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avoiding my work

I was supposed to take a class at the Campbell school on how to make wooden books this week. But I bailed. I am so far behind on my homework, I decided to take the week off from “life” to buckle down and get some serious computer time in. I had cleared my schedule for the class, even canceled Kathy’s tutoring. Determined to make progress, I decided not to reschedule appointments. That way I wouldn’t have any excuse not to get some serious writing done. Of course, I haven’t been as productive as I had hoped. I am having a very hard time keeping focused on my work – I just don’t enjoy working on this book. I keep telling myself I should just plow thorough and get it over with, but that is harder in reality than in theory.


The good news is, I’ve attended to all kinds of other “busy work” in a concentrated effort NOT to attend to my homework. I paid bills and cleaned the house, did laundry and sent out a few literary contest submissions. I wrote blogs and went horseback riding. I watched the chicken coup get started and had the horses shoed and poked around the house site because the kitchen is going in this week Yippee. I took things to the dry cleaner (as if we need dry cleaned clothes living in the woods?) and did some cooking. I even went to Martha’s yarn shop to say “hi” and give her a copy of my spinning essay. I timed this so I could take her Monday morning beginner’s knitting class, thinking two hours for fun wouldn’t kill me.


I used to knit when I was young, but I haven’t picked up needles for about 25 years (other than occasional crochet projects, which is far different). The last time I knitted, I was making a pair of leg warmers in New York. If you consider how long ago leg warmers were in fashion you’ll understand just how long ago that was. But knitting is like riding a bike, and it only took about ten minutes for me to be knitting and pearling a nice sample square again.  I learned a combination of the two stitches, which creates a seed stitch. Pretty.


When I got home I showed the sample to Mark and he held it up to his chest and said, “Is this the beginning of my sweater?” (The man thinks he has a right to lay claim to each and every thing I make. Not that I’m complaining. It’s a wonder to me he would want anything that smacks of my handiwork. )


I looked at his 3XL size chest and my little tiny knitting sample (that took two hours) and said, “Not likely. You won’t be seeing a sweater from me until NEXT winter, if that. I need to practice first.”


Hearing that I was not beginning a project for him, he lost interest in my knitting talents. I suppose that makes sense. Knitting isn’t the most attractive hobby, associated to little ole ladies as it is. I can’t imagine I come across as all that sexy sitting around knitting (in my polka dot glasses). Maybe I should only knit naked, to defy the stereotype and assure this new interest doesn’t dampen my sex goddess image. Naw. That might get itchy. (And thank you for not saying, “What sex goddess image?)


Anyway, I bought a bunch of natural brown and grey alpaca yarn from Peru, and began a scarf (for me). It’s really just an excuse to practice. As you can gather, the true purpose of this is another great distraction to avoid homework.


I bought a spinning wheel this week too. I found one on E-bay that I thought would be a great starter wheel. It is a reconditioned wheel, 25 years old, with four bobbins and a freestanding skein winder. A great deal. It’s coming from Netherlands, so I’ll have to wait 4-6 weeks for it to arrive. Apparently, many people spin in the Netherlands. What else would explain why so many of the wheels offered come from that area of the world? The wheel I purchased is not a brand they manufacture anymore, but it is in great condition. I was so tempted by the many antique wheels for sale, all dated around the early 1800’s (my favorite decade of history to write about, so I tend to covet things from that period). However, I knew this wheel was for practical use, not for collecting, so I resisted the older ones. Until I know more about spinning wheels, I don’t trust that I could fix anything that might be wrong with an antique. Someday, I’d love a real old wheel just as a decorator piece.


I will let you know how it fares when it arrives. I have ordered some fiber and I’m ready to make yarn. Next project I knit I’m hoping will be out of my origional two-ply. Anyway, my spinning wheel is made of lovely walnut, it is a nice design, and if nothing else, it will decorate my study and give ambiance to my personal space. I figure if it doesn’t suffice, I can sell it on E-bay and purchase a newer, more modern one. Actually, when you are doing something as old fashion as spinning wool, high tech modern technology doesn’t seem all that imperative.


I am signed up for a 5K this Saturday. I had intended to do some running this month to prepare, but I haven’t had a chance. So, weather permitting, I’ll go and make a fool of myself and plod along weakly. Gee, nice when you have some entertaining humiliation to look forward to for the weekend. 


I received some beautiful comments from my non-fiction professor on my spinning piece this week. He felt it was my best attempt so far and suggested I try to get it published. I was thrilled because Mark didn’t particularly like the piece. He commented that he will be glad when I move past this “literary stage” and return to some mischievous romance writing. He thinks it suits me better. I guess that is a compliment, but considering I am in school struggling with the literary stuff now, it was depressing.  I do not feel all that talented anymore, and I struggle with a desire to quit all the time. Mark always smiles at me when I voice my frustration, because I’ve never quit anything in my life (at least since he’s known me), so he thinks I’m just blowing off steam, but really, some days, I wonder why I am torturing myself. My response from my fiction mentor this month (on my book) were harsh (but true) and served to squash what little enthusiasm I have left for that project. However, for all those ex-students of mine out there, let me point out that I am still plugging away, waiting for this frustration to pass. Growth is painful. But to achieve a higher level of proficiency, some degree of self-doubt and discomfort is normal. I will hang in there, as should they with whatever dream they are pursuing. (That’s my responsible pep talk for today.)


My mentor, AJ, told me to use the search mechanism in my word program to discover how many times I use the word “move” or some divertive (Movement, or moving) in the text. It came up as 107! That is one “move” every other page. Um… I certainly wanted a moving book, but that is absurd, even for a book about dance. So I am taking all the “moves” out this week. Sigh.  She also pointed out that I have an issue with reputation. I also say the same thing more than once (grin). It is as if I have to beat my readers over the head with a concept because I don’t trust they’ll get it. So, I’m fixing this too. But discussing this is depressing. So, never mind.


The weather here is so beautiful it is amazing. I went riding all alone yesterday, just looking up through the trees at the dappled sun, feeling the cool breeze caress my skin, and thought for one moment, that this particular moment was perfection. I try to hang on to moments like that. They sustain me.


The new owners of our business have been sharing some of the stressful situations and the endless grief that accompanies running that establishment, and looking at it now with distance, I wonder how we lasted as long as we did. We deserve what we have today, that is for sure. I earned my dappled sun and cool breeze. And I swear our past years devoted to that school is what makes me appreciate it as I do


I must go. Blogging is one of those things I do to avoid the homework too, and I am really starting to feel guilty. Guilt is probably the emotion I handle the least well.

About Ginny East Shaddock

Ginny is the owner of Heartwood Yoga Institute. She is an ERYT-500 Yoga teacher, C-IAYT Yoga therapist, RCYT & Ayurveda Counselor who loves nature, gardening, and creative arts. She has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University, and a BA in Business Administration from Eckerd College. She teaches writing and is the creator of the memoir writing program, "Yoga on the Page" combining the teaching of yoga to writing personal stories with integrity, intention, and heart.

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