Monday, July 20, 2020

Helen will be here any moment to carry Archie off, and life returns to something like normal. We got out today and made a circuit of the garden, me using two sticks (which works rather well).

And knitting is back to something like normal, too – meaning three or perhaps even four of those enormous rows on the Stillness Shawl. I sort of feel that if I’m not ready for the fifth and final clue on Thursday, the whole thing will be doomed to FO-dom.

Marilyn sent me these pictures of her Stillness (and said I could show them to you):

The yarn is silk, and I think the result is far more beautiful than mine. I was surprised to see the colour-first-used reappear in the band that both she and I are currently at work on. I’m not going to think about it now: has she made a bold, and thoroughly successful, design change? Or have I got it wrong? I was disappointed that the colour-first-used (in my case, red) didn’t reappear in Clue Four.


I think someone needs to compile a reading list For These Trying Times. I’m doing fine with my minor Trollope, “Ralph the Heir”. I need to lay all of Trollope out in chronological order of composition and see where my gaps are.

Mary Lou, my mother taught English at Douglass College in NJ for a while. She had a black student once who surprised her by supposing that Huckleberry Finn was black. Why not? It’s rather touching, and a credit to Twain.


  1. =Tamar6:37 PM

    I've seen that idea about Huckleberry Finn somewhere else. It would change the story in many important ways. All too often it goes the other way, and a black character is assumed to be white. The imprint of seeing mainly white characters in films and TV is hard to overcome, especially when characters written as black are filmed as white. (Ursula K. LeGuin was furious about that.) I've read that some editors even told authors to change a black character to white! Some authors got around that with subtle writing, but then the reader has to be very alert.

  2. There’s a wonderful book by Jon Clinch called Finn. It’s the story of Huckleberry’s father’s life. Huck’s mother is black in this version. I recommend the book highly; it starts with a wonderful description of the river, so much a part of every character’s life in Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Finn.

  3. Jean, after careful examination of Marilyn's pictures, I don't think the clue 4 color is the one she began with. If you look closely at clue 4 and at the stripes, I think clue 4 is a variegated, slightly bluish color, not the beige of earlier. Maybe Marilyn will be along soon to tell us we are both wrong. :)

  4. KayT is correct clue 4 is a variegated yarn. However, I did use two rows of the first color (cream) to create more contrast between clue 3 and 4.

  5. A reading list for times like these? I'm going with escapism, re-reading Jane Austen. I would also suggest Arthur Ransome. Certainly nothing with "plague" or "Death" in the title. "Eleanor Oliphant is Absolutely Fine" is a kind of celebration of homely values. "Where the Crawdads Sing" was unexpected but kept the attention. What do others suggest?

    1. I was surprised at how diverting A Gentleman in Moscow was and how diverting. What do people think about revisiting Barbara Pym? I loved her novels when I first read them but wonder how they'd play now.

    2. Just purchased the actual paperback book version of A Gentleman in Moscow - looking forward to what many have told me will be an excellent read.
      Re: Huck Finn - slapping my forehead - of course it makes so much sense that he was either biracial or very poor white. He was portrayed as white in the movie Tom Sawyer from the 1930s and, by George, that imprint has indeed stayed with me. Thinking of the brilliant, survivor, Huck as other than caucasian is a delight. Thank you for that.

  6. Such interesting bits about Huck Finn. I'll have to look for that book, Cam. And yes, a These Trying Times Reading List sounds good. I enjoyed Elinor Oliphant!

  7. I studied Huck Finn at school and we actually discussed that possibility - and how it might influence our understanding of the book

  8. Anonymous10:26 AM

    How I wish I could run down to the local library and check out both Tom Sawyer and Huck
    Eberry Finn right now. Doing it electronically makes it so much work. Chloe

  9. Anonymous10:26 AM

    Sorry that was Huckleberry, for f course.