Setbacks

My knitting has screeched to a dramatic halt:

Over this past weekend, I fractured my ring finger. It was late at night and I was heading up to bed. I turned off the lights and was heading towards the stairs when I stepped on a kiddie toy, slipped, and in that slow motion panic of trying not to fall I thrust my hand out to grab the banister but instead hammered my hand into it.  It was so late that I debated going to the emergency room to get it x-rayed, but the emergency room is really just for immediate medical attention, so I tried to sleep (didn’t work out so great) and went to the doctor the next day. I have a split under my ring finger, and it’s taped to my middle finger for support.

The timing is especially unfortunate because I was *this* close to finishing the second sleeve of my Pomme De Pin cardigan for the Briggs & Little Spring KAL, which meant I couldn’t finish it. I have tried to do a bit of knitting the past few days, but to work around the splint creates some weird tension in the joints and it is painfully slow.  And I do mean painfully.

Stefanie suggested I take one of my swatches and make a cozy for it, which struck me as a brilliant idea:

I just haphazardly stitched the edges together and sewed up the top, which wasn’t too bad, even though it did take me ages. It keeps the gauze cleaner, too. That was from when I made these mittens for Lila – I did them so quickly one night after I realized Lila had lost almost all of her other mittens and the stores had stopped selling kid’s mittens. Naturally, she lost one before I could get modeled shots.

Also, the novel I’ve been working on for months has hit a snag. A series of unfortunate events in the Canadian Literature world has suddenly raised a lot of questions about whether or not white writers should be writing stories about those from marginalized cultures, and the novel I had been writing focuses on the life of a young man from Mexico working on his Masters at the University of Toronto. Now I have to figure out if I’m being ignorant and culturally appropriating, so I’ve stopped working on it and will try to work on other things, and try to listen to what is being said. Maybe it will all work out, and I hope it does, but I’m feeling pretty down about that. I love the main character so much, when I think of changing him into someone else, it pains me.

So, don’t mind me. I’m just having a little pity party over here. I’ll leave you with a photo of an absolutely stunning pink cherry tree that I saw on a walk last night:

80 comments

  1. Teresa   •  

    Oh, no! Bummer! Though a soft furry cat-panion helps everything!
    Speedy recovery!

    • Julie   •     Author

      Thanks Teresa! 🙂

      Cheers,

      Julie

  2. Lynne   •  

    So sorry, Julie! A few years ago my dominant hand got shut in the rear lift gate of my minivan. Like you, I didn’t go to the emergency room. What did I do soon after I got home with a throbbing hand? I tried to knit, of course! That was one of my top concerns! Would I still be able to knit?? I was able to manage a few wobbly stitches that night, but certainly not after surgery, a pin & a cast. Hugs to you for a speedy recovery! Maybe some arm knitting? :>

    • Julie   •     Author

      Hi Lynne,

      Your arm knitting idea is a great one! I tried to some needle felting last night, and that seemed to be okay- all I needed was a pincer grip with my left hand to hold the pin, so it wasn’t bad. So sorry to hear that you had a much harder go of it, needing surgery- yikes! Are you all healed up now?

      • Lynne   •  

        all better 🙂 One finger points a teeny bit west while the rest point straight north, but fully functioning, thank goodness! :>

  3. AnnieW   •  

    Hi Julie,

    I hope your finger heals swiftly and without setbacks. I’m sorry you’re not able to knit, it sounds painful physically and rough mentally.

    I admire you for being part of the conversation about decolonizing literature and thinking about how you want to proceed with your novel. I don’t know what the answer for you is- but I respect that you are open to working through the feedback you’re hearing from your community.

    In a different context I’ve been thinking a lot about what stories belong to us and how that’s separate from the stories that influence us. In my writing my mom pops up frequently and I have to sort through what parts of that I own and what I don’t. Not so much plot- but my mom grew up in a culture and environment separate than the one I grew up in. How she was raised casts a long shadow over our relationship. I can write about the impact of that shadow on me, but I feel less than comfortable about claiming any understanding about how her upbringing impacted her interior landscape. She’s an open person who has shared a lot about her experiences with me, but that isn’t the same as being someone who has experienced it in the framework of her values, norms and traditions. So the story I tell ends up being about the gulf between us.

    I can’t wait to read what grows out of this time period. i hope that the discomfort turns into something fruitful and resonant for you.

    Wishing you a better humpday and smooth slide into the weekend.

    • Carmela Biscuit   •  

      Going down that rabbit hole, no one can fully understand the story of others, so writers should write only about themselves? Coming from a former communist country (Bulgaria), what I read now about Canada frightfully reminds me our dictatorship of the proletariat – shutting down the voices of intellectuals, censorship, fear to speak openly, judging people not by their talents but by their origin. The experiment failed, why repeat it again? Why not let the public decide who and what to read and give credit to people’s intelligence and imagination?

      • Annie W   •  

        Hi Carmela,
        Thanks for your reply and the opportunity to clarify my comment. You’re right, if I argue this point to the extreme it becomes weird. My intent was that I had an experience that for me resonated with Julie’s- wondering what story is mine to tell and what isn’t. I think that’s the question a lot of creators in the arts are struggling with right now and that struggle is playing out in conversations about cultural identity and representation.

        In your comment you mention that the current state of Canada reminds you of communist Bulgaria. I think that’s an interesting perspective.I think though that the conversations about who can produce what art are coming from different places and with different aims. In Bulgaria the government was enforcing censorship to achieve political aims that reinforced a narrow definition of nationalism and excluded voices of those who dissented. I don’t think that is what is happening here. I think the art world, which is primarily non-governmental, is debating ideas about authenticity, ownership and privilege. There’s a growing segment of the population that is aware of how racial inequality (and other forms of inequality) are perpetuated and is looking to combat oppressive systems.

        Within the art world systemic inequality and racism is a real barrier to the presence of minority voices and artwork. Access to agents, education, materials, mentors is disproportionately weighted towards white people. Knowing this, and knowing that non-white artists are underrepresented artists are looking at how to dismantle a system that marginalizes non-white voices. The issue isn’t really one of censorship- it’s one of opening up the stage for additional narratives to unfold.

        As for the public judging the merit of a work- I don’t think that will go away any time soon. Plenty of blogs and unfortunately almost everyone has a twitter account these days. Sad!

        I do think that it’s possible to write about characters who are dissimilar to the author. I also think it’s smart for Julie to think about how the community that she writes for will receive her writing in the wake of the most recent conversations about identity and art. At it’s very best writing and reading allows for a nuanced dialogue about complex issues. As a reader I’m happy that tough questions about race, privilege, economics and politics can be wrestled with on the page. I’m thankful for writers who sit with tough questions, talk about uncomfortable things and who write things I disagree with.

      • Julie   •     Author

        Hi Carmela,

        I’ve visited Bulgaria a few times, it is beautiful- I went to Plovdiv twice and Sofia once. I think that in Canada very specifically there is concern about the cultural appropriation of the voices of indigenous writers, but any good idea taken too far can quickly become at tool of oppression. I’m choosing to listen and see what happens, and hopefully the discussion will make my characters and my writing better for it. I’m sure I will still write the book. I needed some time to be sure, but I think I’m still going to do it.

    • Julie   •     Author

      Hi Annie,

      There is a lot of truth in writing what is uncomfortable, because that is usually something important to be found there. I hope that your writing about your mom, her culture, and the complicated space that a mother and daughter inhabit reveals those truths that are at first uncomfortable, but then recognized by everyone – adding to cultural differences the difference in age and perceptions and fears that shaped her upbringing, and yours- it’s a complicated relationship. While I love Gilmore Girls, I think it is the most unlikely mother daughter relationship ever depicted. Most of us need words to address that gulf that you mentioned. Keep writing it!

      J.

  4. Anne S   •  

    So sorry to hear not only about your finger, but also the concerns regarding your novel! Many prayers! Very glad to hear that your nurse kitty is taking his/her duties seriously!

    • Julie   •     Author

      Thanks, Anne! My kitty Yarn takes her snuggle duties very seriously. 🙂

  5. matkailijakirppu   •  

    Oh, too bad with the accident! But your cover-up is very appropriate for a knitter! And hope you find a literary solution for your dilemma as well…

    • Julie   •     Author

      Thanks so much! I’m trying to stay positive about it all, and choosing to interpret it as the universe suggesting I try some different things for a bit and see how it goes. Hopefully both situations resolve themselves quickly!

  6. Char   •  

    Get well soon, with love from the UK

    • Julie   •     Author

      Thanks, Char! I appreciate the good vibes! 🙂

  7. Alexis   •  

    So sorry for both your setbacks. I’ve been having a bit of muscle pain in my right forearm, and it twinges when knitting, but the thought of not knitting has me all panicked, so I can sympathize with the broken finger thing.

    I’m not sure about the specific Canadian lit debate, but it is brave of you to stop and reflect on your novel; I hope In the end that you do get to write it, and it’s even better, more deeply sensitive and rich due to the debate and your struggles.

    Wishing you peace of mind for both these challenges.

    • Julie   •     Author

      Hi Alexis,

      thanks so much for your kind words about my book in progress, I hope you are right! And for your muscle pain in your forearm, maybe try wearing a wrist brace when you knit and see if that helps? I do from time to time!

      Cheers,

      Julie

  8. loulou   •  

    Oh no … I’m sorry to hear both these bits of bad news. 🙁 Your pity-party is totally understandable. Let me know it there’s anything I can do to help make things better.

    • Julie   •     Author

      Thanks my dear. I almost always feel behind on things anyway but now I feel especially behind, and the regular reminders throughout the day that I can’t do wide variety of tasks normally anymore seems to eat up all my patience. But it will pass! See you soon.

      xo

      J.

  9. Heather Moore   •  

    I don’t think that’s appropriating AT ALL. I think it’s more appropriating when people “steal” from the culture and pass it off as their own. But writing about someone living in Canada isn’t stealing from their culture. (Does that make sense?)

    And bummer on the hand but you have a nice tabby lap cat. 🙂 Super cute!

    • Julie   •     Author

      Thanks, Heather! It’s a tricky subject (in Canada, anyway) and I’m hoping by taking a bit of a break I can see a way forward with it that is very sensitive to those issues, or at least prepares me for the criticism, if I persevere with it! 😉

  10. Corinne   •  

    Ouch! How unfortunate but at least your fingers look very well dressed now. I hope it heals very quickly.

  11. Wanda   •  

    Oh danggggg… 🙁 I am sorry you are having these bad turns! So last year, I broke my pinkie in 2 places – and also skipped urgent care for a day. Even though it was the pinkie, i had to wear a cast halfway up my forearm and I wore it for 12 weeks. Through my happiest knitting months no less – Nov through Jan. I *could* knit, but like you, it put weird stress on my wrist and just hurt too much. What was a comfort – besides furry pets, family and friends – was that I turned to my other love, reading, and finished several novels that winter!

    And your novel.. sigh. I’m not aware of the exact debate, but I think it’s probably one discussed a lot (majority culture speaking for marginalized culture rather than letting them speak for themselves). There’s validity to that in many cases – yet when it comes to literature, I feel like authors writing about other cultures has potential to enhance understanding, no? I realize that may be too simplified. We need more minority artists and need to support them, of course. But oh… I hope you can move forward with it in a way that makes you happy…

  12. Kat @ felinity knits   •  

    Ohh you poor thing! That’s properly rubbish, I’m sorry. The finger thing is awful (ouch!) but I can imagine that the novel complication is more emotionally difficult. I hope you’re getting the chance to do some other self-care things right now.

  13. Aimee   •  

    Write what you love

  14. Tanis   •  

    Oh no! The finger sucks but it will heal (sooner rather than later I hope, I want to see that sweater!) but I’m really bummed to hear about the setbacks with your novel. Tackling a novel is such a huge undertaking (I can’t even fathom it) so to have devoted months to it only to now be faced with all this doubt must be tough. I hope you come through this even more energized about whatever direction this setback takes you in.

  15. miss agnes   •  

    I am so sorry, I can’t imagine how painful and tiresome it must be to be so incapacitated. I hope your finger heals properly and quickly. Not sure what happened on the Canadian literature scene, but I don’t understand the whole concept of cultural appropriation. Cultures have been mixing for centuries. Should be stop using the number 0 because it has been invented by the Arabs centuries ago? Or stop eating sushis ? Anyway that’s my rant, hope you can finish your novel and then decide what to do or get advice from your editor. Take care of yourself, sweet Julie.

  16. Beth   •  

    Hi Julie, So sorry to hear about your finger mishap and the novel-writing one as well. The finger will heal for sure. The literary problem–well, I am afraid none of us are going to see the final healing of that one. There are a lot of wrong answers but no one right one. I think your approach of stopping, waiting, being thoughtful is really smart, though painful, and I trust that you will find the solution for your novel.

    I don’t know if you are familiar with Justine Larbalestier? She is an Australian/US fiction author who has blogged a lot about this issue in her own work. There is a lot of strong emotion in Canada right now because of the recent controversy; maybe it would be helpful to read through the thoughts of a white writer who’s removed from this occurrence but has thought a lot about the issues and written about them? Here is a post that links to a lot of previous posts she’s written on the topic:

    http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2016/08/22/white-fragility-post-posting-wiscon-goh-speech-soon/

    And here’s a guest post by an Australian aboriginal woman on the subject of white writers being an ally of indigenous writers:

    http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2016/11/14/guest-post-ambelin-kwaymullina-thoughts-on-being-an-ally-of-indigenous-writers/

    Justine is clear-headed and thoughtful, and has a long history of thinking and writing about this, and writing from different points of view, and making different kinds of decisions along the way about her characters and her work. I hope it is helpful.

  17. Val   •  

    I’m so sorry Julie. That your literary project has been swept up in the appropriation debate and that you can’t unwind from it all a bit through knitting. I read Niedzviecki’s editorial and for obvious reasons couldn’t escape Ladurantaye’s comments, but I’m learning so much from the conversations that are being published as a result. Your sensitive response to it here makes me confident that it will all work out, with your novel (and finger!) ending up even stronger than before.

  18. Stefanie   •  

    I’m sorry you have obstacles right now hampering progress. Oh boy have many of we or is it us parents stepped on a toy left. I’m so glad you didn’t bang your head. I’m the sure with the writing issue there will some light shed soon upon it so you can move forward in some way. If I was ever to be a writer, I’d like to have Asian characters but not in a stereotypical, cultural story because I grew up very Americanized.

    • Julie   •     Author

      Hi Stefanie,

      Those stealthy toys, laying in wait for us to step on them! Ah well. No doubt time will pass quickly and the splint will be off – I’m counting down the weeks! Your point about wanting to have Asian character that reflect a similar experience to your own is exactly why cultural approbation is a sensitive subject- in the past white writers have been known to take certain stereotypes of most cultures and use them in place of actual character development, and not fully understanding what it means to depict a character who would be that much more complex because they experienced, as you said, what it’s like to be part of more than one culture and how it affects you and your viewpoint. I’ve been reading a lot about this lately, I think I’ve found a way forward with it, and I’m grateful for the the pause to think about my characters in a more considered light!

      Cheers,

      Julie

  19. Sarah   •  

    Sorry to hear you are so close and yet so far from finishing your Pomme de Pin. It will be perfect for fall, when you get back to finishing.
    As a Canadian following the debate closely (I’m a huge reader, and have a degree in Literature), I am interested in hearing more about this topic from all sides. It’s a very complex issue – can all writers have all kinds of characters? Can you have characters who ‘happen to be… (insert culture, race, sexual orientation, gender, etc) as a writer without feeling like you’ve appropriated a voice? I agree, listen closely to all sides of the conversation and then go with your heart/gut feeling.
    Take care and get well!

    • Julie   •     Author

      Hi Sarah,

      Sounds like you totally get this dilemma! Right now it feels very focused on appropriation from indigenous cultures, but I’m also curious about the immigrant experience in Canada as well- I’m looking forward to learning what I can, but my facebook feed is super annoying lately because of it- so many white writers chiming in with their opinions of solidarity or contestment, when it feels like this is really the time to sit back and let someone else have the floor.

      • Sarah   •  

        Sitting back and listening is the next right thing to do! This doesn’t mean you can’t write the book, but you may go back to it with a new perspective and revise from there. In the meantime, hope your hand heals and you can get back to knitting soon.

  20. Stefanie   •  

    Ha, you did it! Love the finger cozy, and wishing you a speedy recovery…that is totally a knitter’s worst nightmare!

    • Julie   •     Author

      I totally took your advice on the finger cozy! And it is truly the knitter’s worst knit-mare. I try to knit a few stitches here and there, but it is literally a few stitches.

      J.

  21. Pat   •  

    Heal fast and is there is a next time, break a toe!

    • Julie   •     Author

      Haha, So true, Pat! I wish I had broken a toe! Or even just a pinky!

  22. DWJ   •  

    Feel better and when it comes to your writing so what feels right to you!

    • Julie   •     Author

      Thanks Dana! It’s a challenging time, but the challenges are what force us to grow, right? That’s how I’m trying to see it.

      Cheers,

      Julie

  23. Melissa   •  

    Oh dear, Julie! Heal up quickly and well! So sorry to hear about the setbacks 🙁

    • Julie   •     Author

      Thanks Melissa! I’m hoping that this is time to reflect and maybe try some new things, and see what happens. It’s tough, but hey- all survivable. 🙂

  24. Ryan   •  

    So sorry to hear about your injury! It stinks when we can’t do the things we love, even for a short period, but think of it as an oppertunity. I didn’t finally sit down and learn how to knit till I broke my leg and it sidelined my whole daily routine. It changed my life forever! Maybe now is the time to try something a little different or try something you wouldnt usually make time for

    Hope you have a speedy recovery!

    • Julie   •     Author

      Hi Ryan,

      This is such good advice- and how amazing that you learned to knit when you broke your leg! I tried doing some needle felting last night, and it felt fine to do, so I will try a bit more of that and see what happens.

      Cheers,

      Julie

  25. Susan   •  

    Oh Julie. When it rains, it pours, right? (Literally, we are having a huge thunderstorm at this moment). I’m sorry that your two biggest creative passions have come to a screeching halt this week. It’s a big deal, and it’s ok that you’re unhappy about it.
    I have no idea what to say about the novel. I don’t really follow Canadian literature (sadly! I should, because I love to read! so I don’t know the nature of the current debate. I do, however, think you have good instincts, and that if you give it time and listen to your gut, you’ll know the right course of action, whatever that is.

    Fine arts and performing arts are fields fraught with these issues, aren’t they? On the one hand, it’s more inclusive of diversity and people willing to challenge authority and traditional boundaries, and on the other hand, questions of privilege and cultural appropriation are just as present and relevant for us as anyone else. I think the most important thing is to be humble, ask questions, and be willing to listen and be uncomfortable.

    • Julie   •     Author

      Hi Susan,

      All so true- thank you for your thoughtful words on this, I agree that discomfort is part of the process, and I try to remember that when I’m feeling frustrated- so many things are harder in my daily life (I”m left handed, so it’s my dominant hand that’s handicapped), that when it comes to the bigger issues of writing and what is my own privilege it feels exhausting. But that’s the thing about white privilege- it’s such a bubble you never even think about it until the subject gets raised. I’m trying to sit back and listen, see what I can learn. I’m thinking I’m probably going to proceed with my book, but with more consideration. Imagine if this was all happening specifically so that my book will be that much better, and the characters that much more true to life, because of it? It raises my spirits a bit to think that.

      • Susan   •  

        One of the best novels I’ve read recently is Americanah by Adichie. The main character is from Nigeria and undergoes a lot of culture shock when she comes to the US to study at age 19. There is a LOT in there about her experience as a non-American black person compared to American black people. I found it completely fascinating and also humbling. If you haven’t already read this book, I recommend it.

  26. Ramona   •  

    I’m so sorry you are having to deal with all this at once Julie. I hope your finger heals quickly. I can’t speak much to the novel issue. I’m much more of the follow your heart kind of person but I do understand the concerns. I hope you’re able to resolve it in a way that works for you and your writing and your heart.

    • Julie   •     Author

      Thanks Ramona! I appreciate the support. Typing isn’t too bad, just a bit modified – and I am trying to knit a few stitches here and there, but it is truly just a few stitches at a time, and soooo slow!

  27. Snow   •  

    So obviously you’ve been doing too much and ignoring those hints the Universe has been sending your way so it hit the “pause(the craziness) button for you.

    Now you get to try being a mere mortal. It will suck but there’s a gem or two in this hiatus so keep your eyes open.

    As for your book…I believe characters search out the writer they want to tell their story…and they are blind to classifications.

    What matters is whether you hear his voice, his story and use your skills and talents to share it from him.

    Finish your character’s story. He wants you to tell it.

    The story has greater power than the limitations of the minds that read it.

    Yes, Julie,you can quote me on that. 🙂

    • Julie   •     Author

      Oh Snow, this is such a magnificent note, thank you so much. I hadn’t thought of it all in that way, but reading what your wrote, it is all true. I truly needed to hear each and every word of it. Big hugs.

  28. Hanna   •  

    Oh Julie, I’m so sorry!! I hope you heal quickly! Cuts and splits and cracking skin are part of my knitting journey much of the time (I garden A LOT and tend to hurt myself in unlikely ways… aka clumsy or not exactly graceful ) but THIS is not just a few-day struggle to knit despite pain and awkwardness! As for the so “caring ” political correctness of our expression… I can only say I hope the lovely opinionated righteous people get their heads on straight and turn their attention to more worthwhile pursuits, letting creativity be. Sending you a warm hug to pity party with you.

    • Julie   •     Author

      Thanks for the kind thoughts, Hanna! Much appreciated. I think the universe is sending me a sign to sit back for a bit and just rest, and better things will result from that rest. At least, that’s what I’m trying to tell myself!

      • Hanna   •  

        I admire your positivity! It seems that quite a few people I have been around lately, including me, are going through some sort of transformation at the moment. It’s so interesting… So much negative propaganda is out there, but when I look at the people around me, many are taking this challenging background noise, feeling that there has to be something higher, and having a kind of personal spring. It’s quite beautiful and so uplifting. Wishing you well in your journey – may you discover many gorgeous things from your altered perspective!

  29. Annie   •  

    Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear about your accident. I hope it heals well and you don’t suffer like I did.
    I fell down some stairs and dislocated the ring finger of my left hand plus broke a bone in the hand of the same finger. Had to have a splint for a week until the swelling went down. Then I was in a cast for 6 weeks. After the cast came off I had physiotherapy for 6 months and a lot of tears in the beginning.
    But even after that I still couldn’t knit. It was too painful and my hand especially the ring finger was too weak to hold a knitting needle.
    I gave up on my beloved hobby for near 25 years. I started again about 5 years ago. I’m so glad I did.
    So please don’t give up even when it hurts. I gave up too quickly. It will hurt until the muscles and tendons work again properly.

    • Julie   •     Author

      Hi Annie,

      Oh no, your story was such a tragic one, that must have been so hard! I’m glad that you were able to come back to knitting, and that gives me hope for my own knitting if it takes a while. My finger is fractured but it isn’t as bad as your injury was. still, it takes time to heal. Thank you for reminding me I may have to be gentle with myself about it even when the splint comes off.

  30. Carryl   •  

    So sorry about your finger. Hope it’s better soon. I love your kitty.

    • Julie   •     Author

      Thanks Carryl! My kitty’s name is Yarn. Appropriate, right? 😉

  31. Kim   •  

    Sounds rough all around, I can definitely understand you feeling bummed! Hope your finger heals quickly and that you’ll be back to knitting soon. I’m not sure anything I have to say about your literary quandry hasn’t already been said by some of the other commentators here (some interesting links up there!), & I’ll start by saying I’m not following the Canadian literary scene at all…but cultural/identity issues always seem to touch a sensitive chord, don’t they? Ten years ago I did a international M.A. with people from upwards of 30 countries & man was there ever conflict at times, often along “first world” / “third world” lines, and one day someone from Latin America said that from the first world we didn’t have the right/authority to comment on the third world. But then Colombian classmate spoke up and said “I disagree–I want the right to be able to comment on the US (for ex) so I want people from the US to be able to comment on Colombia.” I thought that was an interesting point. Anyway taking some time to listen to what’s being said sounds like a good plan, hope you figure out what to do with your novel. And in case you’re interested in an older Mexican American voice, in university I really enjoyed the book _Brown_ by Richard Rodriguez.

  32. Heidi   •  

    Loved your line about trying to just listen to what is being said. I think that’s what more of us need to do. Thanks for that reminder.

  33. Anna   •  

    Oh Julie, sending get well wishes your way! And write what you love, always!!!!!

  34. Jane   •  

    Oh, no! Sorry to hear that life is throwing you some curve balls lately. I hope the finger heals fast.

    I’ve been following the conversation here in the CanLit scene, and I, too, am reading and listening and thinking and seeing where it all goes. I’m trying hard to pay close attention to the voices that started the conversation. Such a complex topic.

  35. rililie   •  

    Oh my… what a bad luck!
    I hope you will get better soon!!!
    (and kudos to the wonderful cosy idea!!!)

    As for the believes of what any writer/artist of any culture/colour should or should not write or create…. my humble opinion is that “laws” like this are as discriminating as the reasons for which the literary consensus is trying to enforce their “ethical” opinions…
    I would suggest to not listen to contemporary believes like this one (which more often than not are following their own political agenda) and to just do what you as a writer and naturally respectful, kind and polite human being feel as the right thing to do!
    Art critics and theoreticians don’t really know a thing about creation anyway…
    but you know, so you should decide on it!
    Besides… it’s like always with these things – in the past there were other “laws” to follow and in years from now, there will be another debate – the question is how many of the writers that followed “guidelines and instructions” are still known today?

    Ha! Now look at that!
    I really got carried away with my comment here….
    sorry about that!
    🙂

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  37. Suz   •  

    I’m sorry you are being impacted by the hyper-political correct society that is currently in fashion. Continue with your story – if some are offended by the concept once finished they don’t have to read it. We all need to stop tip-toeing around each other and stop the gratuitous virtue signaling (not saying YOU are doing this – just the culture as a whole). Good luck with your novel and I hope your finger heals swiftly. Not being able to knit is my nightmare!

  38. Lisa   •  

    At least you have a colorful finger cozy!
    But seriously, that is the worst. I’m so sorry to hear you’re in pain and unable to create right now. I know the feeling, but mine has been more emotional than physical. Sometimes life just sends a lot at us at once and we have to be willing to take a step back from it all.

    Get well soon 🙂

  39. Jeannie Gray   •  

    I love the finger splint cozy but I’m so sorry you’re having to wear it. Hope your finger heals quickly & properly. A hand injury is my worst nightmare! I’m also sorry to hear about your book. I have no knowledge whatsoever about what’s going on in the Canadian Lit world but it doesn’t sound fun to deal with. Hope you can find right-hand-only things to do that can fill the void until you can get back to knitting & writing.

  40. Celeste   •  

    Big ouch all around.

    #1 – I’m really sorry to hear about your finger, but am thankful for you that it’s only one finger and wasn’t something worse! Might be a chance to try painting, coloring, or cross stitch? I once burned the pinkie side of my hands with oil from cooking ratatouille. I couldn’t knit a stitch and got to spend the next couple of weeks working on Posie Gets Cozy felt ornaments that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise gotten around to. Maybe a great time to organize stash?

    #2 – I’m really struggling to agree with the challenge that you’re presented with concerning your novel. I freely admit that this is the first I’ve heard about it, and that my opinions are my own, though possibly influenced by my writer husband. I disagree that someone from one culture can’t use another culture for a writing influence/story/location/character source…etc. Granted many people don’t due justice to other people’s cultures when writing, but MANY do study up, visit, and learn all that they can in order to elevate and properly represent that culture. What a great opportunity for people like me, who have barely been out of the US, to read about other cultures where they don’t/can’t/aren’t able to produce their own writing. It has the opportunity to create interest and plunge someone into a new culture and foster interest and curiosity. Anyone can write about something from ignorance and display a negative connotation, or more often, push their own agenda. (Gives a side eye to political parties) Besides you don’t see this happening with movies! Seriously, this happens all the time with movies and has that been brought up at all? And what about science fiction? Or someone writing a story about a long extinct civilization? I’m sorry, but I think silencing the creative voice of people in this situation is wrong and condemning. I completely understand respecting other cultures and not ‘stealing’ from them, but this is taking things too far.

    I hope things clear up soon as that this story you care about so much can be produced and brought to the public as planned!

    • Jenn   •  

      Actually, yes, that is an issue that comes up with movies and tv and the people who make them. The concern isn’t–and shouldn’t be–preventing people from writing about things outside their experience, but rather about the risk of presenting an outsider’s experience of a culture as the most relevant view of said culture. I can study all I want, but I’m not ever going to really understand in my gut the experiences of someone growing up in a different culture the way they do. On the other hand, if a writer has a story about a culture, particularly one that is underrepresented in western media, should they refrain from telling it just because they don’t share the background? Isn’t it better to start sharing those stories more, regardless of who tells them? It’s a tough question, and it’s a gray area. The ideal would be to promote writers from diverse backgrounds to tell the stories of their cultures (they are already, by the way, we’re just not looking) and try to get those to a broader audience, rather than assuming that only (usually white, usually male, usually straight) mainstream writers can tell a story to that audience. On the other hand, there is value in having a well-known name take a run at stories from other cultures with the hopes of also increasing interest in the writers who have already been telling those stories for years.

      In my experience, if you’re concerned about cultural appropriation, the best thing to do is to ask yourself why you want to tell this story in particular, and then, if you think your reason is compelling, to ask for help from someone from that culture. If you have some Mexican friends who would be willing to read your novel-in-progress and tell you if you’re off somewhere, that’s a good start. Be prepared for notes, maybe even some that pinch a little. Decide from there whether or not you think you’re doing the right thing. There will be someone who gets upset if you write it because they’ll assume it’s cultural appropriation and there will be someone who gets upset if you choose not to write it because they’ll see it as a political statement instead of a question of your own personal ethics. Happily, it’s not up to any of them to decide for you.

  41. Rebekah Evelyn   •  

    Ohh! Sending you lots of hugs!! As a knitter and someone who enjoys writing, I can’t imagine how awful you feel. Hang in there!!

  42. Jodi   •  

    Oh no! Speedy recovery! Well, at least you have a cozy to help you heal and some beautiful spring blooms. And you will sort out the book. Thinking it through and engaging with possible critiques are both invaluable.

  43. Tahnee   •  

    I am so sorry to hear about both the injury and the book, it is totally understandable that it has you feeling down. I cannot really give any valuable input on the matter of the book, but I think it’s admirable that you are listening and making sure you do the right thing, despite the fact that you have so much love for the character. I’m sure it will work out in the end and I of course hope your fracture will heal up quickly!

  44. leslie   •  

    sending positive and fast healing thoughts your way, julie! xx

  45. Alina   •  

    I really hope everything will fall back into its place soon, dear Julie!

  46. Tien   •  

    Oh no, I hope that your finger is on the mend and is feeling better! (The finger cozy is adorable btw)
    I don’t know much about the cultural appropriation issues currently going around but it’s always a good idea to pause, listen and reflect and that sounds like what you are doing.

  47. Kessa   •  

    Yikes, I hope your finger is recovering well! And sorry to hear about the writing obstacle. Its great how considerate you are towards cultural issues. Though I hope that ultimately you will manage to finish this book. Perhaps this is a good thing and will help shape the development of your character? 🙂

  48. Elisa   •  

    Hi Julie,
    I know your current situation so well. My fingers (my ring finger and my middle finger) were fractured by training my horse last november and I had to stop every knitting project I was working on.
    But it feels so great, when you will be able to restart again … so great.
    You just need some patience …

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