When someone asks me "how was your day/week/summer/year" I, like everyone else say, "pretty good on the whole." I mean really now, is there anything else that someone can say?
But that makes for a really boring essay, but I when I think about the quality of my days, weeks, summers, and years, I think I tend to think about them in terms of what I've produced.
I've had a good summer on the whole, but I haven't gotten much writing done, I've completely neglected a minor academic project. At the same time, I've grown a lot as a spinner, I've discovered and developed a my inner pedagogical side, and I have a basket of some pretty cool knitted objects to my credit.
I think that I've produced about as much this summer, as I did the summer I wrote the first 42% of the book. (That is the summer before my junior year of high school for those of you keeping track at home). But of course it's in a much different form.
That summer, when I was done, I had an intellectual creation which, especially in retrospect isn't that great, but seemed really promising at the time. When I was writing Circle Games, I thought that I had a half decent shot at getting it published, and I thought that one way or another that professional/freelance writing would be a large part of my career both in the long term and in the short term (during the end of high school and college). That's something that hasn't quite panned out, and while writing remains a large part of my future career plans, it no longer has that sort of vocational aspect that it once did. I don't get home at night, and say, "gee, I hope I can get a few moments to write tonight." On the other hand, in many ways, life and days at school revolve around writing, so maybe that's a healthy reaction.
I guess ultimately the difference between my knitting and my writing, is that my essays and the book had, at least on the conceptual level, the ability to live on and beyond me. Even on the much smaller scale of this blog, I have the possibility of affecting people by these words who I don't know and have no connection to except the words I'm putting together. The knitting is different. It's artistic and creative all the same, but the effect is different. I affect myself, as knitting is entertaining, and I affect the people I teach knitting to, and the people I who wear things I've knitted. But it's much more direct, more concrete, and finite. Especially in response to the "how was your day/week/summer/year" question.
Being who I am, with the analytical lens that I seem to have, I think I should draw attention to the gendered aspect of this comparison. I think knitting has been a women's activity, not particularly because of the impact of the industrial revolution (but I won't deny that that has had a huge impact on knitting), but because of the more ephemeral aspect of the craft. Since the advent of agriculture, women's work has tended towards activities that didn't have an enduring quality, and I think knitting is very much a product of this trend. I mean of course there are lots of factors at play here, but I think this idea should be incorporated into gender and knitting related historical analyses.
In a related tangent, I'm going to read a book called "No Idle Hands; A Social History of American Knitting." It looks really cool. I'll get back to you on this.
So there. And I didn't even tell you what I've been knitting, so stay tuned.