“I’ve got you.”

Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

When I was a kid, and things got tough, my dad would always remind me, “You can curse the darkness, or you can light a candle.” What cursing the darkness, or even lighting a candle meant, has changed and grown over the years as I have, but the advice has always been a guide, a light if you will, for me in dark times. A lesson I was very much reminded of anew this past weekend.

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Project Wool: Combing through the fleece and trying to get things In-line

There comes a point in every project where one has to decide the focus and scope of that project. Generally, most people, do this at the start of their endeavor.  Unfortunately, I have a tendency to leave the magnitude of the scope somewhat vague, and as such, is subject to frequent and continuous change. When I started this project I thought it would be a few days research on the Internet; a couple of essays reporting what I had found, followed by a few updates on what the experience of wearing the same dress for 100 days was like, and then maybe, if I was lucky, a post or two on what I learned from it. However, as my resources broadened from what I could find online to include books and other materials previously not included, so did my focus. Which is to say this went from a layperson’s project to one worthy of a doctoral dissertation.

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Checking in with Project Wool, with a focus on Women’s Work, The First 20,000 Years

Several weeks ago, I announced the beginning of a new project: Project Wool that began with the ordering of a wool dress and the intention of participating in Wool&’s 100 Day Dress Challenge, and blossomed into the desire to know, not only more about the wonder material that wool is, but also about the clothing and the industry that surrounds it in general.

Almost immediately, I began to discover that the rabbit hole I had just so willingly jumped into was quite the labyrinthic warren, and that it was going to become all too easy to get lost as I explored it. Which is to say, it was a much bigger project than I had expected.

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My Salinger Year

To say that J.D. Salinger was my favorite author in high school, is almost as unique as saying when I was sixteen, I was a teenager. He is, for many people, their gateway drug into reading, because, unlike books such as The Scarlet Letter or Crime and Punishment, it is quite easy for them to find themselves in Salinger’s work, particularly The Catcher in the Rye. Or at least, that is what I have heard. I myself did not like Catcher, in fact I really didn’t like it, at all. Holden Caulfield annoyed me, and I struggled to relate to him; at all. So how is it that Salinger was my favorite? Seymour. Seymour Glass. I loved Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters and Seymour an Introduction so much that I cannot even begin to express it. After reading these two stories, I felt like I knew him, even though he does not actually appear (alive) in either story. The stories are both heart-warming and heart-breaking, because once I had read them it was clear to 16-year-old me that the world was clearly a worse place for Seymour’s absence.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude

Recently, in an attempt to get myself out of a reading slump, I decided to challenge myself to read something from my ever growing list of great works that I really wish I had read but haven’t yet because, _______(fill in appropriate excuse here)_______.  Your list may differ from mine, but my go-to excuse of choice is something akin to, “I’m too tired or its too much work;” the same lame excuses students have been giving for not doing the assigned reading for as long as there has been assigned readings. Thing is, I was always that student, the one who always felt compelled to do all of the reading before class. So, even in my private life, without school or assignments, I can only give these excuses to myself for so long before guilt and a sense of obligation compel me to do something about it.

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The Midnight Library, By Matt Haig, may be exactly what you need right now

 “We read to know we are not alone.”

A quote often misattributed to C.S. Lewis but is in fact the work of William Nicholson in his play Shadowlands about C.S. Lewis, so perhaps the confusion is understandable. But regardless of who said it, I have always thought that this quote has the resonance of truth about it. We read to find ourselves, and others like us, which is of course why representation of diverse populations and viewpoints is so important. We read to see ourselves in the foreign, and in so doing often find that they are not nearly as different from us as we may have been lead to believe. We read to know that there are other ways of seeing and experiencing the world around us. In short, we read to know we are not alone. But as true as this statement is, it takes on a whole new dimension in the light, or rather perhaps I ought to say the darkness, of depression.

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Cleaning up today I spotted a number of UFOs, also known as UnFinished Objects, stashed quietly around the house.

There was the linen stitch cuff that I started 2 years ago for my daughter, the granny square Afghan I started 3 years ago for a dear friend , a crocheted Cathulu doll for my husband, and a various assortment of abandoned barefoot sandals and flowers.

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Introducing Project Wool, Or Down Another Rabbit Hole

In our modern era of viral videos, and algorithm targeted advertisements, hearing about another “challenge” is hardly enough to grab my attention, let alone retain it. Usually, at most, they will make me shake my head and sigh. From goal setting seminars, to workout routines and weight loss routines, these flashy promises of effortless dramatic change scream at as from every one of the dozens of screens we use every day. AND don’t even get me started on the ridiculous, and usually dangerous, viral challenges that plague the social media pages of young people. If you don’t know what I am talking about, take a moment now, and go look up Tide Pod Challenge, because nothing I can say about this subject will speak as loudly as the almighty Internet already has.

So how is it that my attention, and curiosity, have been captured by something called the 100 Day Dress Challenge (https://journal.wooland.com/post/2020/5/1/100-day-dress-challenge)?

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A Reading Prescription to Counteract Quarantine Life:

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World

I think it safe to say that most of us are feeling a bit cooped up and distanced from the lives and the world we used to call normal. At first, many of us used the unexpected extended time at home to dust off and try out many of those long-forgotten goals or fanciful pipe dreams. All over the world, we read about people teaching themselves to cook, paint, and even speak new languages. But as the weeks have continued to come and go, and we have sautéed, colored, and parlez vous’d our little hearts out many of us have hit a kind of wall. Coping is not as easy as it was at the start of this extended “shelter in place” experience. We miss the world beyond the fabled gates to our front garden. We miss the alure of traveling to places more exotic than the local grocery store, where even the most international of flavors are beginning to taste a bit stale.

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In order to form a more perfect union…you cannot leave anything out.

Yesterday, I tried my hand at lace making for the first time…

And what started out as a “hey look what I made” post turned into a discussion of how our democracy, like my badly misshapen attempt at lace, was a delicate, but strong, and yet still greatly flawed mess.

Continue reading In order to form a more perfect union…you cannot leave anything out.