Shipmates! I like saying that, since I’m reading/listening to Moby Dick, the great unread american novel. A personal project of mine for the past year or so has been listening to audiobooks of classics that I’ve never gotten around to reading. Gulliver’s Travels, Our Mutual Friend, The Woman in White, a bunch of Trollope, the sort of books that are too big to haul around. Many of these books were published in serial form, so listening to a chapter as I walk home, or head and tail green beans for freezing, (or knit, of course) works wonderfully well. I also can get them free for my Kindle, so I can alternate between reading and listening as the mood takes me.
The mood has taken me to the sea lately. This is timely, and linked to knitting, because I received a little kit to make a teany hat on behalf of the Seamen’s Church Institute 1200 Hats project.
Most knitters know about the Seaman’s Scarf, but may not be aware that the pattern originated with the Christmas at Sea program of the Seaman’s Church Institute. The 1200 Hats project is aimed at raising awareness of the continued role of merchant seaman in commerce, and therefore our daily lives. The nice part? These really are teeny weeny hats that take 12 yards of yarn and almost no time at all to knit. The hats will be put on bottles of tea in Starbucks in northern NJ and NY where so many sailors work. If you are in the Twin Cities and want to make a hat, bring it into the Yarnery and I’ll mail them all by the end of October. I’ve asked them to send me more tags, so you can put one on your hat, too.
One more really timely item: just yesterday, I discovered that there is a project to make Moby Dick more widely read, The Moby Dick Big Read. Various actors and visual artists have donated their time and talents:
‘I have written a blasphemous book’, said Melville when his novel was first published in 1851, ‘and I feel as spotless as the lamb’. Deeply subversive, in almost every way imaginable, Moby-Dick is a virtual, alternative bible – and as such, ripe for reinterpretation in this new world of new media. Out of Dominion was born its bastard child – or perhaps its immaculate conception – the Moby-Dick Big Read: an online version of Melville’s magisterial tome: each of its 135 chapters read out aloud, by a mixture of the celebrated and the unknown, to be broadcast online in a sequence of 135 downloads, publicly and freely accessible.
So check it out, shipmates. Chapter One is read by Tilda Swinton, a big favorite in our house. I’m off to listen again, as she tells of how the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open…