Friday, December 3, 2010
Knitting with words
Because I am a knitter and a writer, I find that words and yarn tend to blend themselves well. This probably won't make sense to anyone who isn't a knitter. I find that when I write certain words lend themselves better because of the way that they sound or feel in the mouth. It is much like choosing a yarn to go with a pattern or a pattern to go with a specific yarn. It might be the most scrumptious Merino and silk, but it may make horrible cables or it might be the most fabulous lace pattern but the mottled yarn causes the lace to be lost amongst all the color changes.
In writing my NaNo for the year I wrote about knitters. This yarn and word mixture was even more pronounced for me. Now not only did I have to find the right word for the moment, but also the right knitting words. Words such as needles, cable, stitch, Malabrigo, wool, cotton all came into play. If someone is angry, the word cashmere is all wrong. She doesn't pick up a ball of cashmere and throw it against the wall. She picks up a ball of linen or a hank of black scratchy acrylic. Cashmere comes into play when he thinks about her or perhaps she remembers that disastrous first date while grasping a pair of fourteen inch long size US 4 Stiletto needles. That combination of words and what they represent varies from page to page and it is all important. I loved seeing that evolve in this book. The fibers that reflected the moment. The knitting actions that represented a feeling. Someone who is angry doesn't flit the stitches from needle to needle, but rather she picks at them or perhaps she is extremely angry and she stabs at her work.
In the end a sweater is born and a book awakens. It was a fun process. And now I have many ends to weave in, seams to sew, and blocking to shape it correctly. It's very sweater-like this book writing.
(Side note to all the non-knitters: you may find this true of your own interests outside of writing. I can't really give you any non knitting or cooking ideas, but you probably see it, if not consider it next time you sit down to write, especially if you involve those things that you love.)