I had a bone marrow transplant two years ago, and have many compressed vertebrae from the cancer I have been recovering from, so I had to retire from my elementary teaching job and learn new things to do at home that are easy on my back. I have always been able to knit scarves, but not much else, and decided to teach myself to knit sweaters. I started out with one book of patterns and another book that visually showed how to knit different stitches. Well I made a couple of sweaters on straight needles, then decided I had to take the plunge and learn how to use circular needles. I have been knitting like crazy for the year and a half, always have a project, and have progressed from simple vests and cardigans, to short sleeved sweaters with lace patterns, and pullovers with a cable pattern on the top. I've been learning to do some improvising on the patterns, and learning how to make them fit better. Believe me, there are a lot of things that haven't worked out, and some of them I've given away (if they didn't fit me) or taken out and re-knit into different patterns. Some sweaters just have mistakes, and that's the way it is.
But the most enjoyable thing about learning this, is that I had plenty of time and could learn by making mistakes, re-doing, and experimenting. I think this way of learning is often lost in the hurry-up stressful world we live in and even if I wish I had never had cancer, I do appreciate the time it has given me to learn something from the bottom up, the hands- on way.
Thank you for also appreciating how it is to be a new learner, and the wonderful perspective that gives us.
Let me explain how I came across your magazine. I am a 28 year old chef, and I live with a 65 year old retired artist. She is a great friend of mine, and an avid reader.
Now, I majored in English in college and minored in feminism. I enjoy the artsy stimulus of women's magazines, but as a whole they are terrible and vapid. I used to subscribe to some feminist magazines, I think Oprah's magazine is positive. But I am never really blown away by a magazine article.
This morning, my roommate and I were having coffee, and I noticed the "More" magazine on the table. The "style and substance" part caught my eye.
Hooray for substance! First, I read your article, "Living in the New." I loved it, and I completely get where you are coming from. I am returning to school for a second degree, and I think as a nation we should all just continue to study new things every year. It helps you feel young and progressive.
Then I read the article on Amy Baxter and her pain-relieving bee. Amazing. Really blown away by her power and persistence. What I really noticed about the article is how, as a person, she didn't just accept defeat when the factory burned down. And she didn't quit after the first 8 prototypes. Today's culture encourages the idea of instant success, and light should be shed on people who worked daily for years for one shred of promise. Today's culture encourages self-pity and wallowing. Just look at my entire 90's CD collection, all wallowing music. It is so easy to give up and cry about things. I am really proud of Amy for being relentless. That article was incredible.
Then, when I was super amped about my life after reading that, I read your "fierce" list. I had consistent goosebumps and was in awe of all of them. I am cutting the article out and keeping it. I wish Cosmo and Seventeen would publish equally substantial articles for young women so they know they are more than just their parts and their well-assembled outfit.
Thank you, Thank you, thank you. And thank all of the women on your "fierce" list for me. They are my models now. I needed some good models at this part of my life.