Friday, April 24, 2009

Topic jumble.


I knew everyone would be entertained by yesterday's tale. Some were surprised I like the Beat poets (though I'm not sure why), and Amy Lane and I are discussing the virtues of making students memorize stuff. (I'm biased on that topic - I have a problem bordering on learning disability, with memorization. If I can understand something, I'll remember it forever. But word-for-word memorization is nearly impossible for me. You should see me try to remember PIN numbers for debit cards.)

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't DISLIKE the Beat poets, but they aren't my favorite poets in the whole world. I like their topics, and how they conveyed them, and I have infinite respect for their ability to communicate feelings with words. It was Beat poetry that made me start to understand what writing is REALLY capable of; more than the essays and short stories I was fed in the public schools. However... well, they aren't my favorite. They sure as hell aren't pretty or calming or pleasant (and the authors would have said "damn straight, it's not supposed to be!" to that), and honestly, for my poetry I prefer some calm reflection to screaming at the world. Though of course both have their places in the overall scheme of things.

So, ultimately, the bottom line is, I chose that poem to suggest to my college friend because I knew it would speak to him, and it was a good thing for him to be exposed to. Not because I LIKED it.

Poetry I do like? Well, it's probably a cliche, but I love Robert Frost. (I like Mozart, too.) He's readable, pretty, and either expresses something I feel - though of course better than I ever could - or makes me think. Here's my favorite of his. It's common as dirt and I'm surprised no one else has posted it yet.

The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Amazingly, even at the age of thirteen or so, when I first read this poem, I got the larger metaphor for life, and liked the message. Looking back now, twenty-seven years later, I think that I should have taken a few more roads less traveled by in my life, but I took enough of them that I'm not totally disgusted with myself over it. He sure says it better than I could.


Plying and spinning.

Last night I dug in with the Eureka marathon on Sci-Fi and plied 180 yards of Berry Picking goodness.

It's slightly overspun - good for sock yarn - and also not washed yet. A lot of that twist will relax once it is. I'm thinking I should rename this "Summer in Farm Country" because that's what I was reminded of last night. Not just the berry picking and the summer sky, but the deep, intense red of the poppies that grew under the dining room window, and the pink of the wild strawberries (I couldn't pick those 'cause I'm allergic), and the dark purple of the clematis my dad grew and trained every summer by the back door. There's even a lavender, reminding me of the lilac bush in the yard that pissed my mother off because it almost never flowered (it was a subject of high comedy when she would lay into that thing with clippers). It's all in there. Plus some exotic bougainvillea pink that reminds me of Hawaii. Love it. One more bobbin to ply, then I have to decide whether I'm starting on the Purple Trainwreck, or spinning more shop stock.

I'm thinking shop stock. I have a nefarious, and I think funny, idea. Not quite Vitreous Humor, but more knittable.


The sock knitting is coming along. This is my second go at it; the first one was too big. I'm pleased to report the handspun unravels halfway decently. Not great, but you can knit it up again with relative ease and without it looking like crap after.

Those colors aren't quite right; I took it under incandescent light, so it's more red than it should be.

QUESTION (AGAIN) FOR THE SOCK KNITTERS: I've seen some hilarious "stitch keepers" around, that bundle up all the working needles and hook over the ends, with elastic holding the ends together? I've found some plain old boring ones for sale, with simple caps. Where are you guys getting the ones that look like sea creatures and other crazy stuff? 'Cause I want some.
ETA: Mystery solved. They're homemade from finger puppets. I'm on the case and will create something unholy, soon, I'm sure. Thanks for the help!


Otherwise, I got a shipment of books from Lacis. These are two, which kind of set the mood.

The beaded knitting is gonna have to wait until payday, but I went to the craft store yesterday for other stuff (more on that, on a shorter blog post later) and took a look at the beads suggested for the projects. (Number eleven seed beads.) I won't repeat what I said in the store for fear of offending someone, but it's a miracle they didn't throw me out of the store. I'm thinking I'll experiment with larger seed beads and some size ten crochet cotton.

As for the ribbon? Well, at the least, it's gotten me motivated about organizing all the ribbon I've got.

Really need to develop an off switch about ribbon when I'm in craft stores. Sales be damned. (I picked up another roll yesterday. !!!) I'm plotting what to do with all this stuff, in such a manner as to make money. More on that later, too. But it's gonna be interesting, I hope.


Now I'm gonna go read more of my art history book that lives on the dining room table. I'm up to the Roman Empire and am now looking at frescoes about two thousand years old.

This may yet prompt another art-history rant about Western bias in art history books. Or how so much great art is not in the countries of origin where it should be. I know I've already said it, but DAMN.


Sandy said...

on the neddle holder thing. I can't find the link but pencil toppers work pretty well. Poke a couple of holes in each one and string them together.

Sarah said...

I was always the contrarian in school, and argued that the point of that Frost poem was that both roads were really very similar, and it was only the narrator's conceit that the one he took was "less travelled-by".

Louiz said...

For needle holders, you can use wiggly telephone wire if you've got a hardware store near you that sells it by the meter (foot?) Or ther's a snappy thing (yeah good on words right now - Friday afternoon) which has a slot the needles slide down and a clicky bit which I think Donna Lee has one because I seem to remember her commenting on it. I could so very easily be mis-remembering though.

Louiz said...

oh and try putting point protector into etsy... (goes off to try not to spend lots of money)

Barbara said...

My DD uses finger puppets she gets at what we used to call a "head" shop in the 70s, pokes holes in them and threads them with round elastic. She made the ones you saw in the Sock Roulette swap. They're awesome, aren't they?

Ann said...

Yep, finger puppets make wonderful needle holders. But you have to make sure they're a tough enough material--I've tried a few that ripped out as soon as I stretched them. Unfortunately, finger puppets are surprisingly hard to find. I've got a few that I need to try out, and if they work, I'm happy to send you some. :)

Julie said...

AHA! I do believe it's the finger puppet stitch keepers that I've been looking at and coveting. If they're home-brew it would explain why no one sells them.

Will keep my eye out for appropriate finger puppets now. Since I shop for toys for the Goob, anyway. Heh heh heh.


Mandy said...

I love that poem! I know what you mean when you say it speaks to you - that and Kipling's "If" always spoke to me (I never had any trouble memorizing poetry - we used to play a game on long car trips to see who knew the most poems, and I always won with "The Raven" and "The Walrus and the Carpenter". It's like songs to me - they just stick.

Love the bead knitting book! I want that (like I need another project to start on! Not!). But, uh, I think you worry unnecessarily about offending anyone here with what you said in the store - any readers who might be offended by your language have long since fled the scene!

Galad said...

You have been busy and the yarn is beautiful. See what you can accomplish with the help of good pain meds :-)

Donna Lee said...

That Frost poem is one of my very favorites. I've been told it's plebian but then I figure I'm a plebe so who cares? I also like Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening. And Eine Kliene Nachtmusik is a favorite.....

Alwen said...

I think the best poetry, whatever that is for you, is the stuff that opens your head up. For me it feels like a thunderbolt of seeing what the poet saw.

About the only thing I memorized deliberately was Jabberwocky.

That said, some of my favorite poetry is silly stuff like Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein. Sometimes it's deep, but very often it's just fun. Like "Sarah Cythia Sylvia Stout, who would not take the garbage out".

The fun part (or the part that speaks to you) sucks you in. And then once you're in, it enlarges you.

Anonymous said...

So are you far and away from all the smoke and fire?

TinkingBell said...

Glad you are pleased about the award - your blog always speaks to me about something -loved both the poems, I love Robert Frost (Oh and about a million others - I've been reading Sassoon and Rupert Brooks and Wilfred Owen in honour of ANZAC Day - sort of our veterans day but more so).
I was annoying and contrary and argumentative - and I'm glad your friend did a beat poet - for relaxation my poisons are Yeats and Tennyson and Dylan Thomas.

You have made me so excited about learning how to spin - next Tuesday is the day I cross over to the dark side!

Anonymous said...

in fifth grade, my son (adhhhd, lds, partial hearing impairment, speech problems) had to recite a memorized poem once a week for six or eight weeks.

he was sure he couldn't do it, although he's brilliant.

i told him he not only could do it, but that the other kids would actually LISTEN because they would LIKE the poems he'd memorize. i hinted that he'd be putting something over on the teacher, too.

yup, ogden nash was the answer. we started with "the panther," since the high school mascot was the panther.

the panther is much like a leopard
excepting it hasn't been peppered.
should you behold a panther crouch,
prepare to say ouch.
better yet, if called by a panther,
don't anther.

for once, the kids laughed WITH him, not at him.

each week, the poem was to be longer. each week, we found an ogden nash verse that met the quota -- no more, no less.

i never got feedback from the teacher, but if she had complained, i'd have pointed out that requiring him to recite ANYTHING in front of the class violated his individual education plan and that i allowed him to participate anyway because i believed succeeding in a way that would amuse the other kids was to his advantage.

Amy Lane said...

I love Robert Frost too-- accessible, very American, very real. (But I've got a soft spot for the Romantics & Poe. Poe was so VERY twisted.)

And as for the yarn? It looks EXACTLY like a kind of yarn (worsted) that I was fawning all over at the lys this morning... well spun!

And as for memorization? I'm not a wfw fanatic--if you end up substituting words that make sense to you, that's translation which = internalization, and I'm a fan of that!