a dangerous drink...

There is really something about drinking coffee out of this reinvent mug. The combination of caffeine and enterprise can be dangerous... or just really, really exciting.
I'm still sorting throught the leftovers of my spring cleaning retreat, itching for bigger changes, and soon.
Glancing outside my window right now, at the greening lawn, the budding magnolia, the cloudless sky... Everything spring encourages me to seize the day, seize the caffeine, seize the bold reinvent statement for myself. To turn my life into a blank page, and grab some fresh markers, paints, yarn, words, and stories to fill it.
I'm thinking through a lot of things right now, a lot of things... Changes in my days, changes in my outlook, changes in my surroundings. Nothing is safe.
And as for this blog? I'm working toward serious, fantastic changes for it, as well. So hold on tight, bookpie. I have more coffee in my cup, and you're on the reinvent list, too...



me and the ampersand

So I lied, and last night became this morning... but here it is, the Ampersand Pillow:

If my heart became a pillow... this just might be it.


new item soon!

PS: Hopefully tonight I'll be able to post my latest knitted creation to our Squirrel & Serif store. I've been knitting my way through a list of special ordered hats and haven't created much that's new...

everyone seems to want one of these!! it's super cute, but takes a while to make, so i'm a little swamped...

Anyway, hoping to make some new things soon, and to refresh the store with springy items!

Last weekend I made something I absolutely love... it's not particularly springy, but it charms me nonetheless.

Okay, charms is an understatement. I dreamed this up one night when I was supposed to be sleeping but couldn't, so I created a list of knitting ideas (creativity is not conducive to sleep!), and this was easily at the top. I love it so much that I kinda hate to sell it, but at the same time, I really really want it to have a good home. ... And I'll have to make another for myself.

So anyway. Stay tuned. Hopefully we'll have that up tonight. :)

And after that, I'll let you know when we get the bulk of our spring items posted. Wish me luck on all those hats! Ten down, five to go! (And then one for me. And my sisters. And my niece. And... what can I say, they're endearing!)

the quote festival, second helping

Yes, really, I'm back with more quotes. See, it's a grey day here, and in between listening to rain spattering the window and the whispering of the pine tree just outside it, I've begun to feel a little dull.

My main writing task today is building the outline for this sequel I'm working on... so far so good, but I need a little coffee, as well as a little literary caffeine.

Double remedy: French press coffee--hazelnut, with a pinch of cinnamon, oh my... wish I could pour you some--and another dip into my quote book. That, at least, I can share. Coffee and fine words are just meant to go together, aren't they?

All I desire is such letters as the heart dictates, and which the hand cannot transcribe fast enough. -- Heloise, to Abelard (... Somehow this loses its ring when you substitute emails or facebook messages or texts... Yes, Heloise, I'll still believe in letters with you.)

The person, being it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. -- Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey. (This was found first by my sister, and it makes me laugh every time!)

Pray remember me to Every body who does not enquire after me. -- Jane Austen in a letter to her sister. (Also funny. I want to say things like this when I grow up. Heck, I'd like to be Jane Austen when I grow up, but I think that's been taken...)

The significant, life-forming times are the dull, in-between times. -- Jan Karon, In This Mountain

It is a pleasant pastime to think of what might be a good kitchen for yourself. -- M.F.K. Fisher

It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning. -- Bill Watterson

Of all the presentiments which some people are always having, some surely must come right. -- William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair

The fact that you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you. -- Adrienne Kress, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman

It was one thing to be all alone and facing certain death or worse at the hands of Dr. Mennus, and it was another thing to be expected to do it without coffee. -- Michael Hoeye, Time Stops for No Mouse (Can the same be said for outlining? I think so.)

Okay, I saved the biggest for last, but it's so worth it. Savor this one. It's the perfect note to get me back to my desk...

Books are never out of humour, never envious or jealous, they answer all questions with readiness; they reveal the secrets of Nature, the events of the past; they teach us how to live and how to die; they dispel melancholy by their mirth, and amuse by their wit; they prepare the soul to suffer everything and desire nothing; they introduce us to ourselves; they uphold the downcast, and restrain the conceited by warning that days are swift and life short; and all they ask in return is a quiet corner where they may be safe from the attacks of their enemies. -- Holbrook Jackson, The Anatomy of Bibliomania

They introduce us to ourselves... perhaps the loveliest thing you can say about a book.

That does it... back to the outline.


spring cleaning

I'd done impossible things several times in the past, and the prospect didn't scare me as much as it used to. -- Jasper Fforde, Lost in a Good Book

You know how it is. One day you're living in your house, everything tidy and fine, and the next day all you can see is the dust, those cobwebs you've been living under for how long now?, the scuffs, the peeling paint... Your next free weekend, you roll up your sleeves and kick into cleaning gear.

That's kind of what happened to me recently, except that my room looks (mostly) fine. It was more me that was the problem: I felt restless, frustrated, and what we affectionately call snarky: irritable enough that I didn't feel right in my own skin.

It had been building for weeks--okay, months--and I couldn't tell what was wrong: was I brain-sick, heart-sick, or just body-sick? Whatever was happening, I felt like I was falling apart. And it really ticked me off.

Why? Because when I look at my life: rent-free, surrounded by a loving and caring family, living my dream of novel writing at age 25, and using my favorite hobby to scoop up a little money... I feel like I should rush about so full of joy that I almost can't stand it.

Which isn't exactly how the last few weeks looked for me.

So I took last Thursday off, went away with a new journal, a few books, and a clutch of pens to find out why.

my "laptop": journal from Red Velvet Art.

Coffeehouse-hopping around St. Charles, Missouri, I came to a few conclusions, amidst crepes and cappuccinos.

Biggest and weirdest of all, I finally defined a belief I've been living with for nearly four years: That this time of living at home and crafting a novel (which turned into three novels) is an "in-between" time: between the college years and Real Life, between the end of youth and the beginning of adult, between goofing off and career. Between. In limbo. Or in marching band parlance, marking time.

But I've marched my fair share of parades, and four years is a long while to be marking time.

And I think that's what's been frustrating me: the time schedule in my head doesn't come close to the time schedule that I'm living. There's always been this crushing sense that I should be faster at this, faster at writing. When I graduated, someone foolishly told me (joking, I'm sure) that I could probably have my first novel written by October, and move on to its sequel.

Ha ha ha, I said. But some monsterish part of me actually believed I could. I've read novels most of my life, I reasoned. I ought to be able to figure it out.

Well, I'm on my way to figuring it out, but novels are complicated beasts, and I seem to be making my first one even more complicated than usual. It's turning out well, really well in fact. I'm proud of it, but I know it has further to go before it's agent-ready, bookshelf-ready.

Even with this bit of common sense, I chafe at the passing of time. Whenever someone asks if I'm done yet, or when will it be finished, I can hear this massive clock ticking in my head. Some terrible voice notes the passage of each minute, each week, which is why I so often dash about screeching It's late March already, LATE MARCH!

I have the hardest time "forgiving" myself for the time it takes to craft a novel. Especially an enormous, subplot-laden, complication-ridden, young adult fantasy.

But why? Why do I do that, carry that false guilt around? It's like running a marathon with a limp, or swimming the English Channel with weights on your feet. Less kindly put, it's just plain stupid. Writing a novel is hard enough. Pretending it takes no time or effort, and then beating yourself up when it does? Far harder.

Which is why I usually plan my brains out. If I can see my way through the natural writing chaos to all the steps I imagine between me and the perfect manuscript... well then. If I can see it, I can do it. But so many of my plans are basically saying, in neat columns and rows, "I am terrified of writing a book."

So I grabbed that fear last Thursday and did my best to choke it. Obviously it takes a while for me to learn to write a novel. And if the freaking out is optional, then I'd rather not be freaking out, thanks all the same.

Strange--it's hard to give up something you routinely panic about. Quite hard. If I stop worrying about this, will I just sit around in my PJs all day, bellowing for coffee, staring out the window and pretending to be dreaming up my masterpiece? Still pottering around this bedroom at age forty? Though I know my family wouldn't just let me rot away like that. But still.

If you're going to rethink your life, try to have a lovely view. New Town, St. Charles.

I tend to think that the opposite of worry is apathy... but that's not true. I will still care deeply about writing my novel well--and will probably write a better one if I'm not spending time and energy clawing at calendar pages.

Still. It will take some practice believing that four years is okay. That this time of learning to write a novel isn't limbo, isn't in between, isn't a blank spot on my life. That I'm not waiting to begin, that my midtwenties aren't just this space of marking time.

But practice I will. Each day is my life. Each day that I write mediocre dialogue, I'll know that it's one more step toward sizzling lines. Each day that I brainstorm a fistful of complications for my protagonist, I'll know I'm on my way to a thrilling, can't-put-down book.

I'm learning. I'm growing. I'm moving forward. And that's not the same thing as marking time. Not the same thing at all.