Thursday, September 3, 2015

Two ways of thinking

What the right brain creates, the left brain must execute.

The Peacock's Gift.
Model: Lauren Valletutti. Photo: Maurice Marietti
My right brain bubbles with ideas for projects--scarves, jackets, sweaters, shawls--you name it. The thread is a major catalyst and often dictates the design. 

Threads on shelves and threads in my hand all but 'talk' to me--and keep up the 'talk' throughout the project. All that talk becomes notes of where the threads went and how. But even with a pretty well documented page or two of notes and sketches, I find transforming my notes into directions that others can easily follow requires an entirely different way of thinking. 

I need to turn off my right-brain thinking, which is  largely visual and wordless, to tap into the left-brain's strengths of logic, language and math. The transition is rarely seamless. Not for me, anyway.
Waterways cowl/scarf
Model: Lauren Valletutti. Photo: Maurice Marietti

The editor: a powerful ally

But that's why editors are so important and why all good writers value them. They are the people behind the byline, the ones who make writers look their best. 

Many years ago, I took a workshop with Ben Yagoda and one thing he said has stuck with me. He worried, he said, that editors weren't editing his work as aggressively as they did when he was an unknown writer.  

I have always been grateful to an editor's keen eye. As he or she picked apart pronouns and verb tenses, questioned details that seemed clear to me, and found niggling formatting issues that bedevil most written work, they always made me look better. 

I still crave an editor's oversight and the questions and corrections. Finalizing patterns for The Peacock's Gift' (above right) and 'Waterways' cowl (left) that I plan to release at the upcoming Garden State Sheep & Fiber Festival (next weekend!), I was hesitant to publish them, worried about possible errors, so I am especially thankful to Kris, an extraordinary knitter and designer and an editor with a sharp editorial eye. 

I hope I'll see you next weekend at the 21st annual Festival. Do stop by Winter's Past Farm  and say 'Hello!'

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