April 30, 2011

Il Trovatore


Tonight’s Il Trovatore Live from the Met was a peak experience.  It was amazing. 

          It was also in a lot of ways a paradigm of a certain kind of opera—which is to say, I guess, a Verdi opera;  I’m such a Verdi-as-opera-touchstone girl I have difficulty separating this bias out.  Much as I love The Marriage of Figaro or the Barber of Seville—or Lucia—or Gounod’s Faust, which I’m assured is a low taste—if you say ‘opera’ to me, I think Verdi.  And I think a particular little handful of Verdi too:  La Trav[iata], Otello, Rigoletto, Aida (with Simon B, several versions of Don C, Ernani—whose plot may be even more ridiculous than the Troubadour’s—La Forza, Un Ballo, Macbeth* following on their heels before anything else, pretty much, gets a look-in).  And Il Trovatore.  The old war horses.  The real old war horses.

            I was tweeting about this earlier:  the problem with old war horses, especially an old war horse with one of the silliest plots ever to survive long enough to be set to music**, is that opera producers too often think they have to do something new and exciting.  No.  Wrong.  We’re here to listen to the music.  We don’t want to be blistered with fury or dismay by some frelling and distracting staging.  I’ve seen a few of these creative Trovatores, and they were not happy experiences.  Whoever was responsible here*** mostly left us alone to concentrate on the music, although I thought that the large scraggy symbolic figures being crucified, garrotted and (presumably) burnt at the stake were superfluous. 

            But . . . the singing.  Golly.  The first soloist isn’t even one of the Big Four† and I was listening to him and thinking are the stars going to live up to this guy?  . . . Yes.  These are all big glorious heroic Verdi voices and each of the four of them made my skin prickle and the hair on the back of my neck rise ††—and reminds me, I suppose, of why I’m a Verdi girl in the first place.  This music, um, speaks to me—all the passion and melodrama and insanity.  These people are all driven mad by their feelings.  I like that.  And this is what I mean about paradigm:  when it’s performed this well you can really see/hear/feel/experience what grand opera can give you—which is one hell of a rush.  And way cheaper than cocaine.†††

            But part of the paradigm is what it isn’t as well as what it is.  It isn’t realistic.  It isn’t a barrel of laughs.  It requires you to buy in to the set up, and let the music glissando you over the improbabilities.  It requires you to like the sound of trained operatic voices.  I feel about people who don’t rather the way I feel about people who can’t read Tolkien:  I kind of know what you’re talking about, but I feel really sorry for you.  And it also requires you to sit quietly in a chair for three and a half hours (including one intermission) next to some moron rattling his programme.‡

            And it probably isn’t particularly well acted.  I’m not sure this isn’t inherent in the music somehow however, or at least in how the composer has treated the libretto.  Serious Verdi arias are long.  Even in an excellent La Trav, for example, you have to get through that scene where Alfredo finds out Violetta has left him, and his dad starts singing to him about coming home to his family.  Really bad timing, Dad!  And there’s nothing for Alfredo to do while Dad sings a show-stopper but clutch himself and look sulky.  It’s a long time to have to stand on a stage clutching yourself and looking sulky while the other guy gets the spotlight.‡‡  A lot of standard-rep operatic comedies—including Marriage of Figaro and the Barber—need acting singers, and while they fall flat if they don’t get them, when they do get them they can be a deliciously smooth and brilliant ride. ‡‡‡  Verdi§ requires a slightly more specialised mindset, and the disbelief you have to suspend weighs more.§§

            Tonight’s Trovatore wasn’t particularly well acted.§§§  There are kind of a lot of fabulous arias where everyone else has to stand around looking stuffed till they’re over—in fact are better off if they’re allowed to stand around looking stuffed, possibly including the one or ones doing the priority singing;  both dopey busyness and making someone who can’t sing and act at the same time pretend to act is a lot worse than the old-fashioned walk to x marks the spot on stage, wave your arms, and sing system.   Get that soprano off her knees.  Tell the tenor to stop shaking his shaggy locks for pity’s sake. We’re here for the music, you know?  Bring back semi-staged concert opera.  It’ll also be cheaper. #

            But.  Whatever.  It’s easier to talk about the stuff that isn’t transporting you to a higher realm of being than the stuff that is.  I loved tonight’s Il Trovatore.  If you want to try a Verdi opera and they repeat this one somewhere near you, go for it.  http://www.metoperafamily.org/uploadedFiles/TROVATORE.HD.synopsis.DATES.pdf ##

 * * *

* No, not Falstaff.  Even Verdi can’t rescue that grotesque old cretin.  I know that a lot of people think it’s Verdi’s best work.  Not in my ears.  I do, however, have a soft spot for Stiffelio. 

** What was Verdi thinking of?  He was not generally known for suffering fools gladly.  Nor was he notorious for punctilious politeness to his librettists.

*** Production:  David McVicar;  set designer:  Charles Edwards

† Renee Fleming, who still hasn’t lost that dress designer, was the introducer again tonight, and repeated the famous old quote about Trovatore, that it’s a very easy opera to do, all you need is the best four singers in the world.

†† I can nitpick.  The soprano’s top end shows some strain, and the mezzo isn’t bonkers enough.  The mezzo is the gypsy who threw the wrong baby into the fire under the stress of a hallucinatory memory of her mum being burnt at the stake, and is a trifle haunted.  Verdi almost named the opera after her instead of the troubadour, and it really does pretty much begin and end with her—especially end.  But she spends the entire opera being more or less off her face, and it needs to show more.

††† At least the cinema version is cheaper.  Although at least going to the Met in person is legal.

‡ I’m getting used to explaining that I’m making a dog blanket.  I’m also becoming notorious as the Woman Who Knits.  I am increasingly nonplussed that knitting isn’t catching on as an intermission activity.  I was sure by the end of the season we’d all be knitting.  And all that’s happening is that more and more people are coming up to me and saying, I saw you at Don Carlo/Lucia/Capriccio, didn’t I?  What do you think of this one?  And, occasionally:  how’s the dog blanket coming? 

‡‡ Although Alfredo is a major asshole, so frell him.  But this is almost in the contract, that the tenor is an asshole.  It’s amazing how many lead tenors are.  Manrico, tonight, the troubadour of the title, is an asshole.  Edgardo, from Lucia, is another one.  They’re always shaking their shaggy locks, leaping to conclusions, and having tantrums.  Give me the baritone.  In this case . . . yes please.  http://www.hvorostovsky.com/en/   Mmmmmm.  In the tenors’ defence of course they are written that way, and like the heroine having the vapours, the tenors’ tantrums are usually crucial to the plot [sic]. 

‡‡‡ Which is also why a good Figaro or Barber is a good place to start with an opera newbie. 

§ And, worse, Wagner, who I’m still working on 

§§ I’d also hazard that comedy is somehow allowed to be implausible in a way that tragedy isn’t. 

§§§ I think the only one of tonight’s Big Four who has any apparent gleam of acting ability is the baritone.  But that may be because I think he’s cute.  Or possibly because, as the villain, all he has to do is look evil and shifty.  None of this sympathetic twaddle.  

# Which is not to say that none of the stage business worked.  There is a very creepy and effective business at the end for example:  Manrico has rushed away from his hasty battlefield wedding to Leonora to save his mum, who has stupidly allowed herself to be captured by the enemy.^  Just before they parted he took off his long military-style coat and draped it round her.  After he’s captured, she’s still wearing it when she goes to offer herself to the evil Count in exchange for Manrico’s life.  The evil Count accepts . . . and lasciviously takes her coat off. ^^ 

^ One of the reasons I find every Azucena I’ve ever seen frustrating is that I think there’s a strong argument that everything that happens in the opera is directly her doing—which would mean that she let herself be captured.  

^^ Mind you I’d take the Count over that twit of a tenor any day.  Ahem.  And, all right, I’m Count-obsessed, but what I was saying about acting, and about the built-in difficulty of acting within a grand opera framework:  the Count has an aria, very famous, very beautiful, about his frustrated love, which is to say lust, for Leonora:  Il balen.   For the duration of that aria, the Count turns into another person—a softer, sadder, non-villainous person.  Some Counts do this better than others.  Tonight’s did it extremely well.  But I would think that, wouldn’t I? 

## US encore 18 May.  Make a note.

More bluebells*


And maybe a lilac.  I adore lilacs.  Hurtles are slow in lilac season because I have to stop and sniff a lot. **

Third House has very good lilacs. My predecessor knew her lilacs. And then I put in two more.

And a few lambs.

Pre-yarn on four legs

I see this one in pink, and that one in a creamy gold blend, and have I mentioned my most/least favourite on line shop having another frelling yarn sale?

And finally.  Bluebells. 

And that’s it for this year.  Sigh.  These are from the beginning of this week and today, and today I can see them beginning to go over.  The lilacs will be going for a little longer.  And I’ve got a few more roses beginning to crack. . . .

* * *

* Several people have emailed or tweeted me, asking my opinion of the royal wedding.  This is my opinion:

I’m failing to find any nice round numbers about what the bloody thing cost, but I am willing to hazard a guess that if the money had been put elsewhere there could have been a lot fewer library closings.


And yes, it’s a funny thing, but I have remarkably little trouble keeping my story, fairy-tale royalty and my this-world, they’re-just-people-with-an-expensive-life-style royalty separate.

** Hellhounds understand the stopping and sniffing, but find my choices peculiar.

National Poetry Month. Oops.


I had such plans for this month.  And of course I got distracted, because that’s what I always do, get distracted.

But it’s not quite May yet.  So I thought I’d hastily shove a few favourite poems at you.

                Every now and then I am reminded that my formal education was not a total loss.  I first met Theodore Roethke in school.  Probably The Waking:  http://gawow.com/roethke/poems/104.html which I also love–and everyone knows ‘I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow . . . I learn by going where I have to go.’  It’s a poem to live by.  I try to live by it.  Some days it’s easier than other days.*  And My Papa’s Waltz http://gawow.com/roethke/poems/43.html was in one of the dumber anthologies I suffered through in high school, from whose pages it shown like a star.

                  But it’s Elegy for Jane that absolutely blew me away.  And where did I see it for the first time?  Sitting my Advanced Placement English test my senior year of high school, so I could escape Remedial Lit 101 in college.  Imagine, if you will, sitting in a classroom at a non-standard day and time with a few other sweating hopefuls, opening your test booklets to see what you were going to have to read and comprehend sufficiently to write a coherent, judge-impressing-in-the-right-way essay on.  And here was this perfectly amazing poem.  I have always been a visceral reader, and for all my tendency to run on and on** I tend to go blank and speechless when I’m moved.  Words flow in later.  I have no idea what I wrote in this case, but whatever it was it got me out of Lit 101, for which I owe it (and Roethke) a major debt of gratitude. 

Theodore Roethke 

Elegy for Jane
(My student, thrown by a horse) 

I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils;
And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile;
And how, once startled into talk, the light syllables leaped for her,
And she balanced in the delight of her thought,

A wren, happy, tail into the wind,
Her song trembling the twigs and small branches.
The shade sang with her;
The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing,
And the mould sang in the bleached valleys under the rose.

Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth,
Even a father could not find her:
Scraping her cheek against straw,
Stirring the clearest water.

My sparrow, you are not here,
Waiting like a fern, making a spiney shadow.
The sides of wet stones cannot console me,
Nor the moss, wound with the last light.

If only I could nudge you from this sleep,
My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon.
Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love:
I, with no rights in this matter,
Neither father nor lover.

 * * *

* The ‘waking slow’ part I have down really well. 

** Ahem.

A Fiona Day


It has been a Fiona Day.  This has been both a good thing and a . . . well, not exactly a bad thing, but an exasperating thing, starting with the fact that I’m sure the day has been four and a half hours long, not twelve, since I rolled heavily out of bed* and started the sprint toward getting the hellhounds hurtled before Fiona arrived.**

            We duly met Fiona up at Third House and began a two-pronged assault on the McKinley-Dickinson backlist.***  Fiona was supposed to put our single-copy reference shelves in order.†  I was looking for various particular items.

            Listen to me closely, everyone, please.  THERE IS GOING TO BE AN AUCTION. 

            Remember that New Arcadia’s tower bells need some serious restoration work?††  We need approximately the down payment on a medium-sized house.  And we need it now. 

            There are various plans afoot, but at (say) £1.50 per, it’s going to take a very large high tea and bake sale to sell enough brownies to pay for more than a gudgeon and half a headstock.†††  I thought I’d augment the baking with a book‡ auction.‡‡

            So I was down at Third House trawling through the tower blocks‡‡‡ of backlist.  GAAAAAAH.  How is it possible to find so little of what you’re looking for when all the boxes are LABELLED??  Well, one answer to this conundrum is that they’re only labelled on one side and that side can be assumed to be any other side than the one(s) you can see.  Furthermore the backlist boxes, both Peter’s and mine, became cacodemonically intermingled with all the other boxes of books at Third House, including the QUITE A FEW that were destined for Oxfam, except I never quite got them there before the Attack of the Builders.  Thus is laziness punished.  Struwwelpeter didn’t cover this one for some reason.§

            With some help from Fiona, whose melting point is a good deal higher than mine, I did eventually find most of what I was looking for.  Details of THE AUCTION to follow, as soon as I get them sorted out well enough§§ for Blogmom to set up the practical details.

            Meanwhile . . . Fiona did get to the post office this time.§§§  So listen again, please, everyone.  EVERYTHING I AM AWARE OF THAT I OWE ANYBODY IS NOW IN THE MAIL.  If anyone is still waiting for anything they think I’ve promised them—and I don’t necessarily mean recently, I mean at all—PLEASE GET IN TOUCH.  Use the email on my web site.~ 

            And then Fiona went through a knitting pattern with me.  What is the matter with knitting pattern writers?  This one calls itself EASY.  Lies!  Lies!

 * * *

* Please note I am writing this a lot earlier than I am posting it.  If you’re counting.

** Fortunately she was also sprinting late.  We are a pair.  Not in a good way.  Also-fortunately-given-basic-unfortune-of-situation we have iPhones to keep current with each other’s vagaries.   I still wonder how I lived without email.  It wasn’t that long ago that I was still resisting the virtual-post phenomenon.  I’m beginning to wonder how I lived without the ability for frantic, after-the-last-minute texting.  And I’ve had Pooka less than a year.  Maybe it has something to do with the increasing impossibility of my so-called schedule?  No, no, I’m sure that’s not it. . . . Fairly sure. . . . Well, maybe slightly quizzical. . . . 

*** Hellhounds were kept busy in the supply train.  They supplied (alternately) the dozing and the ‘isn’t it time for something else to happen yet?’ looks. 

† It took her about ten minutes to get the McKinley volumes lined up.  The Dickinson . . . Tell Peter he’s written too many books, she said. 

†† It occurs to me this is a very strong argument for handbells.^ 

^ I have made a serious tactical error.  Learning the first lead of frelling Cambridge frelling minor by itself made sense:  it’s like establishing your base camp in the foothills before the assault on the Peak of Death.  Even learning the first and second leads still makes sense.  But last week when I unexpectedly found myself more or less staggering through the second lead and only crashing and burning moderately, in this daze of there-must-be-some-mistake-the-crashing-and-burning-should-be-total-and-absolute, I found myself agreeing to learn the third lead for this week.  Which is to say . . . tomorrow. 

            And the problem with the third lead is . . . you hit the halfway point halfway through it.  And you know it’s the halfway point.  It feels like the halfway point.  And you find yourself remembering all that pernicious nonsense about turning around and going back the way you came.  Yes—the second half is the mirror image of the first half.  Only the Wild Roberts, Nialls and Colins of this world can use this information in any practical sense.  For the rest of us being told that you just do the whole thing backwards is a goad to violence.  But . . . you’ve got halfway.  You know it’s more or less the same pattern you used to get this far.  It’s, you know, it’s only the exact same thing backwards.  Maybe it’ll look a little familiar . . . surely it’ll look more familiar than the first two and a half leads did.  Maybe it would be amusing just to have a little tentative try at the rest of it. . .  .  AAAAAAUGH.  The result is that I’m now frelling embarked on learning the entire FIVE leads of a COMPLETE PLAIN COURSE of Cambridge.  And the result of that is that at present I can’t ring any of it.  And handbell practise is tomorrow . . . whimper.  Whiiiiiimper.

+ I know better.  I know better than to do these things.  Than to plunge headlong into the abyss.#  Than to try to catch up with people who have been method ringing since the Palaeozoic.  

# Three Secret Knitting Projects?  Three?  

††† http://www.cccbr.org.uk/prc/pubs/slides/50labelledFullCircleBellAndFittings.jpg 

‡ And maybe a few oddments.  Hee hee hee hee. 

‡‡ Which may raise enough money for the other half of that headstock.   Come on, people, break into those piggy banks.

‡‡‡ Speaking of towers 

§ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struwwelpeter  The original nightmare book for little kids you really hate.  And he wrote it for his three year old son?  Lock that man up.  He’s criminally insane.  

§§ Including a certain amount of taking deep breaths and wondering if I dare.  See ‘and oddments’, above. 

§§§ Last time, you may remember, was rather taken up with yarn and Steeleye Span. 

~ Those of you waiting for the tangible outcome of the Harass Oisin contest . . . you need to wait about a fortnight longer.  Ahem.

Even more girliness


I have kept meaning to get back to this.  And bells*, roses, yarn, etc** keep getting in the way.

Bratsche wrote: 

May we have a picture of the cardigan?  I’m curious to see what the lots of colors look like.

I assume there is only the one US edition of the Dark Lord at this point? (Which is the one I have, which is why I didn’t know about the dedication until now.) Now I have to decide if I need to get a UK edition (although I really like the US cover art).

Ta da

 I’ve never thought about it, I’m afraid.  Diana told me she hadn’t got the dedication in in time for the American edition, which came out first***.  And I vaguely assumed that some time when it reprinted they’d put the dedication in, and maybe they didn’t.  But there’s nobody to follow it up now . . . I suppose I could ask Harpercollins.  They still publish some of my backlist, they have to know who I am.  (“Why is this strange woman writing to us?  And about what?”)

 Mrs Redboots 

I wonder, though, whether the pendulum has not swung too far in the opposite direction – these days, one hears nothing except how feeble boys are, how they are far less intelligent than girls, how they have more trouble in school, how girls are so much better at maths and science…. and my daughter has noticed how the girls who were born around the same time as [grandson] are far more advanced than he is.

I’m afraid this is a hot button with me.  Short answer:  no.  The pendulum has not swung too far in the opposite direction.  Kids are kids, and if they’re given the opportunity to whinge and feel sorry for themselves and not make an effort, they will.  The media needs melodrama, and pathetic boys make good copy.   Boys are slower to physical maturity.  There’s nothing wrong with this.  It’s just physiology and hormones.  Remember through most of primary school how the girls always seemed like a different species from the boys of the same year?  And in junior high the girls were all trying to date high-schoolers.  And then the boys started growing up. 

            As I say:  hot button.  I am sick to frelling death of the whining that’s going on in the book world about ‘all the books are about girls now’.  In the first place, that’s ridiculously untrue—so ridiculously I can’t be bothered to make a list of male writers and male characters—and in the second place the real problem is that boys, generally, are resistant to reading books about girls, whereas the reverse is far less true.†  And as a girl who had to grow up reading books about boys, because unless I wanted to read about prom dresses and shopping, boys’ books were pretty much my only choice, I think it’s way over time for boys to learn the reverse trick.  Feminism is about equality.  And a little more reading about the other side might even conceivably level the playing field in other ways.  There might be fewer male CEOs who assume women ‘can’t cut it’.  There might be more stay-at-home dads, because more men would risk having the strength of their conviction that they would like to raise their kids . . . whereupon men in play groups and day care and the pick-up queue when the nursery school lets out would stop being abnormal—and stop being treated as abnormal—which would absolutely be a good thing. ††

Melissa Mead

I’m extremely lucky- I have parents who, faced with a first child who was both a girl AND had cerebral palsy in a time when they wouldn’t even be expected to send such a child to school, assumed that I’d both go to college and become self-supporting. . . .  I look back on my class from the special school I went to until 6th grade (when the laws changed) and realize that I may be the only one from my class who IS self-supporting, and it makes me realize the importance of a supportive family and a society who values education and people putting their skills to the best possible use, whatever that may be.

Yes.  We are such social animals, we humans†††.  The media—and the social scientists—aren’t doing the boys any good by labelling them slow or weak or marginalised—I also wonder sometimes if the people who protest the loudest about being proof against influence aren’t the ones likeliest to be bending into pretzels, even if they don’t realise it themselves. 

            At the same time it is possible to resist and if necessary overcome what everyone is telling you.  That’s a big part of what DEERSKIN is about—a big part of why Lissar is willing to risk having a life at the end.  It is important that in the first public confrontation with her father the people all think that what is happening is Lissar’s fault, and in the final confrontation the people are saying, no, this is our Deerskin, we believe her.  But it can be a very hard lesson, that people will lie to make themselves comfortable, if it’s you they’re lying about.


Well throwing it in the other direction, I’m a boy and I always wanted to be a girl. I have the lucky happenstance of having extremely wonderful parents who didn’t give a frell, and because of that, I think, I never really felt any pressure to be anything other than ‘me’. But I liked wearing dresses, playing with dolls, and most of my friends were girls.  Like you’d expect, I got an awful lot of flack for it . . . I just couldn’t understand why being a tomboy was more acceptable than being a ‘tomgirl’. . . Is it because our society secretly holds the assumption that OF COURSE a girl would want to be a boy – there’s greater freedom and passion in playing that gender! Why do we frown at boys wanting to embrace their feminine side? Are we still saying that being feminine is a negative trait for someone to have?

Yes.  Next question.  And ‘secretly’?  Our society isn’t the least secret about its love of power and its preference for male-style power.  Best way for a woman to fall off the career fast track forever?  Get pregnant and decide to stay home with her baby for more than 24 hours.  And if she’d been focussed enough to get a Caesarian booked in for a suitable weekend, she wouldn’t have to miss any work.  And as a wearying, predictable example of public reaction to a man admitting to behaviour unbecoming to a football hooligan, how about the sneering and snarling against Nick Clegg for saying that music often makes him cry?   Yes, there are also people saying ‘hey, he’s human, it happens, even to politicians’ but there shouldn’t have been that kneejerk of disgust: ‘he CRIES—ewwwww—GET HIM’.  And there was.


            . . . And clearly I’m going to be answering this thread into the next decade.  By which time ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS OF GENDERIST NONSENSE WILL BE SOLVED and we can sit around drinking champagne and laughing about the bad old days.

* * *

* I have decided that trying to learn Cambridge minor on handbells is a sign of a dangerous self-destructive streak.  Niall has rung quarter peals of handbell Cambridge.  I don’t understand why he’s still breathing.

** Voice lesson again finally next Monday.  And I should see Oisin this Friday.  A fortnight’s break in each case, due to school hols and other absurdities.  I’ve just been emailing to Nadia that she’s right about the fading trace of one’s last lesson:  after a fortnight I’m just singing folk songs to the hellhounds the way I’ve always sung folk songs to the hellhounds.^  What voice lessons?  And I even took a notebook with me last lesson^^ and wrote useful, singerly things down in it. 

^ Well . . . no.   One of the best things about taking voice lessons is just that they make me sing.  Whereupon singing folk songs to the hellhounds becomes a good thing to do rather than rampant, embarrassing self-indulgence.  Although this merely knocks the rampant, embarrassing self-indulgence part up a level to the taking voice lessons.  However, I’m good at compartmentalising, and I don’t have to think about the justification for taking voice lessons when I’m singing to hellhounds.  All I have to think about is that I need to sound like I’ve been singing the next time I see Nadia.

^^ It’s only taken me . . . how many lessons to remember to start doing this?  And Blondel suggested it too.  And I took lessons from him for a year. 

*** For some reason best known to the Magical Publishing Faculty who live underground at a Major Ley-line Confluence and Maintain the Balance of the World by occasionally discovering by indescribable means that a British book by a British author must be published in America first or the rent in the time-space continuum will allow Yog-Sothoth to stop frelling lurking and come in.

† Just like Hollywood doesn’t have to make ‘women’s films’ because women will go to men’s films—any lack of enthusiasm or downright reluctance doesn’t matter, so long as there are bums on seats.  But men generally won’t go to perceived ‘women’s’ films . . . so of course the profit checkers are going to go ‘right:  we want LOTS OF NAKED BREASTS AND LOTS OF EXPLOSIONS’ . . . and the studios are going to go on making more ‘men’s’ films.

†† Blondviolinist, wearing her Enabling hat, sent me some links to knitting blogs, including one by a fellow.  Whose introduction to how he became a knitter is full of sad and sorry examples of how totally unwelcome he was made to feel in this generally female bastion of . . . fun and friendship and creativity.  This is SO DEPRESSING.   I’m glad he hung on, and I’m glad we’ve got some male knitters out there, and may there be more, so it won’t be WEIRD.  Weird is almost always threatening to those who take comfort in the status quo–or who feel they need to defend themselves against the Other, whoever the Other happens to be.  In this case guys who knit.

††† However emphatically cranky hellgoddesses may occasionally dispute this.

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