Monday, February 28, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
This article (written by Laurie Kay) was on the front page of The Islands Independent (a newspaper that was distributed to most of the southern gulf islands) on Friday, February 11th (Issue #59)
Mayne author releases second book
Mayne Island's Leanne Dyck plans to store her knitting needles in the very near future as she embarks on her new career as a full time writer. Dyck has just released her second book, The Sweater Curse, described as a paranormal, contemporary thriller, about a young and aspiring knitwear designer who must re-examine her life to escape her potential destiny in hell. Dyck's first mystery, released in 2009 is an exercise in character analysis and intrigue set in the islands off the BC coast. Maynely A Mystery has a 'read to the end feel' that's particularly inviting to islanders who can relate to the unique lifestyle with a taste and thrill of the paranormal woven in.
Though released after Maynely A Mystery, Dyck had actually started writing the darker toned The Sweater Curse first. Along with tossing in a lure of the paranormal, the latter provides readers with another twist; it's an ebook.
Also known as digital books, ebooks are image-based productions readable on computers or other digital devices. Dyck says there are many benefits to being an ebook author including speed of publishing, and world wide readership.
During an online interview with The Islands Independent Dyck added that though Decadent Publishing has the right to publish The Sweater Curse as an ebook, she retains the right to publish her work traditionally, either through a separate publisher or as a self-publish endeavor. Authors are also paid a percentage of the sales for books on line.
Dyck says The Sweater Curse has allowed her to include her thriller within an already existing body of knitting-themed literature. Her recent ebook also lets her explore character in depth yet again, something that is emerging as a keynote element of her style. And like The Sweater Curse, now Maynely A Mystery is available as an ebook.
Dyck is definitely excited and confident about her new career that represents a bold step up in her own character development. She says she keeps daily business hours, a level of discipline not always easy for writers or islanders.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
You: Sounds like an excuse. If you want to write, you find the time.
Me: Yes, but, what if it's something more. What if, it's writers' block. What...Do. I do. Then?
You: Why don't you read this article you wrote...
He smiled. Smiled--at such a note? Was he insane?
Maybe. He did, after all, love a writer. That required some degree of insanity.
Yes, he smiled. He smiled because he knew her writer's block was over. Thor had found his hammer. The angels had found their harps. And his wife had found her muse. All was right with the world; she was back at work.
As if she were dancing on sunbeams, she floated into the kitchen. "Did you read it?"
What did he say? What could he say? "Um, yes. Yes, I did."
"Well, what do you think?"
"I know." Her entire face shone like the sun. "I'm not sure where it fits yet. But that doesn't matter. I've started. That's the hardest part. Starting." She joined him at the table, her hand smoothing the paper. "Sometimes it's like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Only you don't have to find all the corner pieces first. You just have to find a piece."
Yes, he had to admit, it did help to be a little insane.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Did you know that your knitting has a tail?
Yup, it does.
Once you've finished putting your stitches on your needle, you will have two ends of yarn trailing from these stitches. One of these yarn ends will lead from the stitches to the ball. This is your "working yarn". The working yarn will be used while you knit. The other yarn ends will not be attached to anything. This is the "tail". The tail seems only to be around for the ride and it's not to be trusted. Indeed the tail is sly. It needs to be watched. If not closely supervised it can create all kinds of mischief.
It can make stitches disappear.
It can disguise itself as the working yarn.
The first problem can be avoided by ensuring that your tail is long enough not to pop through the last stitch. Leave a nice long tail.
Put an anchor on your tail.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
FREEDOM IN CHAINS
by Deena Remiel
I am born. Without forethought. Without intention. Without love. I am thrust out of a darkness so warm, sheltered, and secure. Thrown into another kind of darkness so cold, exposed, and depraved. I cry and reach out, instinctively, for a mother's love that should be there, instinctively, and is not. I learn instead to reach inward. I learn to design my own world in a corner of my mind. I learn not to cry.
Bad things happen when I cry. Bad things happen always...when you're not intended.
In my world, it's best to be invisible. If She can't see me, I'm forgotten for a while and safe from the brutal attacks on my fragile heart. I know She can't help herself yet, and I forgive her...over and over. She is Mother. If He can't see me, my body is safe from unwanted, unwarranted intrusions. I just can't be invisible long enough, though. I know He can't help himself. He tells me so as He hurts me and cries...or laughs.
No longer a person, but a receptacle for other people's basest desires, I exist. I am pissed on and passed on to innumerable faceless people who don't see me, a precious child, but see me, a thing to be exploited. This is not my choice, but I have no voice. It was stolen sound by sound, thread by thread, each day sucked up more and more by the vacuum my family surrounded me with, veiled as "protection".
My name is Freedom, and it was my birthday, once.
Freedom's not my real name, but I chose it on that one birthday. The one that was actually remembered. The one that made Mother angry at remembering, angry at me. My birthday dinner was Rice Toasties and milk. My birthday gift? I got visited by Him and his friends. As my body was repeatedly invaded, I made plans for my revolution, my escape.
Today is the dawn of my revolution. Mother isn't home, and He's too doped up to lift his head when I walk into our apartment. So I gather my few belongings and walk right back out, never looking back. The streets have to be safer than where I have been for the past fourteen years.
I walk along the bustling city streets of my town, seeing everything just a bit differently than I had only minutes before. I see, for the first time, because my head is up and not turned down in shame. The store windows sparkle brilliantly in the sunlight, just for me. In upstairs apartments, window shades are pulled down and then up to let in more light. But I know they're really winking their approval at my decision. My heart is light, my cheeks lift, and I touch them. I am smiling. What a strange feeling.
Awareness and attention to detail assault my brain like a battering ram. There's an old lady with wrinkled tissue paper skin pushing a shopping cart, but I know she's not shopping anywhere. I see her lips moving but nothing's coming out. There's a pack of boys, acting as if they owned the corner they were hanging out on, whistling after pretty girls walking by. Some of the girls give them nasty looks, while others ignore them altogether.
I notice the smells. The sweet, succulent aroma of the flowers from a flower shop is tucked away in a little box in my heart labeled "sweet things". Next, I smell pizza. I know pizza. I eat it a lot. My nose wrinkles in defiance of the familiarity. No more pizza for me! I smell garbage. I know that smell, too. It perfumes my apartment. It creeps into my nostrils and lingers. I put my hand to my face and smell my skin. Anything is better than the smell of where I came from.
Darkness is inevitable. Hours fly by in a dizzying swirl of sights, sounds, and smells. More swiftly than I would think, the insipid darkness descends upon the city. I am tense, anxious. My stomach grumbles. I haven't considered where or what I might eat. I haven't considered where I might stay. I haven't considered how I might pay for anything. I simply haven't considered. My thoughts wander as I stand frozen in the middle of the sidewalk. I am now one of those people, the street people, who lay on benches or cardboard boxes on the ground. It's still better than who I was before.
An unnatural breeze, sour and rank, wafts over my face. I know that smell, and a shiver snakes its way up my spine and clenches hard at my neck. It is Him, and my stomach roils in abject humiliation. My revolution, only in its infancy, has been suppressed. I am tugged and pulled and squeezed by his cruel hands. And he smiles at the people we pass on the way to his car that He left parked in the middle of the road. He calls me an incorrigible teenager to mollify the onlookers while shoving me into the front seat, and they respond with an understanding glance. But they don't understand! I scream that I'm being kidnapped and they shake their heads disbelieving me, believing Him instead. How can they believe Him instead of me? His right hand forms a manacle around my wrist as He drives one-handed all the way back to the apartment. I am barraged with insults and curses and threats meant to intimidate me.
They will work...for a while.
A closest, a very dark closet with some matted carpeting, becomes my home, and I am chained by my ankle to the floor. But not before my whipping, not before cigarettes are burned into my flesh, and not before I am reminded of what my only purpose is on this earth. I don't know what day it is. I only know day from night when the door opens and I'm given a sandwich and water. And when They come to fetch me.
In the darkness I hear them scheming. I know they have to send me to school. It's the law. But they won't until I'm healed. Mother told me she called me out sick so the police won't come. They've told stories to everyone at school about how difficult I am at home and how I'm a habitual liar. Mother told them she's getting me into counseling because I hurt myself intentionally. My teachers don't believe them. Do they?
I am scheming, too.
I am finally set free to go to school. I have no clue what's going on in my classes and no friends to ask. I'm never there enough to string concepts or friendships together. My stomach is cramping, so I ask to see the nurse. Denied. I 'm only allowed to have stomach cramps in between classes. I see my assistant principal at lunchtime and decide to approach her. Maybe she can help me. We go to her office and she leans back nonchalantly in her seat and stares blankly at every tale I tell. I even show her the scarring from the cigarette burns and the chain marks around my ankle. I'll look into this, she says, as she walks me out. I turn around to see her shaking her head and tossing her notes into the wastebasket. She doesn't believe. They've gotten to her. She's one of Them now.
The end of the school day brings no relief, as He is there, waiting for me in his car. He waves me on and I can do nothing but obey. Mother's gone. On and on, my days blend together. Every day the same routine--chains unlocked, get ready for school, go to school, go home, chains locked. Sometimes He comes, sometimes his friends, sometimes it is people he doesn't even know. I am His meal-ticket. I am His drugs.
I am His.
He has a computer on the table in the kitchen, right next to the pizza boxes and dirty paper plates and cups and empty beer bottles. While in my closet I have been busy. I have found a way to get out of my chains and back in them again. Malnourishment has its advantages.
The front door slams shut and I wait. I listen. There is silence. Boldly, I remove the chain from around my ankle and I stretch. Reaching up for the doorknob, I hesitate. What if He's testing me and He's really laying in wait, ready to pounce? What if the door is locked and I can't get out? Enough of the what-ifs, I scold myself. What if you just open the Goddamn door?
I do, and I am alone.
Energy hums through my body as I rush to the computer. Now what? I search for freedom. I had been in Civics class once where the teacher taught us about human rights violations around the world. He had mentioned human trafficking and children being sold into slavery as a couple of examples. I remember hyperventilating and being sent to the health office. I retched and dry-heaved for a while and then she sent me back to class. Only other people get to go home when they're sick.
Human Trafficking brings up 9,000,000 pages to view. I only need one to confirm that I am what is called a victim. It takes a couple more clicks and I find my savior. Someone actually saves people like me, victims of unspeakable human rights crimes. I quickly write down a phone number, put it in my pocket and return the computer to exactly the way it was before.
I hear loud cursing and laughing coming from the hallway. He's back, and he's got company. Scurrying like a mouse, I scramble to my closet, close the door, reattach the chain to my ankle and curl up in a ball. I say my nightly prayer, "Please make me invisible tonight." Tonight, it works. His company is female. Poor woman.
At school today, I skip out of English. I borrow some kid's cell phone. Okay, I steal some kid's cell phone and race outside to make the call. The call of freedom. My finger trembles as it pushes each number. It knows this is my last effort to be free. The thrumming of my heart threatens to drown out the voice on the other end.
I am born. Again. It is a long row I hoe with many ruts and boulders in my way. Nightmares and depression replace my former reality. But I have people in my life now who help me plant the seeds of strength and trust and happiness. People who show me what it is to be treated with human kindness. People who show me I am deserving of such. The evil that bought me when I was but a child has his own shackles to wear now in his own "closet" for the next forty years. It should bring a smile to my face, but that's still hard to do.
My name is Freedom, and I had a birthday once. I named it my Freedom Day. My Freedom Day dinner was a real steak, a baked potato, green beans and a Coke.
My Freedom Day gift? My new life.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Interview with Knitwear Designer Holli Yeoh
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
In January, Leanne Dyck, a long time Trincomali Community Arts Council member, published her second novel, The Sweater Curse. Leanne is well known for her original knit designs which are often seen in exhibitions or comfortably wrapped around herself or other Mayne Islanders. Writing and knitting are lifelong passions for Leanne, but since 2003, when she had her first article published in a Canadian knitting magazine, she's gradually focused more on writing than knit design.
She explains the differences between the artforms: "Knitting is expensive--the cost of wool, and especially the time and materials you waste in correcting mistakes adds up. I still love to knit, but writing is just a pen and a piece of paper."
"It's also a profession I can do while I'm sleeping. I sometimes dream parts of a book I'm working on--literally the words become clear in a dream. Then I have to wake up, grab a notebook and record the ideas, otherwise they'll be gone in the morning. I'm very self-critical, but when I'm asleep, the critic inside me is asleep too. It makes it easier to express myself, because I'm not restraining myself at all."
"I like writing because it's a way of thinking about things that are important to me and analyzing personal issues. There's a lot of myself in my new book, especially what it's like to be an artist and how that's perceived by society."
For Leanne neither knitting or writing came easy. "I've struggled with dyslexia all my life. Reading and writing are difficult. Also in social interactions, I have to really think about what's an appropriate response in a given situation--what are the right words? As an author, I'm grateful to have beta readers, critique partners, and a team of editors. Even though it's taken me many years to fully understand my disability, I now view it as an advantage in my creative pursuits."
In a book called, The Gift of Dyslexia (written by Ronald D. Davis, an expert in the field), there's a chapter called 'Creativity'. Davis explains that the creative drive is stronger in persons with dyslexia. They possess enhanced creativity and curiosity. While dyslexics have difficulty learning to read or interpret words, they think visually, intuitively and multi-dimensionally.
When Leanne was eight years old, her mother started to teach her to knit, but she realized she wasn't the right person for the challenge, so Leanne's grandmother picked up the stitch, so to speak. With her grandmother's patience and encouragement, a warm bond was formed, as well as the groundwork for success. When Leanne was eleven, she join 4-H and was happily surprised to discover that with her skills at knitting, she was accomplished at something other kids struggled with.
Leanne had to develop strategies for confidence. For example, "When I'm in front of a group, I become a different person--it's hardly me at all. I can actually feel my father, who died ten years ago, standing behind me. I speak the way he would speak in the situation. It's almost like I'm channeling him, that he's speaking through me."
When she and her husband, Byron, moved to Mayne in 1999, she was happy to be welcomed and accepted by the island's artistic community. Besides being a dynamic member of TCAC, she's found lots of helpful criticism and encouragement from the island writing group. Other inspirations? "I love John Steinbeck and John Grisham." On teaching: "I wouldn't teach writing, and I don't like criticizing other people's writing. I feel like I still have too much to learn, but thanks to the writing group, I'm becoming more comfortable in supporting other writers with their work."
Monday, February 7, 2011
Why do I like it?
Oh for so many reasons, let me count the ways.
One reason is because it stretchy. I love a stretchy cast on.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
practice in front of a full-length mirror
practice with a timer
practice with noise in the background
practice without noise
practice in front of a select audience
do a dress rehearsal--alone and with others
You get the picture...practice until you almost have it memorized. However, if you're presenting a short story, read from cue cards or better yet a notepad. If you're presenting a newly released book read from the book.
4) The night before your reading, get a good night's sleep.
5)Arrive early to the event.
6)Take time to check-in. How are you feeling? Are you nervous? Take something for your nervousness--rescue remedy or... Are you excited? Great.
Excitement creates positive energy.
9)Have fun. Remember, you're there to entertain--not do heart surgery.
If you make a mistake, try not to let it throw you. The audience won't even notice if you stay calm, cool, and collected.