Squawk Radio

Thursday, October 27, 2005

CONNIE CHANNELS SUSAN SIZEMORE--at least until we can figure out how this guest blogger thing works...

Thank you for inviting me to join you ladies of Squawkradio. I am truly honored. I can hear Brockway and Dodd gagging in the background, so I’ll add -- More or less, considering the sources, and all that….

My apologies to all for arriving so late at the party. I have strong negative opinions about late guests, so I hate being one. However, my morning was spent in the clutches of the medical establishment – three, count them, three – appointments in one morning. Then when I finally got home my totally spoiled dog would give me no peace until we went for a long walk. Finally being back from the walk, she’ll now leave me alone until some other whim must be obeyed. I long ago resigned myself to the knowledge that I am not the alpha member of this pack.

When I was invited to make comments and spout opinions, or should I say, squawk, as a paranormal writer I had to figure out what I wanted to squawk about. It came to me that I should comment, and ask for comments, on the things that scare us, and why a touch of fear can be so titillating. I reckon I’ll get around to that by Halloween. Right now I feel like talking about communities, and the sense of community.

Oh, not in any deep and meaningful way. I’m too shallow for much philosophizing (unless I’m getting paid by the word). But I’ve been realizing how many ways there are to find a sense of community – and I’ve discovered a few more that I’m a part of of late. It seems that there’re all sorts of ways to find communication and friends, and you might not even notice any particular subculture until you’re a participating member of it. Now, I’ve always been involved with fellow writers. And I’ve belonged to groups like the Society for Creative Anachronisms, and I go to science fiction conventions. The weird stuff is a normal part of my world.

I got to thinking about community because I was invited to Squawkradio, but what really made me want to talk about it is knitting. In the last few months I’ve become yarn obsessed. I’m fascinated with color and texture and patterns. Thanks to Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition I even knit while I’m writing. I used to knit, and do a lot of embroidery, when I was younger, hadn’t done any for well over a decade. I didn’t think I’d ever become interested again. My first brush with the knitting community was when I was having lunch in a Noodles a few months back. Some young women at a table near mine were having a knitting group meeting. I noticed them all working on their projects, and suddenly signed with longing. When I went on vacation I decided to pick up some yarn and needles at a yarn shop, and started refreshing my skills. Then I went back for more yarn. And then more. I’d enriched the island’s economy quite a bit by the time we left. When I got home I discovered local yarn shops, and, dangerously, online yarn shops. UPS has been very busy delivering more and more yarn to my door. I bought books. I hid in my room and knitted and purled maniacally. My housemate made noises about my needing an intervention. But all this knitting was done on my own. The actual community part is something I’ve been drawn into recently.

It started on a ferry ride between Vancouver Island and the mainland. I was working on the scarf that ended up going to Geralyn Dawson when I saw another woman knitting in another part of the passenger cabin. I sidled over to sit behind her, meaning to strike up a conversation if the opportunity should present itself. Oddly enough, it was another community I’m part of that drew me into acquaintance, with the woman’s daughter. I happened to overhear the young woman mention Stargate, and I perked right up, and barged into their conversation. Turns out the young woman is the special effects supervisor of my favorite television show, and I learned all sorts of cool things from her about Stargate and Stargate Atlantis – because of knitting.

Then my roommate (the one who’s planning the interventions…as soon as I finish that sweater for her) saw an ad for a place called Yarn Café. We went there for lunch, and it was like going to heaven. I had lunch in the café, I signed up for a class, I talked to other knitters. I came home with some yarn.

Then this morning, I took knitting along with me to work on while waiting for medical stuff. First someone paused in the waiting room to tell me she was working on a shawl like I was making. We talked about yarn overs and other secret language stuff. Then I ended up teaching the doctor the pattern I was working on, for she is a knitter too. It was delightful to be sitting in an examination room showing the person I’d come to see how to do something. It reinforced this growing sense of belonging that makes me feel really good.

Anyway, thanks for inviting me into this community. And if you’re interested, the shawl pattern couldn’t be simpler. Pick a yarn and a needle size. Cast on three stitches. Knit one, yarn over, knit to end. Do this every row until it’s as long and as wide as you want. I have fancier patterns if you want. I know websites. I’ll go away now.

Susan Sizemore
Connie Brockway, 6:56 PM