Knitting vs. . . .

The content of the picture to the left is the reason you haven’t heard from me in a little while. Ringing in at nineteen chapters, 342 pages, 87,000 words (approximately), and just over three years in the making, that stack of papers is my first novel.

Just before I put the finishing touches on my manuscript last week, I also wove in the last yarn end on , which I will hopefully be able to show you soon. Both of these projects were substantial, but the knitting project was much, much easier. In fact, compared to writing, all knitting is easy.

It’s not that knitting isn’t challenging, or that I don’t ever feel like hurling my needles against the wall and swearing off yarn forever. It’s that knitting projects have obvious dimensions. They have beginnings, middles, and ends. Novels have those, too, but they’re not as clearly defined. What you thought was the middle turns out to be the beginning, the end is really the middle, and the beginning often gets lopped off altogether. There’s no binding off, there’s no blocking, there’s no sewing in the last yarn end and calling it a day. When I say that I’m finished with my novel, what I’m really saying is that it’s finished with me.

And this is one of the biggest reasons why I love to knit. Knitting projects have tangible goals and concrete satisfactions. The frustrations are manageable, and the worst mistakes are solveable by ripping out and starting over. My hand-knit sweaters, unlike my writing, have never demanded that I stare into the gravitational center of my soul and try to balance my life on it.

More knitting on the way . . .

12 Comments

  • Jessy says:

    I can’t wait to see your book on the shelves, let us know when it comes out!I know all about being a frustrated writter (and knitter), Though I guess not really, I just write the hell out of essays and maybe short stories. Congratulations on finishing!

  • K. says:

    Whoo-hoo, congrats! Everyone says they can write a novel, and many people start, but it’s a rare few that actually finish. Maybe it’s more appropriate to say that it’s a rare few who have the stamina to hang on for the full novelic ride. In any case, you deserve at least three or four sweaters’ worth of luxury fiber, at least.

  • Elemmaciltur says:

    Ooooooh, a novel by you? Would love to read that!

  • Mary says:

    Jesse, You are so awewsome! I have so much respect for your courage and humility and maturity. (not to mention your intelligence, artistic creativity and perseverance) I’m privileged to have you in my life. Trudge on! Love,Mary

  • Noelle says:

    congratulations! what an accomplishment! I hope the novel is off to the publisher’s now, and destined for a bookstore near me!

  • Erika says:

    How exciting! Congratulations!

  • Roseq says:

    Jesse! I’m so proud of you. When do I get to read it?

  • Amy says:

    Congratulations! Completing a novel is truly an accomplishment.

  • Wudas says:

    Hey! I’m telling my husband about you! He’s a spinner and I’m teaching him to knit. He has two spinning wheels so he’s threatning to teach me to spin. I’m a long time knitter. He’s a former mechanic for BART and is now an inspector for BART. We haven’t met too many male knitters. But if he knits on his break at work, in the Concord BART shop, the other guys are interested. Glad to see more men picking up this addictive habit.

  • Sean says:

    Why is it that seeing the printed copy of your opus makes me nervous? I know you have it in electronic format, but for some reason I think of a huge gust of wind blowing the book out into the bay. Have you seen the movie “Wonderboys” (or read the book)? I’m picturing something like the scene where the endless novel project blows away in the wind, and it’s the author’s only copy.

    I should just keep my neuroses to myself.

    Congrats again on the novel!

  • Elinor says:

    Good show on the novel! I’m impressed. Go get that thing published!

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