Thursday, October 16, 2008

Onward and....


This is the statue depicting the motto of the State of Wisconsin. She has a twin standing outside the Capitol. They bear some resemblance to the figure named "Wisconsin" who stands, enrobed in gold, at the pinnacle of the dome of the Capitol. (It is said that she's pointing toward Washingon D.C.; if that were true, she'd have lowered her arm and frowned eight years ago.)

"Forward" is also my motto for today, because tomorrow morning I'm leaving for my Fall Retreat of writers in Racine. I guess this fits the "Books" part of my title. I've made a list (and not lost it yet!!) of things to pack. The clothes will be easy, just which of my 18 identical dresses to take, and which jammies. The knitting -- well, you know, I'm not yet 100% firm on whether or not to take any. This is a literary, wrie-y, book-y sort of thing....but I'll see. I imagine if nothing else I'll take a ball of red and some DPNs and cast on the first newly-commissioned toque -- if I have NO knitting with me I feel like I'm missing my underlinens.

We're to take "something for the snack table". That sounds promising, although someone mentioned the meals provided being a bit plain , which is in keeping with the fact that it's a convent site. Not sure what I'll take along for that - SOMETHING, or I won't feel right trying some of the Double-Rich-Extra-Chocolately Brownies they keep talking about.

Daisy! Of course I'll take Daisy, because I can imagine somewhere along the line my Muse will grab me by the ankles and shoulder and drag me off to write something, even if only in the deep hours of the night. I can almost taste the anticipation of Inspiration, and I'm not a-going to fight it, I can tell you.

Cats? No, although I'm sure each kitty will spend some time lying in the suitcase (admit it, yours do that too) I don't think they'd be welcome. PICTURES of cats? Gee, well - if I had any maybe I'd take one. {{koff koff}}

No, the biggest thing I'm concerned about taking is......Stuff I've Written. I'm going to take Ygraine (remember? she's my flash-drive thingie?) and also print out copies of as many of my stories as I can. One of my dear colleagues in my Writing Group (thanks, Stephanie!) gave me a link to proper format. I don't know as my stories will do anything other than hunker down in a corner of the laptop bag trying to look like kleenex, but you never know. I hear there are going to be people there who are actually attached to PUBLISHERS, and I think I've also heard that sometimes people get connected, and are a little closer to seeing their stories in print. Excuse me while I go lay down and hyperventilate for a moment.....

OK, I'm better. There is also a deal, I think Saturday night, where some editor types collect from the participants a "first page"; these are then read aloud and commented on. It can be the first page of ANYTHING you've written, and of course they don't get to everyone's, and they're anonymous. Am I brave enough to risk that? No idea.......but I may prepare First Pages of a couple of my things, just in case.

No idea of the Nunnery has wifi (what a concept!) but I can make blognotes while I'm there, at least, and will report back when I get home.

Also, you may have noticed, here and there, that there's apparently a Presidential Election coming up soon. Yeah, really! And to that end, we had a visit Tuesday from John Kerry who shoulda won himself a while back who was going to be speaking on behalf of Obama. Because the crowd began gathering at the Capitol early, before I left the Museum, I got a couple of pictures. Frankly, I can't imagine a more inspiring place for a political speech. We didn't stay for the Rally* but everyone looked very enthusiastic about it:

There was a band playing while people gathered in a very anticipatory mood. It was very accommodating weather for the event, cool and cloudy. It's a fairly short walk from campus, so I imagine before the actual speechifying began the crowd swelled ; I didn't watch the coverage on the news, but I know how these things tend to go.

If you click on this one, you can see "Forward's" twin sister at the heart of the throng. I'd have sworn I saw a "Capitol Statues for Obama" button on her chiton. But this does show a little corner of the mood among Madisonians, for the most part - peace signs, &c. I'm sure I've mentioned before, Madison prides itself on being described as "77 Miles Surrounded by Reality". We atribute the Free Thinking atmosphere as resulting from the combination of main University and State Capital.

I think it's an exciting place to be, though, and I suppose one reason I like it so much is that I'm in agreement with the general population around here. It's a place an Aging Hippie can call home and be comfortable. (See above. Nope, don't know him.)

DISCLAIMER: we have our share of folks whose belief systems are like the Opposition, no matter which side you're on, of course. The teacher of my museum group yesterday wrote on his comment sheet that I had used "slang expressions" which they're trying to avoid: I referred to Candidate Obama as a "black man" (apparently they use only "African American" in their school) and I also mentioned that some of our red brethren prefer the term "Indian" to "Native American". I haven't had such comments before, but there are Perpetually Outraged no matter where you go. (My boss wasn't ruffled in the least....we know 'em when we sees 'em.)

And having said all that, however, I can also report that I am in the Final Stretch of the Dr. Who scarf!! (I will pause until the roar of enthusastic applause dies out.) I don't know as I'll finish it completely today - there are a couple big thick bands at the end, but the end IS in sight. I've been diligent about working on it while taking teevee breaks - and my Knitting Coach has been uncommon attentive:

You're slowing down - KNIT KNIT KNIT!!

I suppose it's not too soon to begin trying to decide where or not to actually add the (sometimes optional) 7" fringe to each end. Any thoughts on the subject? I may leave it off just because it stands a pretty good chance of, you know, *dragging*, and it could get wonky pretty easily. I'll watch my tapes of Tom Baker to see how he handles it - and maybe I'll swallow my
abject mindless pointless terror nervousness and see what the folks on Ravelry have to say about it.

* My mind is made up, and while I'm still reading stuff, I'm finished with speeches, debates, teevee commentary, &c. I can't imagine anything anyone could say that would sway me at this point - unless Barak announced that Knitting would be Illegal and ALL books should be burned. No worries, mate.


Cathy-Cate said...

I think there's no fear of knitting being banned: did you see this post?

Have a wonderful, enriching and fearless time at your writing retreat! And of course take some knitting. You'll need something to do with your hands while your brains is all busy like that.

CTJen said...

Ah, yes, I remember reaching that point of the Doctor Who scarf--the light at the end of the garter stitch tunnel. And I remember considering leaving off the tassels. The Scarf just did not look right without them.

Here's a link to a post I did about it recently:

Have a fun and productive time at your retreat!

kmkat said...

Have a wonderful and inspirational and productive time at your retreat! Perhaps you will miss many of the "vote for xxx" phone calls while you are away. We got four in an hour last night; what was even more annoying was that the first three were recordings.

Chanter said...

*beams* Madison is also a place that a young hippie geek can call home and feel welcome, or so I've discovered since moving here. Guess who still has the warm fuzzies over finally being the small town girl in the city, so to speak? Why yes, me! :)

I should e-mail you at some point here, shouldn't I? Were you serious about being willing to show me around? *warm fuzzies either way*

Have much productively writerly fun at your retreat! It's fitting that there'd be a writers' retreat on over the weekend of Wisconsin's book festival. I was checking the schedule out and saw 'childrens' books somethingorother' listed, and immediately thought of you. :)

Yarnhog said...

I'm 39 years old, and have voted in every election (except the one when I was unconscious in the hospital). This will be the first time I have ever voted FOR someone, instead of just AGAINST everyone else.

I do wonder, though, why Barack is a black man, when he is equally white. (Not that I care. However he wants to define himself is okay with me. I'm just wondering.)

yarndork said...

May I ask, how long IS that scarf if you're so excited to be nearing the end?