Sunday, March 26, 2006

Poetry News

I have four poems live now at The Adroitly Placed Word.

Marion Arnott reviews Issue 3 of Bonfire at Laura Hird, including five poems published under my pen-name Ann Walters.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Every Stitch is a Connection

When I started knitting just about a year ago, I had no idea it would become a part of my daily life. I never dreamed that wrapping yarn around a pair of needles would be so meaningful.

It was a whim, really. My friend Harriet invited me to attend a Stitch 'N Bitch party she was throwing one Sunday afternoon. I wasn't even particularly interested in knitting, but any chance to mingle with other grown women without small children crawling all over the place is an opportunity I'm not willing to miss. I figured I could go for the bitch (girl talk), if not the stitch.

What happened has amazed my family, friends, and myself. I took to knitting like the proverbial duck to water. I came home with a borrowed pair of needles and ball of yarn and couldn't put them down. Within a week, I had learned to purl as well as knit, and as every knitter knows, those two stitches are all it takes to make just about anything you want.

I still count myself a beginner, though I have now accomplished blankets, dishclothes, felted slippers, self-designed doll clothes, scarves, sweaters, and even a dress-up fairy outfit. The yarn stash spilling from my closet and various bags around the house attests to my full immersion in the world of knitting, as does my ever-growing stack of pattern books and the vase filled with needles on my mantle.

So what is it that I like about knitting so much? Well, it's relaxing. It truly is an almost meditative experience, with the repetitive movements and the soft, slow wind of yarn around a needle. It's also a great form of creative expression, because the results are so tangible. Not only can you create a work of knitted art, but you can use it!

Still, there's something deeper in knitting for me, something that has been there since I began, though it took me a while to acknowledge its importance. That something is my late grandmother, Bessie Hunt.

Growing up, my family lived on the opposite side of the country from my grandparents, so I only saw them on infrequent summer visits. Still, my grandmother showered me with homemade gifts - quilts, dolls, and yes, plenty of knitted slippers and hats. She made exquisite cable-knit dresses, sweaters, and coats for my proto-Barbie doll, and I still have some of them to this day. They are amazing creations. My grandmother even tried to teach me to knit one summer, with wonderful patience and love, but of course I promptly forgot it all as soon as I was home and she was far away.

It wasn't long after I'd started knitting that my mom remarked on how proud my grandmother would be. And that's when it struck me. Every time I pick up needles and yarn, she is there with me. I can feel her presence and I know that there is something in the way my hands move that mirrors her own. With every stitch, I pay tribute to my grandmother. With every knit and purl, she lives again through me. We are connected by a shared love of needles and yarn.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ghost Town

After the kids left, they downsized.
Originally uploaded by Mobilus In Mobili.

Ghost Town

Grandfather buildings shed grey clapboard skins, wrinkling off shingles one by one to reveal the skeletons of history. Dust dances in the streets and seeps into mouths – the particulated past choking the present. This place, once a city of souls, is little more than memory now, memory faded to myth.

We wander disconsolate where success once strutted the shimmer of immortality. There, million-dollar mines lined these hillsides; here, grand-veranda hotels perched above a boulevard. Boardwalks two-stepped to the bustle of crinoline. Work boots tamped the ground in steady shifts. Now there is only the rustle and bump of the tumbleweed, rolling its forlorn cliché through town.

Some come to visit the old places in reverence, bowing before broken windows, pocketing rusted relics. They are supplicants to the immutable movement of time. What do they hope to gain by gathering bits of the bygone? A sense of permanence, perhaps. They need only look around – decades of decay have proven there is no permanence.

We watch them gather, like clumps of locoweed in the hillside cemetery, where gravestones are cautionary fingers raised in reminder of mortality. We are here too, tied to this place forever. They trace names and dates, sentimental odes and half-eroded angels, hoping to illumine the ultimate end. We laugh, knowing what they do not – that life and death are one.

A sudden Chinook sweeps the valley, echoing our laughter, and the secret hidden within it causes the visitors to collect their souvenirs with tingling spines. They return home from this town of ghosts having touched the past and glimpsed the future. But we remain, haunting the world that is and longing for the world that was.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

What Kind of Yarn are You?

You are Shetland Wool.
You are Shetland Wool.

You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a

little on the harsh side. Though you look

delicate you are tough as nails and prone to

intricacies. Despite your acerbic ways you

are widely respected and even revered.

What kind of yarn are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Winter Tanka

Seen in Memory
Originally uploaded by CountryDreaming.

small white solitude
of flakes drifting onto ice
water is frozen
as hard as a spirit’s song
silenced by isolation

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Read my story Three Hundred Stones live now in the new issue of Flashquake.

I'm also thrilled to announce that I've been asked to serve as Guest Editor for the Summer 2006 issue of Flashquake! If you haven't read this fine ezine, now is the time to check it out and get ready to submit your short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Out Sick

I have come down incredibly sick, so it may be a few days before I get back to post something new here. In the meantime, here's something shiny to look at:

For those expecting yarn packages from me, it's going to be a few days before I can get things in the mail.

For those who give a hoot about my writing, I have good news to share, so stay tuned.