Monday, August 07, 2006

More Thoughts on Castonitis

I bet Joe Queenan didn't know he is really a knitter.

In his essay in Sunday's New York Time's Book Review Section, Why I can't Stop Starting Books, he shares with readers his lifelong obsession with starting books, with 27 books currently on his nightstand. Dispelling the notion that his addiction stems from a short attention span, on the contrary, he insists "the opposite is true. I do not stop reading books because I lose interest in them; if anything, I have too long an attention span, one that allows me to read dozens of books simultaneously without losing interest in any of them. Moreover, I have an excellent memory that allows me to suspend reading, pick up a book six months later, and not miss a beat. A chess player once told me that a good memory is a cheap trick that creates a deceptive aura of intelligence around an otherwise ordinary intellect. This is true." And, I think that that's true of my knitting castonitis.

And, like me, Joe tried to beat his habit. In June, he tried to go cold turkey, and whittle down his reading list to 10 BIP (books in progress). However, it didn't take long for him to cave, because, "No matter how good the book I am currently reading may be — the “Aeneid,” “War and Peace,” Bill Bennett on Texas Hold-Em — I am always ready to drop everything and start reading a 39-year-old book about Dien Bien Phu." And, while my August resolve is still strong, I can envision a moment where I would drop all pretentions, and cast on a new project in Koigu, if a new skein were to arrive at Rosie's that not only caught my eye, but stole my imagination.

I don't lose interest in projects unless they are bad, I simply crave starting new ones because, as Joe puts it, "I used to think that I kept stopping and starting books because I could never find the right one. Untrue. All these books are the right one . . Starting books always makes me feel that a long-awaited voyage has already begun; that while it may take five years to finish Boswell’s “Life of Johnson” or “Remembrance of Things Past,” these are no longer dimly envisioned projects like learning to play the accordion or fly a helicopter, but in some way a real part of my life."

Each project I pick, is indeed the right one, at that time in my life. And, putting it down, grabbing needles, and casting on another project, is simply my desire to take that "long awaited vogage" - to see how a yarn with knit up in a particular pattern, to see how an envisioned project begins to take shape - and is that so bad?

“I’m already reading 25 other books, so why am I buying this one?” Joe asked a friend. “Do you think this is a disease?”

“Yes,” interjected the cashier. “But it’s a good disease to have.”

Yep, castonitis is a good disease to have.


Dorothy said...

Amen. Now, I really need to wind those skeins into balls and start that project I have in my head. ;)

Sherry W said...

For August though, no casting on for you! Even if your justification is very well written!

Liz K. said...

I'm relieved to know that I am not the only one who had the EXACT same reaction when I read that article.

Kathy said...

The best part about the internet and knitting sites and book sites...I am not alone in my sickness...At least I'm sticking with my husband and don't start new relationships with men the way I start new relationships with yarn and patterns!

MissyJoon said...

I totally relate and understand this on a knitting and reading level!!!