When I moved to this island, I discovered that every woman I met living here had artistic crafty talent or amazing five-star chef like skills, and I had none. I could neither stitch in a ditch nor stuff a tenderloin. What to do? I decided to pull a quote from a book I had recently read and went with “I’m writing a book”. After all, these are just neighbours, they will never know if I’m writing a book or telling a tall tale.
But then I discovered that neighbours on this island aren’t like neighbours in the city. These people actually became my friends and knew pretty quickly that not only did I not have any artistic or crafty talent, but dining at my house knew I wasn’t a chef. They easily deduced that I was not writing a book either.
One can’t show up at a dinner party in October to boast your single achievement since the summer AGM was having read a significant amount of fiction. Sure, I did read 26 books one June, but that feat didn’t translate into the kind of badge of honour a quilt or a batik would have merited. I suspected that all of my new neighbours were also capable of reading when they didn’t seem very impressed.
So, I told them about the blog (not so much a book as a diary) and a lot of them began to follow along and I am honoured. But it doesn’t take many hours in a day to write a blog post and these women are making sweaters and quilts and gardens and beaded jewellery. Shit, even the men manage to carve masks or draw negative space flower pots between their septic systems chores and their wood splitting. I was hooped, and needed to come up with something.
I wrote the island newsletter for three and half years (seven issues) but that grew as boring for me as my readers. Actually, I’m not sure anyone actually read it.. But none the less that was my community service and I was able to forestall the inevitable “how’s the book going” question with elaborate stories about content and margin width concerns.
I guess the propensity for artistic persona to move to this type of environment would be obvious to most but I hadn’t expected that I would need to understand the difference between fair isle and cable knit to have a drink with my friends. Fortunately, my friends are generous in their patience and single syllabled in their explanations.
It’s been six years. I have been able to fake my way through their artistic maze. Last year I sewed squares in the raffle quilt and this year made a baby quilt. I still can’t knit and I still can’t cook. Please to God, no one expect me to draw anything.
But I do now know the topic of the book I hope to write. Today, I began in earnest to put transcribe my notes. I still don’t know how I am going to approach the tale. There is a lot of information to go through. I feel that it will take slightly less time to write than a George R. R. Martin novel but a little longer than an Erma Bombeck bathroom reader.
I could probably fake it a few more years with my friends with a story about the books progress, but if I don’t get at least a first draft done soon John (it’s his story) is going to kill me.
And to answer your question, yes there is a glass of
wine beside me