Editor’s Block

I got past my reader’s block in July and quickly moved into the next phase: editor’s block.  In this phase I stared at my 99,000 word manuscript and tried to figure out how to eat the editing elephant.  I would scribble word changes and deletions because I didn’t know what else to do.  I paid good money to learn how to write a query letter and sent my first 10 pages to an agent.  (This was through Writer’s Digest and I thought it provided great insight into the publishing process.  If you are almost done with editing and want to try conventional publishing this is a great resource.)  My assigned agent, Mary C. Moore, gave me some good tactical advice:  vary my sentence structure; keep prose active; don’t over explain smaller actions of characters; be aware of slow pace; and, most importantly, “Keep going with this, you are on the right track!”

 

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Armed with things to do, I made a goal to finish editing by Christmas.  I only needed to edit 3 pages a day.  Time passed and I didn’t edit so the goal became 5 pages per day.  Time passed and I realized I had no idea what I was doing.  It was like I had a plan to swim the
English Channel.  All I needed to do was swim an additional 100 meters every day but I didn’t know any strokes, didn’t have a swimsuit, and couldn’t identify water.  Despondent about my book progress and a host of other things I turned to my family therapist.  She told me to do two things: come out of my writing closet and find a writing group.  I’ve talked with other bloggers about writing groups, and while not enthused about the idea, I felt like I needed to find some experienced writing peeps to help me.  Minutes into my Google search I found Lighthouse Writers, a local “community for writers and readers.”  I joined, and then on a whim physically visited their space.  This wonderful woman stopped what she was doing, and joyfully took me on a tour of the amazing historic mansion that houses their program.  Lucky me, a four week session was just starting, and in it was a class called The Big Edit which promised to “turn the amorphous process of cleaning up your draft into a manageable practice.”  Gasp!  Of course it was full, so I got on the wait list.

Providence does not put all these magical pieces in place just to snatch them away, so four days before the start of class a space opened. Eleanor Brown, the author of the New  York Times bestseller The Weird Sisters is the teacher and in the first fifteen minutes she laid out a process that made total sense.  She explained how we would edit in at least four passes.  We’d start with the Big Picture, move to Characters, then to Pacing and end with Copy and Line Editing.  (This means that I don’t have to worry about commas until the very last editing pass.  Hip hip hooray!)  This process isn’t quick, but I am okay with that.  I’ve spent years on this book.  I can invest another year so long as I’m moving forward.

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Not only has she given me a process to follow that makes total sense, but she’s also promised to help us discover our strengths and weaknesses as writers.  Through the class we’ll understand if we are good at theme, story, character, or pacing.   She’ll give us tips for adding editing passes for things like dialogue, humor, flashbacks or description that will help address weaknesses.  We will make a plan which allows us to stay focused and organized while developing a feeling of progress the same way we felt progress when writing.   We even have homework!  (I’m excited by this even though anyone who experienced my school days knows I hate homework!)  Here’s a picture of my first completed assignment: developing a theme card that I can hang above my writing space to remind me what my book is about.

In 2015 I came up with a list of nine things I needed to do to get my book published.  I’m still on step 2, having vastly underestimated the scope of the editing step.  But I have a plan now and cannot tell you how amazing that feels.  I have book hope for the first time in ages.  There is work to do, and I know what that work is.  I finally agree with Ms. Moore’s statement, “Keep going with this, you are on the right track!”  Time to get to it.  I’ve still got more homework.

Reader’s Block

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I wrote a novel.  Well, I wrote the novel right hear on planet Earth, not far way, but it was finished over fifteen months ago, which is a long time ago.  As a novel writing novice, I thought the step from first draft to publication was a small one.  Following the advice provided by Stephen King’s On Writing, I sat down to read my whole book in one sitting after giving myself a nice break.  I had my pen ready, and prepared to make a few brief notes as I fell into my book.

I’m a great reader.  I love novels.  Short novels, long novels, well written, good plot, and why-the-hell-don’t-I-stop-reading-this-drivel novels:  Twilight series, I’m looking at you.  I love them all.  No iota of my mind was worried about this step, the reading of my book.  Oh, silly me.  Reading MY book was nothing like reading A book.  I would sit down to read and become stuck in the land of commas, verb tense, and sentence structure.  Hours would pass and I would have “read” a few measly pages.  This scenario happened over and over.  I couldn’t read my own book.

Finally in July inspiration hit.  You can email files to your Kindle and read them on your device.  I have known this since I got my first Kindle and used to send technical reports to it when I wanted to do a last cut for readability.  (If you want to try this for yourself, check out the Send to Kindle page.)  The solution worked.  Unwilling to mark up my Kindle screen with annotations I was able to read my book.  I also did this while I was on vacation so my access to paper and writing implements was limited.  Gloriously, many of the pacing issues I thought I had disappeared when I wasn’t distracted by note taking.  At times my book was good, and once or twice it was really good.  I did come up with a few big picture things I wanted to fix, which I think is the point of the first big read.

Hooray!  Problem solved.  Now all I had to do was edit, which in On Writing takes two measly pages.  You look for big plot holes, awkward character motivation, and ask big questions while you edit.  After two drafts you bestow your book on your ideal reader.  Easy peasy.  Folks, let me tell you that I have been struggling with how to execute those two pages for five months now.  I have begun to understand that King’s book was called On Writing and not On Editing for a reason.

I needed help, because I’d moved past Reader’s Block into Editor’s Block.  Have you ever found yourself in either place?  If so, I’d love to hear your solutions.  Keep reading and I’ll share how I am clearing out the blockages.


My first of a series on reader’s and editor’s block.

A Knit Dilemma of Presidential Proportions – Epilogue

It’s over.  Rather, they are both over.  The human election and the toy election are done and that makes me sad.  I’m still processing the results of the human election, but that is a different post.  Today I had to clean off my desk to start working on non-Tiny-Knit writing projects again.  Many toys have already gone back into circulation, and the knit creatures have been discovered by the cats.  I found Tiny Knit Zombie Trump in the corner with his hair ripped off – some feline was pissed and wasn’t afraid to take it out on the little green guy.  Before the favorite characters were put away my daughter and I made a final scene to let you know what to expect from the toys throughout Tiny Knit Hillary’s term in office.

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Barbie, Knit Snowman, and Knit Owl are very concerned about the number of toys that didn’t vote, and the quality of the voting that did occur.  They are going to use the R2D2 supercomputer to help them model how to build a more informed electorate for the next election.

The Santas have loaded up their car with tiny knit Trump hair, ballots, and Santa’s very heavy sack.  The hair is going to the toy Smithsonian museum and the ballots to the toy National Archives so that the importance of this election can be remembered.  The North Pole is on alert that the naughty and nice list is coming in Santa’s sack and it’s gigantic.  Never has Santa seen so much naughtiness and niceness.  It’s going to be a tough job to get everything processed before Christmas, but the elves are prepped and ready.  Mrs. Claus has even stepped up her baking early to ensure that everyone will be will properly sugared up for the analysis.  The next big season is all on the Santas, and they are not going to let the toys down.

Tiny knit Vice President Zombie has put his acorn cap back on and is going to focus on the environment and climate.  He’s built a team of creatures impacted by environmental change plus Lego Green Troll to help him determine what policies need to be considered.  (Lego Green Troll is still not sure what the black and white creatures are doing on this green team is and getting ready to ask if he can paint them.)

The bad guys are planning to steal President Tiny Knit Hillary’s invisible supersonic jet and take it for a joy ride.  Tiny Knit Chicken is going with them because she has always wanted to fly.  She is hoping that Santa won’t find out about this last “naughty” act, because she asked for meal-worms for Christmas, and Tiny Knit Zombie told her that he could make that happen if she gave him her “I voted” sticker.

And the new President?  What is SHE up to?  Well, she’s appointed her chief of staff: Lego Hipster with Crazy Cloak.  She calls him Jonas.  (You know he’s a hipster because of the beard.)  Jonas was a strong supporter during the election, and he can also serve as her Secret Service and head of Department of Defense because of the laser beams that shoot out of his scary red eyes.  Having him serve multiple positions is a good way to keep her cabinet small and save the toy tax payers some money.  Their first job is to talk to the old polling place lady and see how to streamline the ballot and sticker efforts for the next election cycle.

Everything seems okay, except…  wait…  What is Lego Mad Scientist up to now?  It appears that one of the bad guys has another evil plan, and you know that Lego Mad Scientist still smarts from having his last evil plan thwarted.  If his expertly knit candidate were president Lego Mad Scientist would have had an important role in the cabinet.  But President Tiny Knit Hillary won’t even talk to him, and that Jonas guy keeps glaring at him with smoking eyes.  Undoubtedly Lego Mad Scientist is going to continue to cause problems for this administration.

So there you have it.  There are some good things going on and some bad things.  The new government is focusing on some issues, but with limited resources they can’t solve all the problems.  Hopefully they will move the toys forward more than they move them back, and the next election cycle maybe someone else will come along and focus on the things they let slide.  Then those toy elected officials will move the country forward in a different direction so that in the end all the toys feel that their critical needs are being met.  That’s the way it is supposed to work.

The End

Acknowledgements

This was about me having fun teaching Afthead Junior about the election process in my own quirky way.  I loved making up this story for her, and while I’m sad that we didn’t get to celebrate the first human female president together, I am tickled by how much she enjoyed the story building.  She told her class about our toy election and still giggles about the line “…the early bird gets the worm, and the ‘I voted’ sticker“.  In four years she might be too cool and I might be to lame for us to do this together, so I’m so grateful that we had this election together.  I’m also grateful for her help and ideas during our photo shoots. She’s also a great cat herder.  Man, nothing destroys a toy election faster than a one year old cat!

A huge thanks to you readers who went on this journey with me.  What a hoot.  I loved your comments and your likes.  I hope you enjoyed this half as much as I did.  Now, back to that novel that needs editing, that short story that needs submitting, and that other short story, and that really hard post about the human election.


 

Final post in a series of tiny knit presidential dilemmas.  See the fifth post here, fourth post here, third post here, second post here, and the first post here.

Thank you to Anna Hrachovec for the amazing patterns!  Please visit her site at http://mochimochiland.com/.

The Final Knit Dilemma of Presidential Proportions – Election Day

At last the toys get to elect their leader.  Weeks have passed and everyone is tired of arguing with their relatives and watching political ads during live baseball games. At dawn election morning the extremely old ladies who run the balloting office open the door and find a line of voters stretching farther than they can see, even with their glasses on.

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The ladies quickly turn to their desk and start worrying:

“We don’t have enough ballots.  There are so many people.”

“We can make more.”

“We also don’t have nearly enough stickers, and I promised my granddaughter one.”

“Here, take one before they come in.”

After hiding a sticker under their desk, the two elderly ladies greet the first voter, Tiny Knit Chicken, who knows that the early bird gets the worm, and the “I Voted” sticker.

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Each toy steps into the voting booth to pick their leader.  With large amounts of disgruntlement and small amounts of election knowledge many toys pick the “Write in” option and enter invalid choices, misspell names, or forget to check the box.  The election commissioner will throw out all mistakes without a care.  It does not matter to her that it is really difficult to write without opposable thumbs and at most two fingers.

At last every ballot has been cast and the election commissioner arrives to tally. She is horrified by the state of the ballots, but in the end the results are clear.  There is just one last regulation to check.

Tiny Knit Zombie Trump admires the sticker Tiny Knit Chicken gave him while Tiny Knit Clinton chats with her friends the Old Lego Ladies.  Toys mill about waiting to hear the results.  As the commissioner approaches Lego Mad Scientist senses that something might be going awry with his master plan, so he moves closer to eavesdrop.

“I have some good news and some bad news for you Mr. Tiny Knit Zombie Trump.”

Tiny Knit Zombie Trump moans and strokes his sticker.

“Due to invalid voting processes 247 ballots were disallowed.  When the remaining nine ballots were counted you won our toy election by a margin of 5 – 4.”  Before Tiny Knit Zombie Trump can let out an excited groan she continues, “However, the regulations say you must have a registered birth certificate with the election commission and your records appear to be missing.  Unless you can produce valid certification I’m afraid you must concede.”  She adjusts her pantsuit and the watching electorate wonders if this might be a conspiracy created by a biased commissioner.

Tiny Knit Zombie Trump shakes his head and moans, and Tiny Knit Hillary, who does not wants to win on a technicality, springs into action.  She was a former Secretary of State.  She has friends all over the world who can help.  Boarding her invisible supersonic jet she begins scouring records departments all over the planet looking for Tiny Knit Zombie’s birth certificate.

While flying over the diminished Arctic, her phone rings.  It is the commissioner.  Lego Mad Scientist has admitted he created Tiny Knit Zombie Trump and, in his excitement, neglected to file the correct paperwork.  Tiny Knit Zombie Trump is prepared to forfeit his win to Tiny Knit Clinton.

Tiny Knit Hillary lands her jet and approaches her opponent.  In flight she has made a decision.  The toys deserve better than to be governed by someone who won only 4/256ths of the vote.  She can do marginally better.  Wrapping her arm around Tiny Knit Zombie Trump her first act as President is to allow for non-citizens to be Vice Presidents.  Together their 9/256ths will govern the toys, and find ways to help the marginalized, the scientists, the evil doers, the green, the knitted, and the non-knitted alike.  As the confetti falls the toys celebrate the end of the election.  Tiny Knit Clinton wishes she had her binder containing her first 100 day plan so she could add “Change Vice President rule” to the top of the list while Tiny Knit Zombie Trump strokes his sticker and breathes in the delicious scent of Tiny Knit Clinton’s enormous brain.


 

Fifth and final post in a series of tiny knit presidential dilemmas.  See the fourth post here, third post here, second post here, and the first post here.

Thank you to Anna Hrachovec for the amazing pattern!  Please see http://mochimochiland.com/shop/tiny-zombie-kit/ for the zombie pattern and visit her site at http://mochimochiland.com/.

Pets 0; Cars 2.

Yesterday was the Girls on the Run (GOTR) practice 5k, and I volunteered to be a running buddy for my daughter and a group of 16 third and fourth grade girls from her school.  They have been training for months and the final race is Sunday.  Wednesday was a big day.  The first time they would actually run five entire kilometers.  Buddies were needed to ensure that no one was left behind as the sprinters and walkers spread out across the course.

It was a warm fall afternoon and the sun was shining.  I had decorated the sidewalk by the side of our house with chalk hearts, GOTR, and arrows, because our house was on the route.  It was my special surprise.  At school, the coaches met with the excited girls for a few minutes and gave them their matching sunflower yellow shirts to wear.  The parent buddies marveled at the amazing weather while waiting to start running.  After no other parents seemed willing to wrangle the sprinters, I took off with the lead group.  Steps into our run we heard a horrible noise: a thump and then a cry.  One thought crossed my mind as I turned back toward the school and the crosswalk we’d just passed.  A kid got hit by a car.

Relief when I saw a golden dog limping and whimpering it’s way across the street.  There was no blood and no gore just sad sounds and a slow moving animal.  One of the Girls on the Run coaches and a mom ran to help the dog.  My 6 girls and I were the only ones who didn’t witness the dog getting hit.  We paused and the kids asked hard questions like, “Will the dog be okay?” and “Will the dog die?” and I said, “I don’t know.”  In no time the singlemindness of 8 and 9 year-olds took over and the runners started again, so I went with them.  After all, we were there to run.

There was no hysteria.  There weren’t even any tears, but each intersection I stopped traffic – the sound of car hitting flesh fresh in my mind – and girls passed me talking to each other. “That dog reminded me of my dog.”  “My mom was crying.”  “Do you think it is dead?”  “I would be sad if it was a cat.”  The conversations continued throughout the run and after we celebrated our accomplishment the dog news was relayed to moms, dads, teachers and siblings.  The coach who stayed with the dog told her story.  The owners were called, but not contacted and a nice neighbor took the dog to the vet in his truck.  “Will the dog be okay?” the girls asked.  “I don’t know.”


 

Today is my work from home day, and I watched our new backyard cat stalk mice, our chickens, and investigate our maple tree.  My house cats dart from window to window not growling but fascinated by the cat that’s outside.  How did she get there and why isn’t anyone making her go back inside?  She’s not our cat, and she isn’t friendly, but chicken bring mice and I’ve been happy to see her hunting the past couple of weeks.  It’s been a few years since Mark the cat stopped coming around and since I’d watched his muzzle and then coat turn from orange to white I assumed he’d passed on.  He used to leave us mouse presents on our front stoop and while the baby  mouse piles were disturbing, I was glad he kept the pest population down.

After picking up my daughter from school I watched the grey cat prowl around our yard.  When she disappeared behind a tree I went back to the basement to finish my work day.  I glanced out the egress window and there she was, her sleek grey fur gleaming and golden eyes staring at a rodent or bug just beyond the edge of the window where I couldn’t see and she couldn’t reach.  I called to my daughter, “Come see the new cat.”  My cats each stretched into the window screen and our family examined her.  My daughter cooed, “Hi cat.”  The huntress didn’t waver from her prey.  Suddenly her focus broke and she glanced down at us before leaping into the front yard.  We all went back to watching TV, typing, or napping in our cat bed.

Fifteen minutes later I heard my husband come in the front door.  He thudded around upstairs and tromp tromp tromped down the stairs.  He greeted my daughter who ignored him in favor of her show.  He stood by me and said quietly, “You know that grey cat that’s been around.  I think she got hit by a car.  I saw someone stop and pick up her body from the middle of the road.  She’s lying in the yard across the street.  She’s not moving.   She’s definitely dead.”

“I just saw her.  She’s been around all day.”  Back upstairs I stared out the kitchen window at an unmoving pile of familiar grey fur sprawled in our neighbor’s yard.  Her positioning and stillness left no room to wonder if she was going to make it.  Her body was right across from the colorful hearts and arrows I’d drawn.  Our new outside cat wasn’t going to help manage the rodent population anymore.

My husband pointed to the white car with blinking hazards, “That was the person moving her.  I hope they are calling someone.  Did she have tags?”  I didn’t remember.

Numbed I went back to my computer and when my daughter asked what was going on I said, “I don’t want to tell you.”  I kept working and my daughter went upstairs to find her dad. I held myself together until her little arms wrapped around my neck and she said, “I’m so sorry mom.”  Only then did I cry.  I cried for the pets, for the owners, for the kids that witnessed a car hit a dog on what was supposed to be a magical day, and for my daughter who would have been “sad if it was a cat” the day before.  When I was done, she sobbed.  “Mom, animals do so much for us.  Why do we run them over?” All I could say was, “I don’t know, kiddo.”

I glimpsed the grey cat’s body across the street while I made dinner.  When I noticed my daughter crying while staring out the window I paused.  We hugged and she moved on. When dinner was finished I looked and even in the dark I could see that the remains of the outside cat were gone.   “Mom, do you think an animal got her, or did her owners find her?”

“I don’t know.”

The Penultimate Knit Dilemma of Presidential Proportions

At last the tiny knit debate.  The two candidates, dressed in their parties’ traditional colors, approach their lecterns with neither a handshake or even an acknowledgement between them.  They are rivals.  Santa was chosen as the moderator and the candidates and members of the debate audience have been forewarned that he will use his “naughty or nice list” if things get out of hand.  The list is in his bag and he’s not afraid to use it.

The debate is similar to the human presidential debates, but there are some marked differences.  With no mouths to speak the candidates must express their opinions though wild gesticulation, sighs, head shakes, groans and moans. So, basically what you would have seen on television if you had the human debate on mute.

The toy debate turns to the topic of the environment and climate change.  The question is directed to tiny knit Secretary Clinton. She comes armed and displays her tomes of knowledge.  Passionately she points out picture after picture of ecosystems decimated by changes in the climate.

Tiny knit zombie stops his moaning and stomping when tiny knit Clinton mentions trees and listens intently.  Tiny knit zombie Trump loves trees and the more tiny knit Clinton talks the more he fears for his friends the trees.  When Santa asks if zombie Trump has anything to add he reaches beneath his lectern and pulls out his favorite hat: a double acorn cap he found in the forest.

A melee ensues.  The evil toys cannot believe that their hand knit candidate is willing to side with his opponent.  Fights break out in the audience and even Santa’s shouts of “naughty, naughty, naughty” don’t stop the combatants.  Tiny knit chicken tries to hatch Viking’s head.  Witch knocks Snowman over and threatens her with a melting potion.  In short, it gets ugly.

While Santa tries to regain control over the audience, something amazing happens on stage initially unnoticed by the crowd.  Tiny knit zombie Trump and tiny knit Clinton turn and actually look at each other.  She admires his hat.  He admires her pile of books.  They each wonder if the difference between them are really that great.  She’s always been an outsider because of her love of research and policy.  He’s always been an outsider because he has an unnatural palate, hair and skin tone.  Tiny knit Trump realizes he’s a infant in the political arena compared to her, while she considers that his fresh perspective might be good for the toy community.

Slowly he reaches out his hand.  She responds by reaching out her own.  Together they stand and one by one the toys stop their fighting and watch what their chosen potential leaders are doing on stage.  Some are horrified, but others are impressed by their candidate’s willingness to reach across the aisle and put aside differences to find commonality.  The election takes an unexpected turn days before the vote.


Forth post in a series of tiny knit presidential dilemmas.  See the third post here, second post here, and the first post here.

Thank you to Anna Hrachovec for the amazing pattern!  Please see http://mochimochiland.com/shop/tiny-zombie-kit/ for the zombie pattern and visit her site at http://mochimochiland.com/.

Help Me Out of my Writing Closet

I write in a closet.  It’s a cozy place with everything I need to create my stories.  There is a Microsoft Surface with a blue keyboard and a mouse, because I can’t figure out how to use the trackpad on that thing.  There’s a meandering path to get there and inevitably I find myself distracted by work, husband, child, and friends when I’m on my way to write.  Even when I carve out time to visit my writing closet the way is often blocked by obligations.

The thing I like about my closet is that I decide who visits me there.  Hand selected friends, family members, and other bloggers get to see what I produce in my closet.  If I take a risk and show my work to new people and they don’t like it my closet is off the beaten path so they won’t stumble upon it again.

In my dreams my closet is huge.  It’s an auditorium filled with adoring readers and harsh critics who can’t help but love me.  I sit onstage and read my work with tears coursing down my face and tissues are handed around as emotions fill every nook and cranny of the audience.  There is magic in that space and time stops for my stories.

But, growing out of a closet is scary.  What if when I get to the auditorium it’s empty except for me and my mom?  (Of course  my mom will come, she’s awesome like that.  She will even be there early.)  What if it’s filled with haters and they throw rotten vegetables at me?  What if it’s rundown, rat infested and stinky, and not the space I was dreaming of?  It’s so cozy in my closet, and I’m not sure I want to leave except that dream is so alluring…


I had an enlightening meeting with my family therapist on Friday and she told me I have to stop hiding my writing.  She said I had to go home and post about my writing on my personal Facebook account, but that terrifies me.  Right now my writing world and the real world are very separate, and I’m scared of merging the two.   That said, I’m also tired of living this dual life: one where I live out my hopes and dreams through my stories and another where I look down my engineer’s nose and scoff, “Isn’t writing for 23 year old English majors who can’t find a real job?”  I even have two separate Twitter profiles.  This schizophrenia runs deep.

So blogger friends, as people I trust to hang out in my writing closet all the time, what do you do?  Is your writing life and your real life the same?  Did you ever hide your writing life from your real life?  What happened if you merged the two?  Any advice for how to embrace my writer persona?  Have you put your writing on your personal Facebook account, and if so what happened?


Oh, and I totally don’t write in a literal closet.  I write in a beautiful basement study that was recently remodeled.

In fact, there’s even a real closet in there.  It’s filled with games and craft supplies, and anyone is welcome to see it.  Even you, my blogging friends.

 I’m looking forward to some help!  Thanks friends!

The Recliner

Today would have been my Grandpa’s 103rd birthday.  A few years ago my mom uttered this infamous – in our family – statement, “It makes me feel better knowing that if grandpa was alive he’d be dead by now.”  She’s right.  If my grandparents weren’t dead already they’d probably be dead by now, but the week bracketed by their birthdays is still one that pulls at my heartstrings.

Adding to the angst this year is that we finally got rid of their recliner.  When my grandma died, I inherited this gem.  I was poor, just out of college, and furnishing my first apartments and home.  Somewhere in there Grandpa’s recliner became mine.  I didn’t care what it looked like because I just wanted a comfy place to sit.

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Now the recliner has lived with me 16 years, which is longer than it ever lived with my grandparents. The chair has seen me and my boyfriend turned husband through innumerable head colds and bouts of bronchitis: nothing is better than a recliner when you are stuffed up and coughing.  My daughter has spit up, peed, pooped spilled, and snotted on this chair.  Throughout her infancy breast-milk was leaked all over it because I loved nursing in this chair.

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When our basement construction started, heralding the end of the recliner’s life in the house, the baby chickens pooped on it while my daughter sang lullabies to them in the garage.  I hand medicated little baby Rosie chick in that chair.  There may or may not be mice in the chair because there are mice out there.

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The time for the chair to leave our home had come.  No more would my daughter recline the back, extend the footrest and launch herself off her indoor playset.  Finally I could stop worrying which kid-friend would end up with stitches from emulating my daughter’s antics.  We will never figure out where that missing thumb screw goes: the one that fell out of the bottom one recline. I’m sure there is a whole set of knitting needles and stitch markers hidden in there, never to be found.

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Before putting the chair out to the curb I went out to the garage, curled up, and read in it one last time.  The book was A Man Called Ove, a perfect choice because my grandpa could have been named Ove he was so much like that character.  I read, I cried, I remembered, and I watched my cats stalk spiders and mice.  Finally, I turned off the lights and, like a dope, said “Goodbye chair.”  By the time I got home from work the next day it was gone.  My mom said, “It was an awfully big memento,” and it was.

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The first post-chair evening I was down in my study digging around in my sewing machine cabinet and for a moment I smelled cigarette smoke.  Throughout my childhood my grandparents were both smokers and that scent still calls up memories of them.  At that moment I realized that one of them was reminding me that my sewing machine belonged to my grandma.  I remember sewing Halloween and theater costumes side by side.  I still use her manual, filled with her hand written notes, every  time I need to sew on rickrack.  I still have a big memento and one that isn’t going anywhere.  All I need to do to reconnect to them is sew something and, you know, my husband did just mention that the chicken coop needs curtains.  (Well he actually said “The chicken coop needs window blankets,” but either way it means sewing project.)


Correction 10/28/2016

I misquoted my mother in the original version.  She did not say, “It makes me feel better knowing that if grandpa wasn’t already dead he’d be dead by now.”  The corrected, and even sillier, quote is above.  Thanks mom for pointing out my mistake.  Love you!

A Continuing Knit Dilemma of Presidential Proportions

Frustrated with their tiny knit presidential candidate situation the bad guys and evil Lego figures took matters into their own molded plastic hands, as evildoers so often do.  If no tiny knit Trump was going to be an option for them, they were going to create a leader they could follow.  As a surprise to everyone, mad scientist Lego has some pretty decent skills with the double pointed needles.

Voila!  Tiny knit zombie is complete and was presented to the leaderless toys, but something didn’t seem right.  While tiny knit zombie was evil and green he just didn’t seem presidential.  How would he attract undecided voters?  Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of a zombie – even a mouthless zombie who can’t eat brains – as president.  They needed to do something to improve his image.  

Mad Scientist turned to the real human election for inspiration, and with just a few stitches tiny knit zombie became a viable candidate.


Complete with red tie and a distinctive toupee, the toys present tiny knit Trump-like zombie candidate!  Now there is a brain enjoying leader any toy can support, or that’s what these guys hope.  Let’s see how he does against tiny knit Hillary in the debate.  In the meantime, we are going to keep him away from the baby toys, because the way he “kisses” their head makes the mommy toys a bit uncomfortable.  It’s like he’s smelling veal as he caresses their little heads.  Hopefully he can overcome that flaw.


Third post in a potential series of tiny knit presidential dilemmas.  See the second post here, and the first post here.

Thank you to Anna Hrachovec for the amazing pattern!  Please see http://mochimochiland.com/shop/tiny-zombie-kit/ for the zombie pattern and visit her site at http://mochimochiland.com/.

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Another Knit Dilemma of Presidential Proportions

I just couldn’t make a tiny knit Trump last night.  I turned my back on my plans at the last minute.  The debate started and my double pointed needles refused to be sullied with Trump yarn.

Then, the unexpected happened when a certain subset of toys revolted.  It turns out some Lego figures – with ringleaders mad scientist, witch, and Viking – joined with The Joker, Little People The Joker, and Two Face to violently protest tiny knit Hillary being the only candidate in our household.

It’s chaos here.  Tiny knit Hillary is safe, and recovering, but we need a second tiny knit option for president.  Who could have anticipated this turn of events?


Second post in a potential series of tiny knit presidential dilemmas.  See the first post here.

Thank you to Anna Hrachovec for the amazing pattern!  Please see   http://mochimochiland.com/2016/09/free-pattern-tiny-trump-and-tiny-hillary/ for the pattern and visit her site at http://mochimochiland.com/.