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In the spirit of Sir John Lubbock’s words, I am going to take a little rest before the summer’s over. While I will officially be on vacation until after Labor Day, I will still be posting quotes and past projects on my blog.

Happy Summer, and see you in September!

We’re having a strange year in the garden. It’s a boom and bust year, all rolled into one. I’m particularly puzzled because we’ve had plenty of warm sunny weather, coupled with lots of rain. The weeds and the lawn seem to think we have prime growing conditions, but not all the plants are happy.

In particular, the tomatoes and peppers are looking pathetic. Shriveled and cranky, they look they other way when I come by to water them, sneering at my attempts to get them to grow. Despite all the water, they look desiccated all the time. We will be lucky to get a handful of tomatoes this year, which is a big change after last year’s tomato extravaganza.

On the other hand, the zucchini, summer squash, and cucumbers are cranking out the veggies faster than we can eat them. It won’t be long before I’ll be approaching complete strangers and begging them to take my zucchini — please!

Zukes and cukes and squash! Oh my!

Zukes and cukes and squash! Oh my!

The most frightening thing of all is the pumpkin plant. We started with a cute little baby plant, innocent and sweet, an adorable set of leaves we cooed over with anticipation.

Our baby pumpkin plant only looks innocent...

Our baby pumpkin plant only looks innocent…

The tag with the variety and care instructions on it failed to mention that this particular strain belongs to the group of vines known as “Super Villains”, aka “World Dominators”. Our pumpkin is turning into a land-grabbing monster and taking over the backyard.

...but it has plans. BIG plans!

…but it has plans. BIG plans!

It’s not the only vine going wild on us. The cucumbers and grape vines are its henchmen, imitating their power-hungry leader by growing right over any plants that get in their way.

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We keep trying to shift the pumpkin vines so that they are growing over bare ground, but it’s spreading in every direction. I don’t know if our sweet potatoes or watermelons are going to survive the Attack of the Pumpkin Vine. It’s growing right over them and may swallow up the mound we thought it would share. Apparently it doesn’t care who it has to take out in order to achieve its dreams.

You have to be brutal if you’re going to rule the world.

While I still haven’t decided exactly what I’ll be doing about the missing granny square in the crocheted afghan I bought at the yard sale, I now have a great resource to help me work on the problem.

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My copy of The Granny Square Book: Timeless Techniques & Fresh Ideas for Crocheting Square by Square by Margaret Hubert arrived in the mail this week. The first thing I did was page through the 75 granny square patterns, looking with crossed fingers for this pattern:

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Of course, it’s not in the book. But I was excited to find this:

Square 22: Forget Me Not (page 55)

Square 22: Forget Me Not (page 55)

The center of this granny square perfectly matches the one I have. The border is very different, but I think I might be able to figure the border out using some of the other patterns.

Square 43: Flower Garden Square X (page 77)

Square 43: Flower Garden Square X (page 77)

While this square isn’t a perfect match, the borders are similar enough that I might be able to tweak them to look more like the original blanket. I’ll have to play with it for a bit and see if I can come up with something I like.

Even if it doesn’t work out, I can tell I’m going to have fun trying some of the patterns in this book. I’ve never seen so many variations of granny squares or so any intriguing ideas for how to use them. I can’t wait to get out my crochet hook and brush up on my stitches.

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Now that my draft of Rapunzel is finished, tidy, and put away to rest, I’m trying to decide which of my other books to work on next. Something I was really looking forward to — re-reading my drafts and picking my next writing project — is turning out to be an unsettling process. Instead of being excited, I’m anxious and afraid.

First, I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake. What if I pick the wrong project, a book I can’t finish? It’s happened before. I abandoned another novel after four years of work. I was in the middle of the fifth draft and got stuck. None of the drafts were complete. I kept starting over, but I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong, so I decided to set it aside. It was a painful time for me, because I loved the main characters and wanted to tell their story, and I felt like I was abandoning them to oblivion.

My last book took over three years to write, another reason to be anxious about my choice. Whatever I pick up next could be my main focus for years. Of course, I’d like to be writing faster, and I think I will. I’m learning from every book I write, and my improved health has helped me speed up. I wrote more than half of my Rapunzel draft in the last six months, and part of that time was spent on research. So my next draft, whatever it is, could take less time. But it’s still a big commitment.

I’m also being overwhelmed by possibilities. Some of my drafts are open-ended and have lots of options. Tough decisions need to be made, and as I am reading, I can think of what I might do, but do not yet know what to do. It’s hard to choose a project before I have the answers to all my questions, but I know I’ll have to.

Fortunately, I’ve run across great reminders this week to help me over these hurdles.

A friend was in a terrifying car accident and shared the things it’s taught her. She reminded me that most of what I worry about is not a big deal. So I will pick the book I am most excited about, that seems to have the most potential, and stop worrying so much if it’s the “right” one.

The painter Robert Genn’s post about the post-show blues reminded me that transitioning between big projects is never easy. We have to let go of what we’ve been passionate about and get passionate about something new.

Being between projects also means I’m not doing any creative writing at the moment, which puts me in Norman Mailer’s shoes:

The problem is when you’re not writing you don’t know if you’re lying fallow or if you’ll never write again. — Norman Mailer

The most important thing for me to remember is that I love writing. I know there are difficult days, and I sometimes struggle to find my way, but they are worth slogging through to get to the glorious moments when the ideas are raining out of the sky and I’m chuckling at all the trouble I’m causing my characters.

No matter which project I pick, it’s going to be a lot of work. Time to dust off my stubbornness and get writing.

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