I received this lovely email from Polly C. this morning about "The Gunslinger" newsletter
"This an outstanding and inspiring post. I would like to quote you to my teachers and students. What you suggest applies to so many other aspects of our live. I believe you should find a way to share this post beyond your newsletter... " So, here you go.
I've been reading, or rather listening to, Stephen King's series, The Gunslinger. I started listening back in the late '90s - the series was not even complete, and Gunslinger fans yearned for the next installment moving the hero along his shadowy quest. I stopped listening for a long time, as my life took a variety of twists and turns of its own, but I never stopped thinking about Roland of Gilead and the Dark Tower he sought. Last year I purchased the entire series and have been devouring it greedily, retracing my steps and listening again from the beginning. The time spent re-listening is much like re-knitting gorgeous cashmere - twice the pleasure for the same investment!
In one of the books, King talks about the development of the work - his first effort and at a fairly young age. Apparently he had a vision for his long and lovely tale but found it was just too big. He was overwhelmed by the enormity of it all - and Roland frightened him a bit. He is a pretty intimidating dude. So King put the Gunslinger manuscript away and went on to sell a series of short stories, publish his first few novels, and enjoy critical and popular success. I thought it was so interesting to hear this talented author discuss his early struggle with this work. I thought about knitting - about my own early attempts -- projects I envisioned, started, abandoned, and later came back to when I felt confident enough to handle them. I have a philosophy I often share with new knitters and returning knitters: build on success, don't retreat from failure.
That philosophy does not, in any way, mean that you should shy away from enormous or super-challenging goals. If you want to knit a king-sized Aran afghan, or a Tudor Rose masterpiece, or design your own lace shawl, I say, go you. But when you start that big project, if you find that you need to step back a moment, that's okay. It may be that you need a little help. If so, sign up for the knitting safari and we'll help you find your way. It may be that you just need a break from your overwhelming project and you need some quick success to remind yourself what a good knitter you are. I recommend a Glamor Cowl Or maybe you just need to give your brain a little R&R. In which case, try the Noro Coat, Cream Crisp, or Sally Melville's Einstein Coat - restful projects, both.
Whatever you need, remember that it's okay to set a project aside for a while. It will be there whenever you're ready, and the refreshed energy you have to put into it will enhance the end product, and the joy with which you knit it.