On Writing – Stephen King

Read for the TBR 2008 Reading Challenge.

I read somewhere once that Stephen King’ On Writing was the best book about writing available, and while I haven’t read enough in the genre to feel comfortable agreeing with that sentiment, I can definitely say it’s one of the best books about writing I’ve ever read.

The book is part memoir – the afterward section dealing with the author’s serious accident in 1999 was particularly interesting, only because I remember that incident quite vividly, it was after all, very big news up here when it happened.

The other part of the book is full of writing advice, and what I really enjoyed about it was how honest that section was. Full confession here – this is actually only the second Stephen King book I’ve read (the other being The Stand). I’m not a fan of horror, and let’s face it, you don’t exactly think Stephen King when looking to read something in other genres. So what I do know of him is through little snippets of writing like his Entertainment Weekly column, and the fact that he’s really a local celebrity and shows up around here accordingly, so I have the image of him as a pretty low key, no bullshit kind of person. And that’s exactly how his writing tips come across. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone, if for other reason than the number of little things it made me think about that I take for granted in how I write. Like any writing book, it’s certainly not going to make sense to everyone, but it made a great deal of sense to me. Enough sense that I may actually try to seek out some non-horror King sometime when I’m looking for something different to read.



Yesterday, not being much of a hordes of insane shoppers fan, and with the BF working, I decided to head into town to see Twilight. Of that, I’ll 0nly say that I’m about fifteen years too old to be able to sit through that movie with a completely straight face. That being said, I did enjoy it. It was delightfully overwrought.

After the movie, since I was already paying for parking (and by the way – $5.25 Nickeloden parking garage for a movie and the additional few minutes it took me to wander through the city’s smallest yarn store? $5.25? Really?), I was finally able to wander over to Tess’ Designer Yarns. It’s a tiny little storefront, but inside, it’s packed with yarnish goodness. The colors are absolutely amazing, and the variety of really, really, really nice yarn was wonderful. I wandered around for a bit just feeling up the silk and cashmere. I ended up buying two skeins of sock yarn, which totally don’t represent the totality of the colorwheel available, but do represent my favorite colors. The sage green yarn is their is their regular sock yarn, but the blue yarn is the Peruvian sock yarn, a mixture of wool, silk, alpaca and nylon that’s actually machine washable. I’m totally in love.

And then, to top it all off, I got home, and found my Sock Yarnista package in the mail. I was prepared not to like this month’s selection that much, as it’s not really in a color scheme that’s normally my cup of tea, but I actually like it a bit more in person. It’s still probably going to become a gift, but I’ve definitely been enjoying looking at it today. (This month’s extra was magnetic pattern place holders. Love them!!)

Knitting Notes

I actually cast on holiday knitting item two a couple of days ago, but only just finally got around to taking a picture of it. You’ll notice I’m not necessarily that far along, as the pattern is a bit more fiddly than the last one I completed.

These are Nereid Fingerless Gloves, which are based on Cookie A’s Pomatomus sock pattern. It’s actually not nearly as hard a pattern as I initially feared, it just requires a little bit of paying attention. So, it’s definitely not something I can work on with anything remotely distracting on the tv nearby.

I’m using STR Raven Clan yarn in the Thraven colorway. Unlike the Valkyrie yarn I got at the same time, this one hasn’t been rubbing off on my fingers as I knit, which is a definitely plus. It’s also a lot more understated than the Valkyrie yarn – the undertones aren’t as prevalent over the black. It’s still pretty, though.

Knitting Notes

Christmas gift number one is done!

Pattern: Pulsations Socks
Yarn: Spunky Electic Supernova yarn in the Happy Ending colorway
Size 3 needles

This is a great, easy pattern that I was able to fly through. I’d definitely consider making it again, but perhaps with a slightly less busy colorway.

The yarn’s great, and I’d also definitely buy it again. Heck, it’s from a local dyer, and she’s got some other gorgeous stuff available that’s slightly more my cup of tea than this colorway is, so I’m sure I’ll be buying more of her stuff at some point. (One of these days, I will make it up to her shop!)

This is gift number one for my mother (technically a make up gift, since her mother’s day socks ended up not fitting). Next up are Nereid gloves for my sister.

Knitting Notes

I’ve been a little light on the posting this week, but I suppose that’s what happens when you’re reading a moderately weighty book, and working on two projects that aren’t done yet.

Project number one is the Pulsation Socks for my mother. The above is sock number one, but I’m actually past the heel on sock number two, and almost half way through the decreases into the foot. Depending on how much of a lazy weekend I end up having, I should be able to finish these off and move onto my sister’s gift.

I do have to say, I’m glad my mother say this yarn and liked it, because as much as I liked the color together on the skein, and as much as I like working with this yarn, I don’t think I would have ever worn anything made out of this yarn myself when it was finished. So, definitely better that it’s going to my mother, as it’s totally her cup of tea.

Project number two is the Brocade Leaves sweater. I finished the front on Thursday, all except for some weaving in of of ends. The v-neck was a smidge challenging. On both sides, I ended up with a stitch too many when I got to the top (luckily, the last two rows have equal amounts of stitches, so I was able to decrease those both out), but at least they’re even. The front even matches the back in size, which is definitely exciting. I’m looking forward to getting the sleeves done and seeing how this looks when it’s finished.

Clockwork – Philip Pullman

I’d originally had this book as a selection for the YA Reading Challenge, but it’s definitely a younger book than that, so I’ll read something else to finish out that challenge.

Clockwork is a quick macabre fairy tale set in a stereotypical German town, on the eve of the day the newest clockmaker apprentice will unveil the piece he’s made for the town’s glockenspiel that will signify that he’s an apprentice no longer. Like clockwork, there’s more going on in this town, and the apprentice’s story interlocks with that of a writer facing writer’s block, a clockwork prince, and a little girl who has to be brave to save everyone.

This is a great little story that I easily finished before bed last night, and I’m sure would amuse many a preteen reader.

No More Raking Until Next Year!

The yard work gods have smiled upon me! Fourteen bags into my raking funfest, I ran out. Fortunately, I remembered some slightly smaller bags I had upstairs. There were four of those left, which turned out to be the exact number I needed to get everything bagged up and in the garage, pending pick up by my mother (she puts them in her compost). I managed to accomplish this over a leisurely three days, with no sign of an impending snow storm. Life is good.

I also moved all of the pots that are still showing signs of life a little closer to the garage. I figure as long as nature wouldn’t have them under a snowbank, I’ll give them the benefit of sun for as long as they still look like they’re using it. At this point, all of the annual pots and all of the perennials that have died back (hostas, I’m looking at you) are already stowed in the garage for the winter.

And here’s our poor, pollarded lilac bush. I really hope it comes back next year. It’s right outside our bedroom window (well, not so much anymore since our landlord took off all of the height), and I’d miss it in the spring. You’ll notice there are still leaves in this bed. I leave leaves on any garden bed where they fall. I figure any natural mulch is good mulch. I take them off in the spring.

The one thing I’m a little excited about since the lilac has been cut back so drastically is that I might actually be able to make more use of this bed next year. The part closest to the house is probably still to shady, but the section to the right make actually get slightly more than partial sun, which will be a vast improvement over prior conditions. So we’ll see if I decide to do anything with it in the spring.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Coronet Hat from Knitty, smallest size
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the Blueberry colorway
Needles: size 8s – circs and DPNs

Coronet hat is done. This is a great, fast hat. The cable band came together quite quickly, and would make a great introduction to cabling. My kitchenering on the band wasn’t the greatest, but thankfully the couple of random loops I ended up with are hidden on the back.

The one thing I’m not sure I like is the shaping on the top. I’m getting a couple of little points up there that I’m not necessarily super fond of. Still, it’s a great, warm hat that fits quite well.

My Work is Cut out for Me

This would be my backyard on Monday. I actually managed to get a fair amount of this pushed toward the back fence before I made the mistake of manually cleaning off the kidlet’s playscape, and the resulting wet state of my gloves gave me a charming blister on my thumb. So I’ve given that a day to set, and will be out there this afternoon to hopefully start bagging up some leaves.

I’m just trying to remind myself that at least they fell this year before there was any hint of snow in the forecast…