Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Letter from Maine

And so we find ourselves knee deep in a March that has no piles of dirty snow, no roads thick with lingering sand. Our boots are still lined up by the front door, freshly polished and ready for a call to duty that never really came. Strange.

In typical fashion, people around here are couching their enthusiasm with a sense of foreboding. Mother Nature has a mind of her own, they say. Gloat too much about the gentle winter and we'll surely have icebergs blocking the harbor by August 1st. I tend to agree, if only out of principle. It's never good to think you've outsmarted nature.

The mild winter has helped balance my internal roller-coaster of volatility and risk. I'm writing another book, you see. Number four on my whirlwind tour-de-bookshelf. It's a completely different beast than the first three, much more intimate. Utterly dear to my heart, which puts far more at stake. Even on the days when I'm feeling moody and peevish and stuck and terrified, though, I'm savoring the process. If nothing else, it seems like life should be about taking risks, yes? Leaning into the wind.

In the same spirit, I'll soon add "television personality" to my non-existent resume. Knitting Daily TV has invited me to be their resident yarn person for all 13 segments of the next season. It films in Ohio next week. I think it's a grand idea, and the whole thing is so vast and unknown that I don't even have a framework for being nervous. In the meantime, my home has become a veritable swatchery as I prepare sample after sample. You can't say, "This yarn is most exquisite in lace," and point your freshly manicured hands to an empty table, now can you? Well I suppose you could, but not for this show.

The promise of spring, and then summer...that excites me. The return of spring peepers, then the crickets and frogs, the fireflies, the long melodious song of the hermit thrush from deep in the woods. Opening the windows, letting in fresh air again. Moving out onto the porch, tending my garden. Then my family arrives and I get to shower them with buttery cakes and sweet pies still warm from the oven.

Those are my rewards at the end of a particularly challenging run. "All writing is launching yourself into the darkness," Paul Theroux once said, "and hoping for light and a soft landing." I won't know the landing for a long time to come, but I shall keep putting one word in front of the other and see where it takes me.