“We are going to hold a stitch and bitch,” he declared. With that he tossed an overstuffed plastic bag down to the library table. Several skeins of brightly colored yarn spilled out of the top, including a fluffy canary yellow that bounced directly into my lap.
“That one is my favorite,” Nathan said as he landed on the table. “I am certain that you will produce something quite lovely with it.”
“I don’t knit,” I said. Carla nodded to indicate that the art was foreign to her as well.
“Everybody knits a little bit,” Nathan replied, as he distributed plastic needles around the room. They weren’t particularly sharp up close, the way I had expected them to be, so instead of fantasizing about stabbing Nathan in the heart, I had to imagine something less well protected by bone.
His eyeball, maybe?
No, dammit, I’m not a violent person by nature, and… no. I just couldn’t.
Carla’s arms twitched as she took her needles. We caught each other’s eye, and burst into cathartic laughter.
As we wore down, Nathan said “I do not understand,” in that deadpan manner of his, which naturally set us off again. We spent a long time like that, completely incapacitated by laughter, followed by a struggle to regain composure, which would lead to more laughter, and so on. Eventually, however, it dribbled off, our faces wracked with pain but our spirits lifted.
Once it was clear that Carla and I were no longer maniacal, Nathan gave both of us a small piece of paper with basic yarn-looping instructions. “These were provided at the store,” he explained, “so I thought it wise to bring them for you.”
“If everyone knits a little, I don’t see why it’s necessary,” I joked. Carla gave the hint of a smile, but the laughter was finished.
Nathan worked his needles with expert purpose. No doubt he had never actually seen them in use before, but he was simply making the blindingly obvious calculations necessary to produce whatever it was that he was producing. I didn’t want to give him the chance to confirm this theory pretentiously, so I didn’t ask him about it.
I looked over the instructions; they were perfectly clear and easy to follow. I had nothing in mind to make, nor any instructions on how to do more than a couple basic knots, so I resigned myself to doing just that.
By the standards of our evenings on board, it was bliss. Relaxing—Zen-like, even. And miraculously enough, silent, apart from the rhythmic, gentle needle clicks that contributed to my trance. I had nearly completed three full rows before Nathan decided to screw it up.
“Excellent work so far,” he said. “However, this is only part of the evening’s activities.” I groaned inwardly.
“It is time for us to bitch,” he declared.
Carla and I greeted this pronouncement with silence, so Nathan prompted Carla: “Bitch about something, please.”
“I don’t generally use that word,” she said. “It’s kind of rude.”
“Nonsense!” Nathan countered exuberantly. “Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch!”
Carla sighed and didn’t say anything.
I’ve never knitted, although I’ve watched people do so on the el and I’ve even read so-called “trend stories” (translation: We have to fill space) that say all-male knitting groups are on the upswing. So presumably the plucky transdimensional exile of Exile Issues has read those trend stories too, and believed them.
This will be a three-parter, incidentally, so watch for more tomorrow and Wednesday.
Beyond that, well, one of the problems with editing, which is where my current focus is, is that I’m not generating anything new. This is the last piece that I’ve identified that can stand up on its own and that’s worth sharing.
On the other hand, I’ve reached sort of a nice break point in my editing—today I finished tying up one of the major threads that I started but didn’t complete in my original writing. There will still be some clean-up needed, but the heavy lifting of that element is done. So for the next few days, maybe through the weekend even, I’ll focus on writing new stuff, even though it will probably be for potential future use rather than the top priority that is Exile Issues.
Eventually, it will all come together—the work that I’m doing on future projects now will save me time on them in the future. Right?