Toss the Book: 33 Bits

When I was much younger and could just about call myself a pianist, I was always surprised by the competitions my teacher chose for me, was always surprised when I won those competitions, and was always surprised by the judges’ comments and compliments.  Each time I touched the piano it was an adventure of sorts, because I could never hear myself play.

This past weekend I had to read Jane Bash’s 33 Bits (2009) because the author had submitted it for a literary competition (which apparently takes all comers, but then relies on volunteer readers, such as me, to cull the entries), and I had chosen to read it based on a blurb supplied by the writer.  Like the selective deafness of my younger self, Jane Bash cannot hear her words.  Or perhaps the problem is that her estimation of her writing  far out-strips the reality of her efforts.

I want to point out that “writing” is part of the title of this literary prize:

The barbeque grill was emitting swirls of sweet mesquite smoke and was anxious to meet up with the slabs of meat that were forthcoming.

He had been out of the military long enough now to have sampled the various women he might consider dating for more long-term aspirations.”

He couldn’t wait to return from Spain to his little filly.  She exhibited such promise.” [And no, the filly did not refer to a horse.]

While Etta took in the room, she didn’t notice Joseph taking her in.  He was enjoying watching her eyes.  She seldom moved her head, but her eyes were actively taking in the details of the room.  Gosh, she had beautiful eyes.  Joseph did not know how to engage her in conversation, so he just beheld her, entrapping the lovely vision of her in his mind’s eye.

It is a romance novel of many, many words — 360+ pages worth, in fact.  At some point the heroine started to cry — but she didn’t just cry, she had tears coming out of her eye sockets.  Me?  After the excruciating hours I spent with this book (hours, by the way, that  I will NEVER EVER be able to get back), I’m just glad I still have eyes IN my eye sockets . . . .

Knitting: Flyaway Farm

Quote of the Day: I love a man who speaks his mind — no matter how small it is.

I love supporting small businesses, especially small yarn producers … and it is even more wonderful if the yarn is spun and hand-dyed from the fleece of sheep “raised and grazed on the meadows” of the owner’s farm.  I found what I thought was such a product with Flyaway Farm’s sport-weight yarn in “rowan,” a lovely woodsy green with flickers of brown.

I enjoy the slight unevenness of rustic wool, the “farm” bits left behind on the fleece (makes me feel closer to the sheep), the color variations from the hand-dying process.  But …  there is color variation, and then there is (completely avoidable) poor quality control:

Yarn from Flyaway Farm (La Pointe, Wisconsin)

Behold my not-as-beautiful-as-I-thought Flyaway Farm yarn, marred by strips of beige where the dye did NOT take because the yarn had been tied off too tightly for the color to penetrate.  Two of the three skeins I bought have these ugly sections, four per skein …  and there is nothing I can do about it.

Yes, I know, hand crafted yarn, can’t expect perfection and even color saturation, blah blah blah …  Well, it is precisely because it’s hand-crafted that I expect more care on the part of the artisan — in this case, Cynthia Dalzell, shepherd. There is absolutely nothing charming about the undyed sections of my yarn, and Cynthia Dalzell should be embarrassed that these skeins made it to market.  Hand-crafted yarn, like dessert, should not disappoint.