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My New Book is Dedicated To….

UntitledAs I finish up my children’s book, work on the cover, and put all of the necessities in their proper places, I wanted to take a moment to thank someone for their support. As I was writing the dedication, I knew there was someone I had to name. Now, I have never thanked them by name here on my blog before because I just don’t know how they would feel about their name being out and about for all the world to see. People have different feelings about that. Yes, in this selfie culture, there are some people who would prefer not to be started at:) But, they have been so really wonderful and helpful to me and I felt I had to do something that would be timeless to thank them. So, I dedicated my book to them. Yes, it is one of you, but of course, you won’t know who that is until it’s released.:) When Phillip found out who I was dedicating the book to (and it’s not him!), he was not at all surprised and said, “Absolutely.” So, you’ll just have to wait and see! It’ll be soon, though!

Another reason I don’t call people out on my blog, is because I truly don’t want to feel I’ve left anyone out. All of you that read and support this blog matter so much to me. So, I never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings by mentioning one person and not other. I have mentioned before, and you’ll excuse me, but I’ll mention one hundred million times more, that this sometimes harsh life of mine has found so much brightness in all of you. It’s something I will never take for granted, and something I will always boast about. Whatever blessings I may find in life are nothing compared to all of your love, support, and inspiration. I wish the world felt as much love as I do.

 

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it to continue, please donate! Every dollar helps, and every cent is so deeply appreciated!

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Kid Rowan

IMG_2708I haven’t been knitting any new bears lately, been filling older orders. But, I did get a huge stash recently with some AWESOME yarn in it and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Especially this Rowan Kid Classic yarn. So, yesterday I was having some teeth pain, so I laid in bed most of the day knitting, doing whatever I could to keep my mind distracted and off the pain. I was so happy to see how nicely this little guy turned out. So, if you’d like to snag him, click here. There’s only one, so hurry!

 

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“The Teddy Bear That Saved Me (or) A Tale of Bravery for Young Knitters”

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Here you go! Here are the first three chapters of my new children’s book, “The Teddy Bear That Saved Me.” I truly hope you enjoy. I really like working on this book. It allows me a new head space, a different way of showing myself as an artist. Of course, as you read the first chapters you’ll find all sorts of nuances that are perfect for knitters. After all, we are talking about the adventures of a knit teddy bear.

Now, I decided to post the first few chapters so I could get a feel of what you think. I’m moving into new territory, I’m a bit nervous.:) So, tell me what you think. All criticism welcome, just as long as its honest.

Click below to read!

The Teddy Bear That Saved Me (3 Chapters)

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Gothic

Watched my country rip itself apart at the seams this week. And what a hellish week it has been. I guess anyone who hates America got their wish this week. Americans hate each other more than ever right now. Anger permeates the air. The beautiful aroma of swimming pools and summer rain has been replaced with the harsh smell of smoke and the heavy dust of crumble. There is a stink in the air that incites hatred, fuels personal ambition, demands the exclusion of some, the blame of others.

Phillip said to me before he went to work, “Oh, Gregory, Gregory, Gregory. PLEASE be careful. You’re an opinionated man. I don’t want to see you write something that could damage what you’ve worked for.” Because sadly, that’s the world we live in. No civil discussion….Just demands, temper tantrums, and rushing off in a pout and huff.

Well, I have to admit, Phillip’s is the only opinion of me I care for. So, I’m holding my promise to him to say nothing more on the whole mess that has within 4 days turned this country upside down.

John_Henry_Fuseli_-_The_Nightmare vlcsnap-2016-06-16-10h13m18s277 vlcsnap-2016-06-16-10h14m06s242SO! I’m a little pissy at the moment because of something more important to ME. Yes, I was sooooo happy, so ready for today. TODAY! Today is 16 June 2016. May not seem like much to many, but Phillip and I are often pursuing simple celebrations, interesting and fun ceremonies and remembrances. Two hundred years ago today, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, John Polidori and Mary Shelley all rendezvoused in Switzerland to….well, basically party their asses of. And party they did. PARTIED! Mercy…..they drank, too drugs, and acted like the contemporary rock stars they were for the time. Oh, yeah. They were pop icons for the day. But, they got so shit faced that night while a storm raged that they grew bored with reading ghost stories to stay entertained. So, they decided to come up with their own. And thanks to that night Mary Shelley wrote “Frankenstein,” and John Polidori wrote “The Vampyre” which became the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” So! History changed two hundred years ago today, literature changed, a new genre was invented, gothic romanticism was born.

Tonight, Phillip and I are going to watch Ken Russell’s “Gothic,” which is the best depiction of that evening you could ever read or see. We’re going to make quesadillas…..(there’s no symbolism in that, just letting you know) watch the film, and appreciate a milestone in literature. Then I was going to unleash the first three chapters of my new children’s book here on the blog. I know what you’re thinking, “Dang, Gregory, how dark IS this children’s book of yours?” Not so much dark as……trying something new….and hoping it also inspires for 200 years.

So, if you’re a bibliophile, head on out (wait….21st century….) DOWNLOAD a copy of some of the best gothic literature written, or see the film, or write a little ditty of your own.

I’ll be uploading the first three chapters of my children’s book later this evening. For all you knitters out there, I think you’ll get a kick out of who the villains in the story are.

And on another note, I’m nearly finished paying the tax man. I’m at nearly $3,000. Yes, yes, yes…..Because of you, THAT dilemma won’t last 200 years.

Media Blackout (With Silence and Grace)

With all of the sadness that surrounds this whole event at Pulse, Facebook is not the best place to mourn, honor, nor remember those that perished. I was so sad to see the majority of Facebook posts move quickly into blame in the strangest of ways. It’s the NRA’s fault for allowing assault rifles to be made, the fault of Congress for not having stricter gun laws, Republicans to blame for not passing those laws; Christians for pushing their racist hatred of Islam, liberals for wanting to take away our rights, liberals for being so politically correct that they can’t see the truth behind what happened. Conservatives call it a terrorist attack; liberals call it a mass shooting. And watching all these Facebook feeds you begin to see this blistering burn of lines drawn, blame thrown, arguments rising, friendships “unfriended,” and cowardly statements made in defense of a man that killed 49 people…so far.

That’s not how you grieve. And I know we’re all collectively going through the stages of denial, blame, anger, etc, but I need to grieve properly, without the poison of politics and opinion denying those victims their right to be remembered with grace and silence. So, Phillip and I are going into full media blackout. No television, no radio, no news feeds, no Facebook posts. We are withdrawing from the nonsense so we can focus on the people that were taken from us. We’re going to read books, play cribbage, play croquet, watch old movies, light a candle, offer our condolences, and allow those poor souls the respect they deserve in their passing. And I will pray. As I cook dinner, as I grab a new skein of yarn, as I stare into the bright sunlight beaming forcefully through these windows, I’ll pray that collectively, and very soon, our hearts will finally remember to embrace the simple blessings bestowed upon us daily, that good graces will drown out the shouting with humble silence; that we retain a little more decorum in such dark days.

So many of them were young, adorable, fully enjoying the pulsing rhythm of vibrant life. The best that we can offer them is to remember them, and not use them as anecdotal proof of our disgusting need to advance political agendas and declare our opinions on the matter sacred.

So! I need to get back to my knitting, my two books I’m working on, and reverence that needs to be shown to 49 beautiful lives. I want to be creative considering those 49 and not the rest of us.

See you on the 16th of June.

 

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A Very Heartbroken Orlando

I doubt that I have to explain what has happened in Orlando over the last 48 hours. With the shooting death of Christina Grimmie at the Plaza Live on Friday Night, then the mass murdering of 59 people at Pulse night club last night, I woke this Sunday morning feeling devastated. The most I could muster to say on my Facebook page was “What the hell happened to my town???”

I’ve had this ache behind my brow all day, the sort you feel where you feel tears beginning to form, and you want to bawl and let it all go, but you can’t because you’re just so angry. And yes, I will confess this is the angriest I can ever recall being.

Lake-Eola-ParkI’ve always considered Orlando my home town. Since 1992, I’ve left for stints, but always returned. It’s a welcoming town, the weather is great, it has a lush, green environment, and it’s citizens are some of the most demographically diverse you could ever find. I’m not sure what the rest of the world has to figure out, but we seem to all get along rather well. For some reason, diversity works very well in Orlando. Maybe it’s all the pockets of neighborhoods where different citizens keep their cultures alive and maintained with their own unique traditions. They don’t IMPOSE them on others, they just keep their traditions vibrant by allowing others to come and enjoy them. Not to mention, when some of the rest of the country has dipped into darker debts, our little city has seemed to remain prosperous, without being expensive. And yes, it is a small city, boasting only 250,000 residents.

When I woke this morning at 5am, the whole ordeal had just begun. I was immediately heartbroken. But, as the day progressed, I got angrier and angrier. By mid day I was at Publix and the same cashiers I see everyday looked as morose as I. As a matter of fact, it seemed everyone in the supermarket had a personal quiet about them. When the cashier asked me how I was today, I could only reply in that ready to cracke voice of someone on the verge of a fit, “It’s a crappy day in Orlando.” To which she replied sullenly with, “I know….”

I’m angry because someone did this to my hometown. Someone did this to our little city; excuse me, but an ideology did this to our simple, humble, happy way of life. I’m angry someone disrespected our unusual ability to mesh. Angry that “the happiest place on Earth,” was turned into the most hellish scene imaginable. Angry because we as a people of Orlando were forced into this duality of ideologies forced upon us with violence. Angry because my own president would not call it an act of Islamic terrorism. Angry that even the leaders over at the LGBTQXFDGRY  Center (or whatever they want to call it) demanded in a press conference that we force our attentions to “gun violence” rather than the obvious truth of an ideological violence that political correctness has kept us from truthfully combating on a social level. Angry that every group associated with the gay community (from the Human Rights Campaign to the Zebra Coalition) has made this an attack on “gay rights,” when we know it is not. This was not an attack on the gay community, it was an attack on our city as a whole, the one place where people from all over the world come on a daily basis to enjoy. This was an attack on our way of life, our answer to the frustrations and battles people face all over the globe. This is was an attack on our gift to the world: a place where you could come and enjoy yourself, lay by the pool, sip a cocktail, and enjoy cultures from all over the world.

And I’m angry that this version of a cultural utopia we have branded for ourselves will be harmed the more we forget who did this to us. They have a name, they have an identity, and they have a mission. Angry I’m not allowed to say who they are for fear of political, social, cultural retaliation. Angry I’ll be called a bigot, a racist, if I declare who did this and why….and that pattern is no longer suspicious but suspect to serious investigation.

So, I’ve lit a prayer candle, for that’s all I can do for the moment. But, I can’t cry just yet. I’m still too angry.

Too Swift To Swat

When you put yourself into the public sphere, you’re likely to get a lot of comments from all across the spectrum of insult and praise. But, you have to expect that. You have to layer yourself with a certain amount of resilience; you cannot hold your pride, your hard work, and your creativity at the demands of others and what they want of you. If you’re going to be an artist in the modern world, you have to expect that people will not like you. As a matter of fact, they will move their days purposely to find a way to irk, rile, and stab at you with little gashes like a tiny little gnat that is too swift to swat.

There is a reason I surround myself with good people. If you bathe yourself in the harsh opinions of others, you’re likely to walk away just as dreary.

Do your best to hang on to those that truly appreciate your craft, your work. And those that don’t? Give it no mind. Pay no attention to it. Don’t spend moments thinking of a response, and don’t spend a sentence on a rebuttal. Give your time, and give your best, to those that appreciate your work.

Life will show you some greater things when you dismiss unnecessary negativity. Don’t get me wrong, bad things happen in life, and those things you can never ignore. But, social media criticism isn’t in the same league. It’s trite, not worth your time.

Be inspired by those you surround yourself, even in social media terms. Be inspired by the better comments you get, not the ones that have you staring at the screen either sad, or angry. Those people don’t want you to succeed. For whatever reason they have, they want to make sure you don’t succeed. However, they don’t succeed if you ignore them, and you empower yourself with greater influence.

I am blessed with a greater collective of kind and generous people who want to make sure I succeed. And if I get the chance to inspire in turn, then I’m a blessed man. I’m thankful that the world I have is saturated with good people. All of you. Every single one of you.