned the hard way.


It's still that bizarre "knitting humour" genre that you can't discuss at parties, but I'm proud of it and I hope you like it, and I hope that it doesn't disappoint. It should start turning up in stores next week.
Now move along. Nothing to see here.

(PS. There will be a tour, it will be in April, August and September, and I'll give you the details when I know 'em.)

Posted by Stephanie at March 15, 2006 3:34 PM