thumb_DSC04715_1024 (2)Aren’t you afraid to ride a motorcycle?

Terrified, actually. And that’s kinda the point. My life kept getting smaller and smaller as I let my fears gain traction. Then one day at age 48, I knew I had to face those fears or my life would shrink up to nothing. It started with the motorcycle, which I bought the day after my father died. Soon I was able to confront other, bigger fears that had been constraining my life, like dealing with my falling-apart marriage, then becoming a single woman and learning to date in midlife. Along the way, I became willing to risk being raw and exposed and vulnerable in my life and in my writing work. Somehow, I felt invigorated by that shift and that inspired me.

Knitathon+afghan+2

I first learned to knit while living in Dublin, Ireland the fall after my mother died. I was 20 years old and felt profoundly alone in the world for the first time. Having suffered a dance-related injury to the point I couldn’t walk, and stuck living with my elderly Auntie Peggy and the few books she kept on hand, I was bored out of my mind. To pass the hours and to get to know each other, she suggested we knit. It sounded like a terrible idea to me – I have not the smallest bit of patience and was sure I’d fail miserably at the project. But stranded as I was in a foreign country with only two television stations and a raft of religious books to distract me, I became willing as only those who have no other options become willing.

“As a growing number of discerning young Americans opt out of gambling on fads and fashion, the currency of ‘authenticity’–and the connotations of history and experience that word carries–rises in value. Companies like Red Wing and Pendleton Woolen Mills have survived two world wars and the Great Depression, which speaks volumes about the quality and reliability of their products. There’s also some magical thinking afoot here: we want to believe not only that Carhartt knows what it’s doing after 120 years of of manufacturing work clothes, but also that by wearing their product we connect with some of that accrued wisdom and experience.”–Kurt B. Reighley, United States of Americana: Backyard Chickens, Burlesque Beauties & Handmade Bitters; A Field Guide to the New American Roots Movement, p. 5