Monday, November 5, 2012

KickStarter Update and Book Excerpt

Warren with Flaccid Antler Moose Hat by Yours Truly

Thank you SO much! We are cruising right along with the KickStarter Campaign, and it's even possible I might hit my hoped-for goal today. Wow. I am so grateful. I have been asked to put up an excerpt from The Maine Event, the book I plan to publish myself, with y'all's generous help. And so, your wish is my command, here is a little taste of the book. This scene takes place on Monhegan Island, an amazing island an hour by boat off the coast of Maine. I go there every autumn. It's one of my favorite places in the world. I usually go as part of a knitting retreat group, but on the occasion described below, I took Warren to see what this beloved happy place of mine was all about. I hope you enjoy this, and I would love it if you'd let your friends know about the campaign.

Thank you so much!


Trap Day 2011!
Forget about sleeping per chance to dream and sign me up for sleep of the dead. After all that driving, those useless McDonald’s parking lot catnaps, I am here, cupped in the hands of a benevolent god that places me into a temporary state in which dreams are banished, Warren’s snoring is on mute, there is miraculously no fight over the covers or space, and my only job is to conk out and stay conked out for hours and hours of delicious slumber.

We both wake before 5 am, pretty much unheard of in my real life. Though it is still dark, I feel utterly refreshed, solidly rested, and pleasantly cool to the core— chilly even—as I burrow beneath the comforter and allow myself to surface slowly. On the way up, I remember something Holden told us when we checked in. Today is Trap Day, the first day of lobster season, and the lobstermen will be heading out before sunrise to drop thousands of traps.

I’d never even heard of Trap Day before, I don’t eat lobster, and still I’m as excited as if this is Mardi Gras and I’ve been designated to play the role of a baby in a King Cake in the school play. Warren is excited, too. This is a chance for him to whip out his eighty-million dollar camera and shoot something other than me knitting on the ferry, knitting in the lobby, knitting in front of the Monhegan House sign.

We bundle up to steel ourselves for the cold and rain. Warren pulls on his moose hat, one in a series of silly knitted caps I’ve made at his request over the years. This is a running joke between us that started shortly after we met, when he asked me to knit him some handcuffs, which I did. I then made him a hat with a menorah sticking out of the top for Hanukkah, a hat in the colors of the French flag for our trip to Paris, a gnome hat (with a white beard attached) for a trip he took around the country posing in front of famous landmarks and in the midst of unsuspecting wedding parties, and a bright orange cap topped with a knitted Fanta bottle.

Warren loves these efforts and marches around bragging about my knitting with the sort of pride more associated with a new father announcing the birth of a child. He doesn’t even care how well they turn out, and since I knit them on the fly with no patterns, let’s just say results have been uneven at best. Case in point: the moose hat counts as both one of my greatest successes and failures. I was pleased with the ad hoc antlers when they were in progress, but then a little letdown to see how they drooped, unable to come up with some knitting version of Viagra to get them to shift from flaccid to erect. In the hat, Warren looks more like a puppy with misshapen ears than a moose, which will generate many confused looks and curious questions once we make our way to the dock.

From front porch to inlet, it can’t be more than five blocks as the crow flies. But the fog is thick and a lack of streetlights further hinders our journey as we pick our way carefully and very slowly down the winding path. Again all of my senses are fully engaged: the sounds of excited hollering among the lobstermen and women, the rain and mist on my face, the wet salt in my nostrils, the stacks and stacks of lobster traps— each embellished with a fluorescent buoy painted in a particular pattern to establish its ownership, like ocean cowboys branding metal cattle.

A small crowd of observers gathers, some momentarily distracted by Warren’s odd hat, most focused on the Trap Day trappings. I wish for a coffee, for both warmth and speed, and want to cheer when it dawns on me that, of course, the little dock shop is open early on this important day. Not only is steamy coffee ready, but they’ve got fresh, hot scones, too, scones punctuated with melty chocolate chips, dusted with cinnamon and peppered with cayenne.

As we sit and unsuccessfully try to slowly savor and not devour the scones, a blockbuster movie trailer unfolds before our very eyes. The young woman working the counter, a stunning beauty of perhaps twenty-two, blushes slightly when a lobsterman, perhaps a few years older than her, comes in to say hello and caffeinate. She is fresh scrubbed, her blonde tresses pulled into a ponytail, revealing an eager, flawless face. He says something indiscernible to us. She looks down for a moment, shy. An incredible buzz invades the room, one absent before he entered the scene.

In the instant that he smiles and she glances away (her rosy cheeks growing rosier) the plot unfolds and again my imagination roars awake. Have they kissed yet? If not, will they? Does she already have a boyfriend? Does he have a girlfriend? Will they find true love? Is she just summer help? Will her love for him keep her here on the island forever and ever? Will they have babies? Will she learn to go out on trap day? Will they stay in love forever? Will they grow to resent each other? Will they continue serving these fucking amazing scones? Please God, say yes!!

Then the lobsterman steps out to do his duties on the water, and we step outside too, and Warren disappears, off to shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot— hundreds of pictures of thousands of traps from countless angles. I stake out a spot and watch and listen, my attention pulled in a few different directions.

There is the big picture— all of those traps transforming dock into labyrinth, rows and rows of stacks and stacks that you could, if it didn’t mean being in the way of the workers, slip along and behind, imagining yourself to be a little child pretending to be an explorer in a forest of metal dotted with the psychedelic contrast of the buoys. Even in the pre-dawn darkness and thick fog, the colors leap out, as does the bright yellow of the head-to-toe rain suits worn by the lobstermen and lobsterwomen and at least one little lobsterchild, done up like a miniature sales rep for Gorton’s of Gloucester.

The atmosphere is a mix of seriousness— hauling the traps onto the boats is hard work in a tight space— and festive. Though there aren’t nearly as many tourists here on the first day of October, there are still enough of us and we are excited witnesses to the bustle. Some have volunteered to help, as have seasonal residents like Holden. This is certainly an all hands on deck affair and everyone has a job, even if that job is to stay out of the way and not ask too many questions.

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