Wednesday, December 14, 2005

thank you, aimee bender.

So everyone knows I'm obsessed with knitting and crocheting, and have been for a really long time. My skill level is getting such that I can do some good work, and I'm reading some things that are showing me that soon, with enough patience, I'll be able to design as well. Plus I've been thinking more about the fiber arts conceptually and as high art, wishing I could take a textiles course next semester. Moreover I've been reading the Best American Nonrequired Reading, which is rife with stories sadly uninteresting in their "I'm going to write a very predictably structured story but make it a little quirky or put some drugs in it and that'll make it different"-ness plus the really quite embarassingly awful introduction by Beck, who tries to make himself out to have grown up in a developing nation with no books. Beck, I'm pretty sure you're from LA. Seriously. So, despite my slight distaste for this book, and my growing distaste for a certain Mr. Eggers (despite my admiration for what he's done for books-as-objects), I couldn't help but be moved by this passage from an Aimee Bender story included in the collection:

"During the descent, she gave the doily to the man across the aisle, worried about his ailing son, and the needlework was so elegant it made him feel better just holding it. That's the thing with handmade items. They still have the person's mark on them, and when you hold them, you feel less alone. This is why everyone who eats a Whopper leaves a little more depressed than when they came in. Nobody cooked that burger."

And oh, how my heart sailed at how she'd captured what it is I love so much about craft. People may laugh at my proclivity for rescuing handmade things from thrift stores, but they're documents. The crocheted skirts and handmade sweaters that I've managed to find the past few months literally document the movement of a woman's (I presume) hands translated through fiber into fabric. That to me is almost magic. Stacy Doris believes writing is a manual act, and I'm just coming to see just how alike these two things I'm compelled to do are.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

the "war on christmas"

it's actually quite true. and not just among the liberal pinko commie wackos out here on the west cost. between bums asking for money and cracked-out ladies yelling at the bus drivers, it seems nearly everyone's switced to "happy holidays." almost secular. rockin.

write what you know.

at the fungus fair

mycologists abound, eating potato chips except shiitake. symbiotic relationships they took a lichen to each other. smell of burnt sugar except lactarius. metabolizing insects from the inside out that's bizarre. so many woodchips has the forest been displaced? texture of beefsteak except extremely rare specimen only six per year. this is focus this is zoom. rorschach except spore prints. don't eat the amanita seriously don't do it.