Tuesday, January 29, 2008

When you first found obsession

Hey: did you check out my new free pattern, Brr-ring!!!?

I have many WIPs right now. So I will intersperse pictures with a bit of story.

Last Friday night, I went to the theater to review two plays that are part of the same festival. Back-to-back overnighters: I'm hard-core. I just so happened to bump into a woman who reviews for another publication, and we chatted for a bit after. She is a wickedly smart, assertive, articulate individual, and I enjoy her company.

As we were about to part ways, she remarked that she wanted nothing more than to "go home and sit by the fire with my husband, my cat, and my knitting ."

She said the magic word.

I jumped up and down a few times and, since words had evidently left me, I reached for my half-finished first Leyburn Sock. "You knit, too?!" she exclaimed.

There was a Critics' Table happy hour on Monday evening, and on Friday she told me that we should both bring our knitting. As it turns out, she's a chicken, and I was the only one willing to knit in public. I'm comfortable with that. We each must go through our own process before we're willing to be ourselves and trust that we'll find acceptance.

What addles me is that another of the critics there confessed to a bit of knitting herself, and they each insisted that they can't do anything like a sock, no, nothing but a little garter stitch here and there.

Now, I inherited from my father the odd and, for other people, inconvenient trait that we figure that if we can do it, then by golly, the rest of the world should be able to as well. (That is less enjoyable when we start talking about our particular area of expertise and forget that we have a nice education and lots of practice, etc., and I wonder what the heck is wrong with you that you haven't read Martin Esslin's treatise on the absurdist playrights? It's, like, fundamental. Duh.)

Honestly, it's not like I'm talented or anything. I just move a couple sticks together a lot because it calms me. Which says far more about my nervous state of mind than it does about any particular skill level.

Then I recalled that I only moved beyond garter-stitch trances in late 2006. Exactly when I began intense work on my one-person show. Which nearly equated with a nervous breakdown on my part. Knitting kept me from plunging into a catatonic state. There were still tears, of course, but there were four pairs of Fetching to go along with them.

So fess up, internet. What was the thing that tipped you into crazyland? Even if you're not a knitter, I want to know what happened in your life to suddenly make you lose all reason when you talk about, say, the Astros. Or Greek word roots. Or Sufjan Stevens. Or whatever.

And if you don't have an unhealthy obsession... Seriously. Do you need a foot rub?


Anonymous said...

Knitting IS my unhealthy obsession. I try & keep it in check because in 2006, I think that's all I did. I started that year vowing to knit more because I'd never finished anything more complex than a scarf. Since then, I've backed off a bit because I've learned so many things since.

Caroline said...

Music. Always music (I want everyone to know about Beirut right now). I've always loved music, so I don't know if there was an instance that made me go cuckoo.

Astros. I used to go to their games every summer when they had Lutheran Day at the Astros. I used to covet my brother's baseball cards. I still love Biggio.

marci said...

What happened to make me suddenly lose all reason? I've always had my obsessions, thank you very much.

[Tony, keep smiling. The Cowboys have to win a playoff game someday. They're the Cowboys, after all.]