Joy to the world, yes even in March

cowlThank you for awaiting my return … I needed some time off because I was experiencing a deep and lingering sadness over the passing of my father.

Recently I watched BBC’s Larkrise to Candleford television series, and there is a line one character says in speaking of his worries over someone’s health, and he recalls the passing of his own mother. He says something along the lines of, “I know what it is like to have the sunshine go out of life,” … something like that.

I found that to be just what I was feeling about my father. He was a major part of my life, always had been.  His mission in life was very important to me, one I embraced from an early age. We did many, many things together over the span of quite a few years.  We shared so many dreams of things to do in the future — and we tended to share those dreams every day as we spoke on the phone, shared emails, and considered the future — too much for it all to vanish without a great deal of sorrow and a feeling as if the sunshine had gone out.

barn3Of course, I do know he is not the only source of sunshine in my life and I know logically, analytically I cannot allow sorrow to rule the day or become what my life is about. That would not be right, and I know it … like I said, logically.

But, sorrow is sorrow. It isn’t something you can just will yourself to no longer feel.

What I was able to do, however, was to just tell myself one day that it was time to create joy again, to feel joy and to make life. My family and friends are depending on me to shine a light toward joy, to continue to be, I suppose, a source of sunshine just as my father was and to shine brightly because people need that in their lives.  We all need that from each other, don’t we.

So, I am back to shining. I allow myself to grieve when I feel the need, but I push on through and get back to experiencing the joy of life, the joy of creating, all the smiles that go along with that.

joySpeaking of joy, we had a completely beautiful winter, with snow falls that were more pristine than I recall them being other years. There is something extra special about a heavy snow that falls windless, leaving every limb and needle of trees and shrubs bowing down under the load of a perfect clump of snow. This year’s snowfall more often than not did just that, and the snow was deep and smooth and all together lovely.

It is always pleasant and a little bit thrilling to get close to the return of spring, of sunshine and warmth, youthful yellow-green sprouting of leaves, the first little flowers coming up close to the ground. I do love that thrill, but I also would not mind having one more good snow storm this month as a final farewell to this year’s perfect winter.

Snow, do you hear me? I am calling.

Sidebar: I wrote this post yesterday at about 3:30 in the morning. It ended up snowing all day long. There wasn’t any real accumulation, but still. It snowed. All day long. Hmm, I suppose the snow did hear me calling. Thank you, snow. :)

Meanwhile, what have I been up to other than what I have described above?

I have continued on with the writing of my novel, and am finding the process of creating a novel to be one that is full of surprises and amazing experiences. First of all, there is the planning and I completely loved the planning stage.

snowI had to work out how the story was going to end, and from there work my way backward through it to figure out the plot line. At times I went back to the start, and moved forward then I went again to the end and worked my way back some more. Along the way, I inevitably worked out more of the details of the characters and got to know them better.

I love this process because you start out with an idea, a very rough concept that is sort of a story in a bubble in your mind (I say “you” and “your” — but it is “I” and “my”).  I assume other writers have the same thing that goes on with them, it feels as if it would be this way naturally not just for me.

Anyway, in the beginning there is the rough idea and in a way it is the whole story in one fell swoop, in a bubble in my mind. There are not, at that point, details and though I can feel the story there, and it feels complete in that bubble, the truth is it is germinating or something. I think that is the way of it, it is like a living thing that is complete but hasn’t fully developed yet — just like a chick in an egg or a human baby right after conception. The body hasn’t grown, the limbs have not fully emerged, the personality has not revealed itself, and the details of the life that will be lived are not filled in — yet, the life is there as a whole thing in a bubble.

eriecanalAs I go along, working on the plan and characters, one of the characters will reveal herself or himself to me and I will think, “Oh, I get it … that’s why you are that way. I see now,” and things about the story or the characters unfold to me. It isn’t like I sit there and have to think hard to make things up, I just set my mind in the direction of my story or one of the characters and the details sort of materialize into existence.

I know I am creating it, and I am responsible for the direction of the story, the intent, etc. but it isn’t anything I am having to force or push this way or that. I just open myself up to it and it comes out and the things that open up to me this way about the story or the characters tends to be the really good stuff, like the gold that is found in a rich vein in a mountain.

Some of the process is work, some of it is play, and I love every bit of it. My only regret is that I cannot devote more hours in a day to the creating of my story.

neighborsConcurrent with writing the story, I am developing knitting patterns to go along with it, because the main characters are involved together in a knitting group and there are aspects of their relationship to each other as friends who knit that are key to the story. There will be at least one pattern per character that I will release so that people can, if they choose, knit similar items and perhaps feel an extra connection with the characters because of being able to share in their reality in this way. I think this is an interesting opportunity for me as a writer, and for my knitting readers.

So far, I have designed a pair of leg warmers (I have to knit the second one still), a cowl (in the photo at the top of this post), a hat, and a neck warmer. The cowl, hat, and neck warmer are a coordinated set that have been a complete pleasure to knit using the Fisherman’s Rib stitch pattern — something I think you will all love very much.

My four year old grand daughter got hold of my cowl one day and put it on and lo, and behold if it didn’t look like a wonderful little cape on her. It fit her perfectly, hugged her shoulders and draped just right.  I plan on putting it out there as a versatile piece that could be a cozy little self-wrapping cape for a little girl or a cowl for a lady.  My daughter fell in love with it both when she saw me model it and when she saw her little one wearing it and asked that I knit them a matching set to wear together next winter.

The patterns from the story will be released about the same time as the book, which I aim to have ready and published electronically for Kindle and other eBook readers by early October of this year. Some of the patterns will be free, some will be paid and all will have a special connection to the story line and the characters involved in the story.

riverI am up early this morning; it is just now only 4:45 a.m., so I have been up quite some time. I’m going to end off here and wish you a fine day.

Thank you for reading.

I will make every attempt to write more regularly once again, and to continue to add my bit to the shining of the sun in life each and every day.

A bit more of good news and joy: my mother will come to visit with us for the entire month of April.  It will be so good to see her again, and to see her here.  My son will also arrive in April, so we will have a full house and plenty of opportunities to create and share joy.

Joy to you, and joy to the world.

~ firefly

26 thoughts on “Joy to the world, yes even in March”

  1. Really – you’re going to make us wait until next Fall for the pattern for the cowl? It would be perfect in Minnesota right now!!

    1. Ha ha … I can imagine it would be. I haven’t written the pattern yet or gotten it ready for publication. The way I do my patterns is time consuming, and it will take me a while to get everything prepped and ready to go. I think it will be worth the wait though. :-)

    2. Love the cowl & will look forward to the book! Today’s blog was a great piece. Thanks for sharing. Easy to identify with -

    1. The dog sweater pattern is an interesting idea. Yes, there is a dog in the story, a big one like in the photo in this post. He shows up later, not at the beginning.

  2. So sorry to hear of the passing of your Father. My Mom is 83 and my Dad is 86 and I know that they both are in the late Winter of their lives. I am not looking forward to either of their passing yet I know that it really could be any day I suppose. Dad has had three heart attacks and two years ago i got a call that I thought would be the end for him. His “wiring” to his heart gave out one Sunday right in church. He was stabilized and taken to the hospital and received a pacemaker and has been fine ever since. Mom is bent over with osteoporosis and walks with a walker but her mind and hearing are sharp as a tack. It will be a gray day when they pass and I cherish every day that I have left with them.

    1. It is the cherishing of everyday you still get to have with them that is wonderful and important. Thank you for sharing your story. :-)

  3. Thank you for sharing. I too have lost my Mother, Sister and Father. I am the last of our family. I am looking forward to your book and the cowl pattern. I am an avid reader and a beginning kniter. Keep the faith.

  4. I, too, have lost both parents and my dear sister. My only close relative is a nephew who lives about 5 hrs. from me. I’m getting crippled with arthritis but still follow my favorite activities: my 2 wonderful cats, knitting, reading and cooking. I love your blog and the cowlneck—really pretty. Also your beautiful big dog. Keep looking forward and you will cross the rainbow bridge and be with all your lost family–even the four-footed ones!

  5. Nice to hear from you . Out in Sask. we are having lots of snowy day with very fast winds. Roads are blocked also. Going to Saskatoon tomorrow but snow is coming to night . Busy making ruffled scarves every day. Sold over 220 last year. Love your letter. Take care Bless you.

  6. So sorry to read of your father’s passing. I lost my father when I was only 5 years old. I lost my mother when I was 52. Luckily I still have my sister, and love her so much. I’m glad your mom and your son are going to be there for you in April….share some memories. It helps. Love the cowl above and can’t wait for your book. Have a great day, and I hope the sun shines for you.

  7. I also sell knitted items and crocheted but have a hard time not enough sales I have an etsy shop and use Facebook any suggestions?

    1. I suggest starting a blog if you don’t already have one, and use Twitter, FaceBook, and Ravelry to promote your shop and items. It really does take a lot of work and time to build up a customer base and keep things going. I wish you all the best of luck and success.

  8. dear firefly, i am soooo sorry for your loss… my heart feels your pain… it does get better as time marches on… the sun will shine again… it did for me sincerely nancy lauzon oh and ps… i love your blog…

  9. My heart has felt the same feeling with the loss of both my mom and dad.For a year I found my self dialing her number to share something with her. Your cowl is beautiful!!!

  10. Oh, I do believe that it was your dad letting you know that he approved of all you are doing. Of course his memory is still raw from losing him here on earth, but he will always live in your heart and thoughts.
    I am so much looking forward to your book. It looks like a great many of us are waiting for it. I will knit your patterns too. I know of family who need them!
    God Bless you Always,
    Cecelia

  11. firefly, my heart goes out to you over the loss of your father. Losing parents makes one think of all the things said and not said, of all the memories we have and realization that there are no more to come, and all the questions not asked of them and those that we can’t ask in the future. But it also brings back memories of love and learning and security and “safeness of them being there”. I didn’t have a great relationship with my mother who died over 20 years ago, but I now have thought about her so much in the passing years that I realize where our problems started, what triggered them (its easy to see when looking back) and how much I miss her now. I find myself saying outloud, “I love you Mom” at odd times. I felt that I didn’t tell her that I loved her enough – yet my brother says he was always jealous of time I spent with her as I grew older because we had such a wonderful bond. As you look back and remember, you will bring forth those memories and lessons that you two shared, he may not be with you physically but he molded and taught you, he led you through life and now he waits for you, with love and patience and acceptance of anything and everything you have ever done or will do. I send my love and a hug, and a special prayer for “Firefly’s Dad”.