Thursday, September 13, 2007

OFFF is next week

It just occurred to me that the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is next week. Next week! I received two skeins of Spider Web yarn from Interlacements for swatching purposes late last month. I had a number of ideas before the yarn arrived but when the yarn came they dried up. So between sessions of picking up paper scraps and stray skeins I'm working on swatches. The Renaissance colorway of the yarn is quite pretty and working out very well. There is a Reds Plus skein somewhere that has yet to turn up. I hope to find it so that I'll have a couple of swatches to show Judy when she comes to OFFF.

In the meantime I have a potential buyer/trader for the Majacraft Suzie, who will be traveling with me to OFFF Saturday. A group of the PDX Knitbloggers will be heading down to Canby and setting up camp at a good spot so that we can compare finds. I will also be receiving from the kidnappers the Kidnapped Can Opener. The drop site is confidential but Mr Pink will be meeting up with not only the PDX Knitbloggers but also going on tour with me and Confluence to southern Oregon. I also hear he's going to Rhinebeck, the lucky dog. From what I'm hearing though his adventures at Burning Man weren't exactly chaste. I may have to have Church Key supervise his visits with Miz Swing-A-Way.

Heavy Reading

At the beginning of summer, there's usually a summer reading segment on NPR news with the reporter talking with someone famous or somewhat famous and what they plan to read over the summer. The conversation heads in the direction of reading something fairly heavy like a history, a treatise, or a novel that is "enlightening in its construction." Stuff that I appreciate but equate to reading in a quiet corner of a library with the smells of ancient tomes around me. I can't imagine taking something like "The Ins, Outs, Whys, Hows, and Wheretofores of Crimean War Buglers and How They Kept Their Polish" to the beach. So during the summer I usually look for lighter fare: a good mystery; an engrossing fantasy; a recommended novel. I'll look for stories on baseball players and stroll through the stacks of my local library to see if something catches my eye.

It must be the whiff of school that drew me to The Norton Anthology of Western Literature Vol. 2.

I remember reading the first volume in high school. It had thin pages and weighed a minor ton. It had Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer, Ovid, Virgil, Homer, and a whole flock of ancient and Middle Age pieces up to Shakespeare's Hamlet. The class that used it only used a tiny chunk of the tome, but it opened my eyes to the variety of literature that just those periods created. I even entertained the idea of getting a copy of my own because it would show that I was a broad-minded reader of the classics. But I never did.

The sight of the book on the shelf reminded me of that book and high school. I looked through the table of contents and saw it contained many excerpts from different eras that are commonly referred to in various other sources. Voltaire, Racine, Moliere, Baudelaire, Keats, Swift, Samuel Johnson, Poe, Tennyson. From the Elizabethan period to the 20th century. Printed on thin paper and weighing a minor ton. It drew me to it and before I knew it I had it under my arm, mine for 3 weeks.

Now three weeks is not enough time to take in this much literature by any means. We're talking over 2000 pages of works that have withstood the test of time. One could skim it but one should savor it. Read a piece and think about it. What was it that made it stay with us while contemporaries vanished into the dust? Why should we read this now? And how can I take this tome and prop it up so that it stays open while I'm knitting, especially at the beginning and the end?


MonicaPDX said...

Good god, I'm just realizing OFFF is that close, too! ::deer in headlights look:: ROFL re the Kidnapped Can Opener; thanks for posting the link, I'd lost mine somehow and totally forgotten about the saga! Now I can catch up. And I'd love to be in a photo with it - group, individual, whatever. Hope he gets here in time for OFFF.

Speaking of literature... Does it drive you nuts to read on the computer? If not, have you heard of Project Gutenberg?
Briefly - thousands of out of copyright books online, free, downloadable. In txt format, with many by now also in HTML so you can read offline in your browser. Cato, Caesar, Plato, Hindu mythology, The Story of Gilgamesh, Austen, Dickens, Twain, novels, popular authors, Westerns, mysteries, children's books, travelogues from all over, personal accounts of WWI-- You get the idea. I love that site! Ok, so you can't curl up in a chair with 'em, but great reading on the computer while knitting!

Bobbie said...

And if you prefer to listen to books, as I do, then try Librivox; free audio recordings of books for which copyright has run out. Lots of classics and obscure stuff. Perfect for knitting while commuting! And free, free, free!

Sharon Rose said...

oooooooo so jealous... want to go to OFFF!