Jul 26
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Uncategorized | icon4 07 26th, 2008| icon3No Comments »

Last night, I dreamed I was a young woman trying out for a position with a Broadway production company. When asked what I could do, I answered sing, dance, play the violin and piano, etc. Then they asked me to demonstrate my piano playing.

I sat down at the piano, hesitated for just as second as to what I should play, then began the theme song from Cheers.
I don’t know if they hired me or not in my dream, but I’ve had this song playing in my mind all morning because of it. So, doing like I’ve done so many times, I did a search on the internet about it and came up with this website: http://www.garyportnoy.com/ Go out to it and read the complete Cheers Story. It’s the history behind the show’s theme song, and a very good read it is, too. Then I went out to YouTube and found a complete version of the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf5ojdakpq8
I remember, back when I was in college in the early 1980’s, when I actually did play the piano somewhat, I memorized the theme song from some sheet music I had borrowed from a friend, and I would sneak onto the stage in the auditorium (of which I had a key because working for the theatre department was my job while attending Indiana Central University – today University of Indianapolis www.uindy.edu) and sit at the Steinway piano and play it. I think the bitter-sweetness of the song appealed to me as much as it did to everyone else who helped make it and the show it began popular.

College was a place like the Cheers bar for me. It was (and still is) a small university, and my work with the theatre department, which included designing and running lights for plays and convocations, running the projector on movie nights, helping to build and tear down sets (which I LOVED to do), made me a familiar face to nearly all the campus and I would have people shout hello to me from across a parking lot or green space that I might or might not have known in person. It was like being part of a very large, close-knit family where we all knew and supported one another.

Since then, I have found very few places that gives me the feeling of “belonging.” Because of my interests, political standing, and creativeness, I am usually on the outside of any group looking in. I just do not fit in with the main stream of American culture. But, I have found a place where I do fit in, and one where everyone does know my name whether I know them or not. That is with the fiber community here in central Indiana – specifically with SWIFT (Spinners and Weavers of Indiana – Fibers and Textiles (www.swiftindiana.org)) and my twice monthly BASK (Beautiful and Aspiring Spinners and Knitters) group that meets at The Trading Post for Fiber Artists in Pendleton, Indiana. (http://www.tradingpostfiber.com). This spills over to the annual Spinning Retreat at The Lindenwood Retreat Center in Donaldson, Indiana, as well (http://www.lindenwood.org). Here, I am not an oddball because the members of this fiber community is a lot like me. They are intelligent, well-read, politically liberals (I’d say 95% are, anyway), creative, opinionated, community minded, believe in protecting the planet and making it a safe place for generations to come, down-to-earth, humorous, and caring.

It is important to find a place where you feel you belong, like the song says, where everyone knows your name. No matter how tough the world outside this group can get, at least you know there is one place where you can be yourself and no one will judge you harshly because of it – a place where they are like you.

Jul 15
Creative Constipation
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Uncategorized | icon4 07 15th, 2008| icon3No Comments »

It’s a pretty good sign that I’m having Creative Constipation when my dyslexia begins to get the better of me. I can get the first letter typed right, but the rest are backwards. Like the word “also”, I’ve typed it several times today as “aosl”, “have” has been both “hvae” and “heva.” You get the idea. Thank heavens for spell check is all I have to say.

Actually, right now, I’m in a very creative mood. I’ve been weaving again, thanks to a class I am taking at the Indianapolis Art Center, I’m writing (finishing the script for Johnny Saturn: Homeland Insecurity and beginning the outline and spine for the third and final story arc in the Johnny Saturn trilogy), I’m still knitting and designing as I go on the Happy Blankie that I’m making for Scott, I’m handsewing a complete 1860’s costume for a doll I made (this includes weaving some of the fabric for the clothing) and I’m spinning more of the Ashland Bay Merino that will eventually become a suit for me as soon as I get all EIGHT pounds of it spun (I have two pounds done and am working on the third – Thursday nights are spinning nights, as well as any Saturday nights I actually take the time to sit and watch a movie). Needless to say, this is going to take a while to get all the spinning for this project completed.

Also, I am beginning to get all my plans together for this year’s annual Dye Day event. This year, to show people some of the differences that different mordants make in the color of the dye, I’m going to have more than one pot of some of the dyes, each with a different mordant. For example, cochineal with tin, with alum and with copper in three pots so people can see the differences in the chemical reactions color-wise. The same for walnut hulls (with and without iron), osage orange (alum and copper), brazilwood (alum, tin, copper and iron), etc. You get the idea. Of course, I’ll still have the indigo vat going as people love watching the magic that is Indigo.

And, lastly, Scott and I are working on a new website for me and me alone. At Wizard World Chicago, I had a LOT of people ask me about my website as they watched me spin. I could tell they were disappointed when I told them that I didn’t have one. Well, that is about to be remedied. I’ll tell you more about that when the time comes, and I will welcome comments on it.

Jul 3

This is just a short blog to let you know that I am actually doing some creative things on top of promoting Johnny Saturn: Synns of the Father, going to conventions and working my day job.
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This is a picture of an in-progress 48″ X 72″ knitted on the diagonal blanket for Scott. During the winter months, Scott gets the blues, so I thought I would knit him a “Happy Blankie” to help cheer him up on those cold, gray days of January and February. You can compare the size of the blanket-in-progress to the ball of Sugar ‘n Cream Cotton sitting next to it. The 48″ edge is done, I’ve turned the first corner and am on my way to completing the first 72″ edge. Whew! It’s taking about 15 minutes to knit one row at this point, so this is going to be a long-term project. I plan on taking it on the bus trip to Stitches Midwest in August, so that ought to give me about 6-8 hours of knitting time. If I work hard and am a good girl, I may be able to turn the 72″ corner after this and then the rows will get shorter so it won’t take as long.
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Other creative items I am working on are: 1. Weaving off some dish towels with a painted warp I created during the advanced weaving class I am taking. The other half of the painted warp will be put on my 4-harness Harrisville this weekend for some huck lace towels. 2. I am about to finish the first of a pair of socks in Wildfoote in a green colorway – very pretty! 3. I am still knitting on my madder gradation shawl and will be able to pick it up again once I get the second sock done. 4. I have designed a baby blanket pattern for the loom, and hope to warp up the 8-harness loom with it the weekend of the 12th.
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That’s it for today! I’ll get another blog out about the Wizard World Chicago Convention this weekend, and look for a comic book review to be posted here and on www.johnnysaturn.com tomorrow.