29 December 2005 - 11:11 AM
On the fourth day of Christmas
There's something infuriating about Amazon's recommendations lists.
I understand, they're flinging things at you in an attempt to sell more merchandise, and yeah sometimes they do fling out something you want. Even a blind hen finds a corn occasionally. But still, who links this stuff up?
Just because I like The Cure does not mean I like The Smiths. Just because I like the old Peanuts holiday specials does not mean I want to buy all the Garfield animated features. And the fact that I enjoy knitting does not mean I am groping desperately for a spiritual path to inner peace and fulfillment.
Are people really that spiritually empty, that they're turning knitting into spiritual practice, like Zen? I guess they must be, or there wouldn't be all the books about it. And ok, I do take a certain meditative pleasure in knitting -- it's not merely a means to mittens and socks, which I could buy more cheaply anyway -- but it's not the centre of my spiritual existence. If I have to turn to knitting as my one true path to spiritual enlightenment and need a book to help me analyse how my yarn colour choices reflect my psychological state, however, I think I'm missing something.
Or a bunch of somethings. I mean, if you're a Buddhist and find that knitting gives you a spiritual benefit similar to what you get from sitting zazen, great. As a reconstructionist pagan, I take pleasure in knowing that these are the threads (literally) which bind me to the past, and I am aware of the powerful and deeply symbolic aspects of textile crafts, especially for women. But still. I don't think the Buddhist would tell you that knitting is a substitute for sitting zazen, and I sure wouldn't say that knitting replaces the rituals I observe in honour of my gods.
Maybe I'm judging these books too harshly. And maybe I'm just annoyed at what seems to be squishy new-agery and pop psychology invading the craft aisle, so instead of good design I'll be getting cheesy chakra-aligning ponchos. Because as much as I enjoy the tactile pleasure of yarn sliding through my hands, I also enjoy making attractive, well-designed, well-fitting garments. Yes, I knit slowly, and yes it take me ages to finish things. All the more reason for me to want good design, too. If I'm going to put my time and energy and money into a project, it had better be something worthwhile, not some faddy self-help scarf.
Christmas was nice, if a little awkward. Sis and the Engineer had initially intended to run away and hide (more or less) as this surely wasn't the kind of Christmas they imagined, and I could understand that. Then they decided to join the family after all, which was fine too, except that Sis decreed no one was to say 'Merry Christmas' around her.
I tried my best to be good and supportive though doubtless I fell short in too many respects and if you asked Sis, she'd tell you I was a terrible sister. I did have to bite my tongue a lot because, really, yegods. I know she is grieving. I know how badly she wanted that baby. I know because we are all still grieving and we all wanted that baby. Yes, she lost her son and that's a special kind of hell. But Maman lost her grandson and I lost my nephew. We hurt too. Merry Christmas anyway. And a Happy New Year into the bargain.
The Viking has an interview next week. Fingers crossed.