Saturday, December 16, 2006

Knitting vs. Writing

What different brain cells are used when I knit, as opposed to when I write?

I'm wondering, because for years I've let the knitting, the crocheting, go. I used to put together long, involved projects--bags made out of fine cotton yarn in many colors, afghans, sweaters, scarves. At the same time, I wrote my dissertation, a few poems, and so forth.

Now, it seems that when I do knit, or crochet, I don't have the brain space to work on writing. Even this is coming hard tonight, after making two hats today. And starting a scarf (that will probably never get finished. I'm terrible at finishing).

Maybe it's just a confluence of things: yarn work, pesky cats, vacation, some reading of Dickens (Oliver Twist) and some listening to The Name of the Rose (heavy brain drain no matter how it's sliced), the fact that we watched two musicals tonight (Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair), two days off from blogging, a crashing Firefox program (when it doesn't load, I give up and shut down, don't write anything here), and a kind of hangover from finishing the semester.

I don't know why I spend money on yarn projects. Most everything I make is semi-ugly. The furry scarves I've made for the last few years have all unraveled on my friends, or gotten lost at the backs of their closets. I start projects and never finish them, and when I go looking for needles to start a new project, I find half finished squares of indeterminate use all over, tangled into themselves and all the needles. Looking at all that mess, I get the same knotted feeling in my brain that I used to get in years 2 and 3 of dissertation writing.

By the same token, I don't know why I spend time on poetry projects, either. I can't finish those, and (as some readers have said, and these readers' voices tend to linger long after their bodies have disappeared) they are semi-ugly.

Penelope stitched and unstitched her sampler, putting off the suitors and waiting the long 20 years for Ulysses to get back from his adventures. When he finally arrived, disguised as an old man, she didn't recognize him. She made him do tricks to prove himself--and in a rage, he pulled down their matrimonial bed. Or something like that. Maybe, getting a look at what she'd been waiting for, those long 20 years, raveling and unraveling, she thought no fucking way.

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