March 24, 2008


A second cup of tea and a look at the clock. Big smile. Today, there's no mad dash to make lunch, take a shower and arrive at work by 7:30 a.m. Not for the next nine work days either. Spring Break has arrived. Two beautiful weeks to relax, reflect and enjoy.

This week is dedicated to writing and my quest to master (a gross exaggeration) basic knitting skills. During the break my teacher is a virtual one: Knitting Help. I've never seen her face but my new instructor has talented hands and a reassuring voice. So far I've viewed the Double Cast-On and the Continental and English Methods of Knitting. One is easier for left handers and the other is preferred by those who are right hand dominant. It probably isn't surprising to learn that I show no facility with either technique. I just keep clicking on the replay button. At some point I'll figure out which one works best for me. I'm going to invest in a larger set of needles and a slightly thicker yarn to see if that makes the process easier to handle and easier to see what I'm doing.

I have a legitimate role model for the writing/knitting combo. Sue Grafton, the A-T (so far) Kinsey Milhone mystery writer, is a local resident and was featured on a public access television show, The Creative Community. It was fascinating to hear about her road to success-a long one involving at least six unpublished manuscripts--and her writing process. She also talked about her love of knitting. Knitting requires different skills and "relaxes" the mind. Mechanical creativity as opposed to brain-draining creativity. A nice balance.

Next Saturday, my sister Barbara arrives in Santa Barbara. She's joining me for a road trip. We're leaving on Sunday morning and driving to Lone Pine,a little town in the Eastern Sierra nestled below Mt. Whitney. We're staying at the "historic" Dow Villa motel and are planning visits to Manzanar, the Eastern Sierra Museum and Death Valley. Manzanar is now a National Historic Site, operated by the National Park Service. The museum chronicles the internment of Japanese Americans post-Pearl Harbor. The "relocation" traumatically affected individuals, families and the livelihoods of all Japanese Americans of that era. I don't know why I am so intrigued by this event. It seems like an obvious miscarriage of justice and a devasting act of discrimination perpetrated by Americans toward other American citizens. This subject is a future writing project for me. I am going to immerse myself in "setting" this trip. Lots of pictures and note-taking.

The Owens Valley and Death Valley are both in bloom right now. The restoration of the Owens River has transformed the dry salty soil of that water-deprived valley into a environment which now supports its own flora and fauna. In Death Valley the rain of this past winter has brought a good crop of wildflowers to bloom in the middle of the desert. It's my first visit to Death Valley. Couldn't imagine going there in the triple-digit, super-heated summer but am looking forward to seeing what this season has to offer.

The last time Barb and I went on a road trip together was during my spring vacation three years ago. We went to Paris for ten days to see a beautiful city and visit Nora while she was studying there. Paris was full of springtime blooms, too.


Patty P said...

Isn't it exciting to have a whole week of writing ahead of us? I'm just giddy with the actual prospect of writing and reading.
I can hardly wait to hear about your forth coming trip. I know it will manifest into a beautiful novel one day.

Laura Elliott said...

Have a fabulous time doing your research Maggie! Can't wait to hear all about it. How wonderful for you and your sister to road trip together:)

Patty P said...

I added your Blog to my side bar that okay? Coffee tomorrow am? (Wednesday 8:30ish?)