Words and Wool, Thank You!

I can’t thank you all enough for the supportive comments about my last post. Truly kind and inspiring to read so many heartfelt messages. And then I saw this one: “I would never call it a beg-athon. You are an entrepreneur. Words and wool. Nothing wrong with that. Go on, make your dreams come true. Just like they are intended.” 

That has been this journey from the onset. Words and wool. Dang, I wish I had worded that myself 🙂 Good job, riselikeair! THAT was it! And then what Judy reminded me of: “Look where you are compared to past years – you’re in love, your business is cooking along, you have a sweet little space and your fur-buddies – you’re winning.❤”

Yes, of course! Look how far we’ve come since the beginning of this blog!

Do you remember when I sold my first bear? Never heard the story? Well, gather ’round, get comfortable, grab a beverage and I’ll tell you all about it…..

I was living alone in the woods, patiently waiting for the man I was dating to rescue me. I had no where to live, no job, no car, the closest town was 2o miles away. What’s even more appalling is that I don’t even think I had hope in those days. Weird, isn’t it? It’s amazing in hindsight to see how foolish one can be. That’s because I was vacant in the soul, terrified of how life had turned sour, unable to figure out what to do. My fella promised he would come and fetch me at some point. He was going to work hard in the city, find a small apartment, then come get me.

Now, for the first month I was out in the woods, my only communication with the outside world was written correspondence. That’s right, old fashioned letter writing. The little plot of land I was on was far too remote for cell phones, televisions….people. The only two radio stations I could scramble were Salsa Music and Talk Radio. (Thank GOD for that!) Every day I’d walk a quarter of a mile to a little mail box to see if I’d received any mail, a little note, a card….I beamed on the days I actually got one. I had pen and paper and a book of stamps so I was always writing people letters.

You see that? That was my first attempt at blogging….
ADSCF2692fter that long month ended, my mother offered some assistance. She was going to have a phone line put in the little trailer I was staying in, so I could have some way of connecting to the world in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, my time out there was spent doing a lot of writing, and I was itching to knit again. I was going to make my man a gift for when he arrived to get me. So she offered to buy me some yarn. With the phone line put in, I also made it of better use and had myself connected to the internet. And oh, what a wonderful new world that was. Life was getting better, I told myself. I could be connected again to the world. Next up, was the issue of knitting said lover a gift for when he was going to arrive. He was due Valentine’s Day. I told myself that form hence forth Valentine’s Day would be different. That was going to be the day I escaped from the woods, was rescued, moved on to a better life. So, I knit him a teddy bear to hold when he couldn’t hold me. For any reason he and I couldn’t be together again, he would have a teddy bear to hold instead of me.

You know how these stories go, don’t you….

A few days before Valentine’s Day he called to say that he wasn’t coming. “It’s complicated,” he kept saying. And then, “You were only supposed to be a summer romance….”

Some part of my face shifted right about the same time my soul hardened. The stoic lines of a man who never smiles creased to form the piercing power of absolute anger.

I hung up on him, never said another word. I quietly walked around that little trailer, calmly grabbed what I could find of his that I had with me, walked out to the burn pit, threw all of it in and set the shit on fire.

No one was going to come get me. No car. No money. A bag of grits was all I had to eat.

I was pissed.

As the fire steadily waned I knew I wasn’t finished purging. I then went through my things to torch whatever I had that he had given me. With a nonchalant toss, it was also thrown on the fire. Then I grabbed that teddy bear I had made for him, stood beside the burn pit, and was ready with a quick flick of the wrist to throw it to the flames. But, just a second before the teddy bear left my grip I caught a glimpse of that little bears face. Something about his face made me pause. It looked so sad, so eager to be loved. He looked ready to defend, but powerless without hope. He looked strong, but beaten up. He looked so lost. So in need of love. He looked…..like me.

I pulled him to my chest, held him, turned my back to the fire, fell to my knees and cried my eyes out.

I was now alone in the woods. Truly alone. Do you have any idea what that feeling is like? This is where my life had left me: alone in the woods with no way to support himself. Hungry. Cold. Angry. No one wanted me. The world had rejected us. Mario and I both kept constant vigil over the wooded land. Sometimes hoping someone would show up surprisingly out of nowhere….but no longer trusting them if they did. We both had sharp eyes toward the horizon. We were mad at the world.

dscf2729Pack dogs surrounded our little trailer one day, gnashing and gnawing and trying to get in. Mario threw herself at the screen window, hissing, flailing, and screaming. Finally, the screen gave way  and she fell out. She slit the throat of one dog with her claw, sliced at just the right spot to cause him to bleed out, then took the eye out of another with a quick swat. As she did this, the dogs were distracted and I raced out the trailer, grabbed a log and began hitting the other dogs until they retreated.

Mario and I fell back into the trailer without wound, the dogs leaving trails of blood and the carcass of one of their own left behind. She crawled into my lap….and I just stared at the thick woods, the burn pit smoldering for our heat and food, and I accepted that this was now going to be our lives.

Valentine’s came and went. In the course of the following days one switch in me was turned off, and another was brilliantly lit. I was running out of grits. At one point I had about 75 cents, and with Mario out of food, I walked three miles to a little general store in the middle of nowhere to buy her something to eat.

Life was going to be different now. This is what it had amounted to. And I knew I was the only person, the only soul, the only force that could get us out of there. As E.M. Forster said, “The only cause for action is want.”

I went scouring through the internet to look for some way (outside of porn, thank you) to make money. I came across Etsy. The only thing I had to sell was that little teddy bear. I listed him, sold him within 30 minutes and was no longer a victim of circumstance. I was now a survivor. I fed myself that night. Mario and I curled up on this aged, old smelly cot and watched “The Golden Girls” online. I had a sandwich, she had some real cat food, and we were the happiest creatures alive. Because we now had hope that we could survive. This was the start of how a man could learn to use knitting to save himself….

I’ve lived off that hope since then. It fuels me. It’s not just that I was able to sell a teddy bear to get money for food….I had changed. I had become resilient. I had recognized that I could, I WOULD, I CAN survive.

And look now how far we’ve come. Wow. Really think about how far we’ve come. From that to this, this beauty, this hope.  We have a long way to go still….but, look at where hope and survival will lead you. Such a wonderful journey this is.

I love waking every morning and seeing a new bear’s face. He looks redolent and alive. He looks ready to take on the challenges of the world. He looks ready to face adversity and deal with dilemma. He looks proud. He looks steadfast and full of love ready to give. He looks…..like me.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every single bit helps.





  1. It’s called maturity – that moment when we see ourselves clearly, relative to past history, present circumstances, future dreams. And it’s necessarily a solitary process, albeit with encouragement from people who care. I’m proud of you, and happy for the life you’re building. Keep moving forward, you’re figuring it out. ❤

  2. Wow, you have one tough little Kittie cat!! Good on you for not giving in or giving up…we aren’t fully actualized humans until we learn to find for ourselves so we can care for others…you’ve come a long way but the strength was always there…

  3. Begging is asking for something while giving nothing in return. You give us your inner most feelings and your story of survival. I am enjoying your book “Mad Man Knitting”. Are you taking orders for bears?

  4. Your words are always so inspirational. Life can be a real challenge and throw us some real tests but it’s how we tackle them that makes all the difference. You are not a beggar, you are selling a product, like most of us who work for ourselves do. Keep going, tomorrow is another day.

  5. Anyone who has a problem with you is welcome to walk right on, no need to comment…

    By the way, have you thought about creating a Patreon account? Some ideas for ‘rewards’ are: access to private blog posts, videos, tutorials on how to make your bears, discount codes for your books / patterns, a virtual knit night, etc. This way, you can have an idea of a (mostly) set amount of money that you will earn each month, and people can choose to pay a set amount each month.

    Just an idea – a few bloggers that I follow do this.

  6. Thank you for reliving The Beginning for those of us who hadn’t heard it. What a wonderful, inspiring, vulnerable and gutsy story.

    I’m curious about that first teddy’s journey since he left you. Any chance of unearthing it? You spared his life out of compassion and love. Perhaps he has touched someone with the love you saw in him. I love your writing, your story and your heart. Simply beautiful.

    PS Would you reconsider publishing your book as an ebook? Perhaps increasing income for ‘your own little home’ dream…? I doubt there’s anyone amongst us who doesn’t want to see you and your beloveds in such a place. [Confess ulterior motive as well: I’ve been itinerant since 2011 and only ‘carry’ ebooks these days. I would otherwise love to buy the hard copy.]

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