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Crochet-as-metaphor-for-novel-writing

I’m going to come out and say what you’ve all been thinking: there are not enough blog posts out there labouring this whole ‘crochet-as-metaphor-for-novel-writing‘ thing. Certainly not on this ‘crochet-as-metaphor-for-novel-writing‘ blog, which has lain fallow for almost a year. Oh the shame of it all.

So here is an update on where I am with my novel writing, as represented by some of my crochet projects. You know, because crochet-as-metaphor, etc, etc.

MANUSCRIPT #1: THE HIDDEN DRAWER
Two strangers exchange messages about their unhappy married lives in the suburbs via a hidden drawer in a cafe table, unaware that there is someone else reading them.

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This manuscript is like the Forever Blanket. It took me forever and to you, the casual observer, it looks finished. But then, you get up close and you see shit like this:

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And then someone, maybe me, tells you how I have to keep emergency yarn in my bedside table drawer so that I can fix it in the all the places it keeps unravelling and how I sometimes have to do this as I’m trying to go to bed, and you realise how stupidly flawed the whole thing is.

Maybe ‘The Hidden Drawer’, like the Forever Blanket, will never be finished-finished but maybe that’s okay because I learnt so much in the making of it.

Maybe.

But I’ll keep trying to fix it, because I’m stubborn like that. Also, I love it.

MANUSCRIPT #2: OUT OF WATER
A woman finds a wedding ring at the beach and shares it on Facebook in the hope of finding its owner. But as she uncovers a secret relationship, the tragic death of a child and the bizarre end of a man in a home-made fish suit, she realises the ring isn’t the quite the gift she thought it would be.

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This manuscript, which I had just started at the time of my last blog post, is now in its third draft and was recently sent out into the world in four different directions. Like this baby blanket, it still needs tidying up. Also, I’m not entirely convinced that it’s big enough.

But for the moment, I’m not going to do anything else on it. Certainly, with the blanket, I won’t finish it off until the baby it’s been made for has been safely delivered into this world. And with the manuscript, I’ll just wait and see where and when it lands before I open that particular Scrivener file again.

MANUSCRIPT #3: EACH OTHER (working title)
A car overturns on a remote West Australian road. Nobody is badly hurt, but the impact is felt by the two sisters involved for decades afterwards.

FullSizeRenderThis manuscript is like this new blanket project: a small, random selection of messy-looking squares that I’ve half-heartedly started stitching together, in the full knowledge that I’ve only completed 10% of the squares I’ll ultimately need to do before I can even begin to call it a blanket.

MANUSCRIPT #4: [Title completely unknown]
Something about postcards. 

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This manuscript is very much like this future crochet project, where very little is known about it except that I think I might like to use this orange yarn from Morris & Sons.

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Where are we now, where are we now?

Remember how I got excited because my novel got commended for the VPUMA‘s last year? Well, it turns out that thing wasn’t a novel at all, it was only the first draft of a novel. A mere shadow of the vague thought of a novel, if you will.

However, you may be interested to know that a few months – and drafts – later, I was selected for the Hachette/Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development Program and now, in May 2106, I’m now looking down the barrel of Draft Seven and might just be ready to call it an Actual Novel.

In the meantime, I have made this:

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And this:

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And this:

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I have also embarked on the first draft of a mere shadow of a vague thought of another novel. Now, before anyone suggests that this means I should embark on another Forever Blanket as well, I’m going to fix you all with a steely gaze that unequivocally says “Back off, motherfuckers. This girl’s gotta write.”

Bonus points for anyone who picked up the Bowie reference in this post’s title. For the record, his passing still hurts. 

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Are we there yet?

Ever finished a 256-square blanket and laid it gently across your bed only to discover it should, in fact, be a 289-square blanket?

Ever written a novel with the aim of submitting it for an unpublished manuscript award and then getting to the other side of the award and realising you still have to get the damn thing published?

It’s enough to make a girl put down her crochet hook and her manuscript and take up something altogether different, like planking. And yes, I know that’s an outdated cultural reference but I’ve been busy writing a novel, you know.

Still, it’s not all bad.

My manuscript made the the judges’ commended list for the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award. And my Forever Blanket is looking like this:

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So the answer to the question “Are we there yet?” is “No, but we’re getting closer. So here, have some more car snacks and shut the hell up.”

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What a difference a month makes

So I haven’t posted on this blog for over a month. Nor have I crocheted a single granny square for over a month. There’s a reason for this.

You see, about a month ago I found myself collecting the little scraps of wool I had snipped off from the granny squares I was making for my Forever Blanket – you know, those multi-coloured mouse tails that litter most wool-based crafters’ homes? Those little fuckers. Anyways, it turns out that I was collecting these with the vague notion that I might make my own felt. Yes, my own felt.

WHAT THE FUCK.

It was this little wake up call that made me realise I needed to step away from the Forever Blanket (and its accompanying spreadsheet) for a little while and get some damn perspective. And it was then that I really started to write.

But rest assured, I haven’t put down my crochet needle hook all together. Since I can’t write in front of the television, I still made the following gifts:

A hat!

A hat!

Another hat!

Another hat!

More fucking coasters

More god-damned coasters

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This… thing.

And admittedly, even though I haven’t crocheted any squares, I have had a first stab at joining some of the existing squares together for the Forever Blanket.

Ooooh....

Ooooh….

Aaaaahhhhh....

Aaaaahhhhh….

3 rows done. 13 more to go.

3 rows done. 13 more to go. Pass the gin, please.

So that’s what I’ve done in the past month. What have you done? (And anyone who says they’ve written a whole novel or completed a 256-square blanket gets a chinese burn. Just saying.)

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My ‘Forever Blanket’ is taking me fucking forever

This year, I embarked on a project: to make a queen-sized blanket for our bed – a ‘Forever Blanket’, if you will. I still remember how young and full of hope I was when I walked into Melbourne’s Morris & Sons that bright sunny day and bought ten balls of wool.

‘This will be enough’, I said to myself, and then “I’ll have it done in no time!”, followed by “Who knew it was even possible to spend that much money on wool?”  and finally “I really should destroy this receipt before someone sees it and knows my wool-based shame.”

Three decades and about $10,000 in wool later, I’m barely past the halfway point.

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ‘FOREVER BLANKET’ PROJECT IN PHOTOS

Here is a photo to show the colour scheme I chose:

Colour schemeCLEARLY, I WANT TO BE CROCHETING A 1970s-STYLE BIKINI INSTEAD.

I took this next photo at a point where I thought twelve squares represented “a lot” in the world of squares.
Ooooh... 12 squares. WHAT A SOFT COCK I WAS.

After 95 squares, it made sense to decide to retro-add an additional round in brown to “make it easier to join together at the end”.
Brown out! THIS IS WHEN I KNEW I WAS PLAYING THE LONG GAME, BITCHES.

This last photo shows what 131 squares looks like:
This is what 131 squares looks like. At this stage, the blanket should be ready in time for me to be buried in it. ACCORDING TO MY MOST RECENT CALCULATIONS, THE FOREVER BLANKET SHOULD BE READY IN TIME FOR ME TO BURIED IN IT.