Friday, November 4, 2016

Small Completions ~ Instant Gratification

Sitting down to write a book is a daunting proposition. I mean, a book is HUGE. When I've spent literally years tinkering with essays and short stories, the prospect of completing something ten times longer is a humbling one indeed.

Just before we left for our trip this summer, I read a blog post by writing coach Sage Cohen called "Honor Every Completion." Sage was talking about the small steps along the way to a big project, but I carried her advice with me on the trail, celebrating each saddle surmounted, each day completed, every significant mile marker passed. It definitely helped to break a 500-mile trek into bite-sized celebrations.

This week, I've been celebrating the first completion in the book process: transcribing my journals. I now have 71,000 words in the computer, ready to be coaxed and cajoled into good writing (a job no less challenging than dragging a family of five over mountains).

But even this mile marker, which is likely the easiest one I'll reach on this book-writing journey, was a long, drawn-out one. In the midst of this big project, I've needed something little and quick and easy to satisfy my need for completion. So I made some fruity potholders and a trivet. They're the knitted version, from Purl Soho. After several failed attempts at knitting lace last month, I picked up some cheap cotton at the craft store and whipped these up over the course of a week or so. Once I re-learned how to knit, each one took me only a little longer than the length of a movie to make. I even made a couple extra for gifts.

I know, I know, after all my talk of my reluctance to return to domesticity, I actually knitted potholders. The only thing more domestic I can imagine making is an apron (fortunately I already have plenty of those). But everyone has to take hot things out of the oven now and then, right? And they're so…fruity! And most of my potholders were pretty grody. 

If these look a little narrow for potholders, it's because they are—I've already burned myself twice. So they take a little careful attention. And I'm sure I'll be grouchy when they pick up their first burnt food stains, but for now I like their shining little selves smiling up at me from the kitchen drawer.

In other kitchen decorating news, Z decided we needed squirrel salt-and-pepper shakers for fall, and I found several pairs like these on Etsy. They're so funny because the native oak trees in Colorado make the tiniest acorns, and the leaves on the shakers are so not oak leaves. But, natural history incongruities aside, they are a festive addition to our fall dining table.

While I was at it, I found this set of orange-and-lemon shakers and they match my new potholders so well I had to get them. They say "Florida" on the other side, but with kind of tacky decals, so I prefer the blank side. I've always wanted a vintage salt-and-pepper shaker collection, and now I'm well on my way there. That's an even easier completion to honor.

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