Tuesday, October 16, 2007



Well, it's finally here.

After at least two years and - oh who am I kidding - a lifetime of dreams, my book is on the shelves. I feel as if I've grown and learned and aged significantly as I've walked through this whole experience. I made light of it in KR, but really, it's been astoundingly profound. Probably as close as I'll ever get to the experience of childbirth and parenthood combined. Intensely personal stuff that just doesn't belong in a blog. A blend of excitement, clarity, strength, joy, passion, anticipation, doubt, grief, exhaustion, and a nearly perpetual terror that I somehow wouldn't see this day, all those feelings kept me almost constant company.

And yet here we are. I just wonder when it'll actually feel real.

But where does Bob's Big Boy come into all of this? Well, for the first year I called this my big boy, because it was initially supposed to be called the Big Book of Yarn. About nine months after I submitted the manuscript, the greatest minds in publishing got together and decreed that the book wasn't physically big enough to be called "big." Suddenly my big boy was just...boy. After a brief period of actually thinking I'd let them change the name to the Knitter's Little Big Book of Yarn, we settled on the final title, my dearly beloved Knitter's Book of Yarn. Big boy became kboy.

But I have not forgotten.

Last week, when I was driving back down the Michigan peninsula from SOAR I spotted a real in-the-flesh Bob's Big Boy. I felt I had somehow come full circle, so I stopped to honor this unwitting landmark of my literary career.

But here's what the book really looks like now, in its ideal native habitat, courtesy of the lovely and thoughtful Jane.



What Jane didn't know was that, at the precise moment she was taking this picture in her own bookstore, I was furtively pulling out my cellphone to snap a picture of the book in my favorite bookstore, where I'd just spotted one precious copy on the shelf. (I plan on visiting that copy every day until it finds a home.)

I guess I need to explain that the bookstore, as an institution, has always been my most sacred place. When I was little, my father would take me there and we'd walk the aisles, him pulling out a book here, another book there, telling me all about it as we started a pile that I'd take home and devour. After my parents divorced, those bookstore visits grew less frequent, but I cherished each visit even more. To this day, no holiday or birthday is complete in my family without the gift of a book.

So, with this background, perhaps you'll understand how profoundly moving it was to enter a bookstore -- actually the same bookstore where I took my father when he last visited -- and find my own work on the shelf. The Pulitzer Prize committee may not have a category for knitting books, and the wider literary audience may snort at the subject, but for me it's very real, and very special.

Thank you for sharing this moment with me.

22 comments:

Lanea said...

I can't wait for my copy. Congratulations, Clara!

Jane said...

I have always loved seeing books nestled on shelves, tucked in windows, and stacked in a pile in a bookstore...but never as much as seeing your book, today. I bet you'll make it on to my bestseller list, too!

Mary said...

I was at Barnes & Noble tonight, where my knitting group meets, and alas, no Clara's book there yet! You better know I'm snapping it up first time I see it! Can't wait! :-)

Bess said...

Oh happy day honey. I'm so proud of you. So glad that this wonderful volume will soon be in my hands and on my library's book shelves too.

You dun good.

Adrienne said...

Congrats! It's quite a milestone, eh? And, for what it's worth, you are about to embark on another journey with it now. I don't know that it will ever seem real, tho.

Bask in the accomplishment.

purlewe said...

Defniite oohing and ahhing over here in Philly. My whole fiber group wants to look at it Thursday. Some of these ladies (and gentlemen) will be probably seeing you at Rhinebeck this weekend wanting their own copy. Sue adn I are so happy for you! And it's orange! Who'd ya bribe to get that done??

Linda said...

Congratulations, Mama.

Fredda said...

Congrats, Clara. Thanks for sharing your feelings about this major accomplishment and this knitter's gift to herself.

I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon so I should be receiving it any day now...

Linda said...

Congratulations dear Clara! I made sure it was front and center and all neat and tidy at my local Barnes & Nobles yesterday.

It was such a thrill to flip through the book and see the wonderful information and the names of knitters I know.

And contact me about a book signing in Va Beach...we want you HERE!

Linda

Donna in VA said...

Believe me, it is us who are thanking you for sharing with us. It is a wonderful achievement and you are right to bask in it and enjoy every minute of it.

Sue Woo said...

Yay! I am so feelin' ya! I actually stood beside my book in the store on pub day and brought to peoples' attention. Tacky, right? I did NOT care!

I can't wait to read it. You are right. Some if the process is so highly personal you have to share a little at a time.

Congratulations, my friend!

inky said...

MAJOR Congratulations! I hear my gift card to Borders calling me. . . .

CPAKnit said...

Waiting for it to come in the mail. I hope it comes in time for the retreat- so I can have the proud author sign it! Congratulations on your new creation!

Abby Franquemont said...

SQUEEEEE! Man, that is so freakin' cool. I would be standing and staring at the book for days.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the book! I'll be picking up my copy at the Retreat. Hopefully the Queen will be kind enough to autograph the book! See you soon!

-Dawn

Marg in Calgary said...

Bess has given you a rave review on her blog. I've put my order in!

Bravo,

Margaret in Calgary

chris said...

Congratulations! I just received my copy today and I'm totally floored! It really is the ultimate guide and I can't wait to read every page. Thank You!

mardi said...

Hi Clara! My friend Kathe found you at Rhinebeck late on Saturday after you had shut down the official book signing, and you signed my book anyway for her (she was so relieved.) I enjoy Knitters Review very much even though you are a terrible enabler - my stash owes a lot of increases to you! I'm reading the book now and I think it's great. Congratulations!

Laura said...

Oh Clara, what joy for you and all those who love you! I'm so happy for you and can't wait to get my copy of your beloved book.

I do have one question for you though....did that handsome boy, Casey make it into any pictures?

Isela: Purling Sprite said...

Congratulations!!

Mrs. Lear said...

Yeah! Congratulations Clara - I look forward to seeing it at my local shop!

Serena said...

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving, Clara! Congratulations on kboy. It is monumental but I know exactly what you mean when you say you wonder when it will feel real. Perhaps when you complete book #2... I think you should have all friends and loved ones write in where they saw your books and what the neighboring books on the shelf were. It's good to know the company you keep. Love, Serena