Tenters & Zucchini & Reasons to Shop for Books This Afternoon

This morning I went to start the blog with the phrase “waiting on tenterhooks,” which is one of those expressions that’s been around for a while without me ever really understanding where it actually came from.

And so there was google, and this rather succinct discussion of the phrase where I discovered the tenterhook was a series of hooks on a wooden frame used in  making woolen cloth, specifically in the bit where the  freshly woven  fabric was stretched out to dry after being cleaned in a fulling mill. The tenter was the frame and the hooks went around the outside, and it had the side-effect of straightening the weave.

We’re not much with the tenters these days, but I found myself looking at the description and though, well, yes, life feels exactly like that at the moment. There have been doings and goings-on in regards to dayjobbery and we have hit the bit where I wait, quietly, filling in the hours with distractions so I don’t over-focus and be disappointed if things that may happen do not, in the end, happen.


Last night there was writing. Bits of Flotsam 6, bits of the other short story about faeries in paddle-steamers that in that state where I’m rewriting and bridging together disparate ideas, and bits of other things as well.

As distractions go, writing is a good one, although I’m starting to get that itchy-despairing-feeling that comes from being in the middle of lots of things without really getting things finished.

Say Zucchini, and Mean It went live over on the Daily SF site, for those who may be interested in reading the story but aren’t particularly interested in subscribing. There’s been a surprising number of people who’ve emailed or tweeted to let me know they zucchini the story, which is one of those things I hadn’t really expected when I sent the story out, but is really very cool.

The last time this sort of thing happened, it largely involved unicorns. Honestly, I could probably handle being the zucchini guy for a bit.


Apparently there is a new Michael Cunningham novel out. I foresee a trip to the bookstore this afternoon. Quite possibly by train, so I can finish reading the Laura van den Berg collection on the way, given that I’ve managed to devour all but the final story in the space of two evenings.

What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us remains a phenomenal collection of short fiction. The kind I feel the need to foist upon people with enthusiastic burbling and enthusiastic recommendations. It is precise and lovely and understands how to make a collection a unified thing, rather than a series of short stories packed together between a common cover.

It makes, I think, the whole a much more precious  thing than the sum of its parts.


  2 comments for “Tenters & Zucchini & Reasons to Shop for Books This Afternoon

  1. Sarah Lee Parker
    25/05/2011 at 11:08 PM

    We do also have (on a smaller scale) blocking, which is where you dampen a crocheted or knitted fabric, and then pin it out flat so it is stretched in certains ways. It is either damped before laying out, and then an iron with a teatowel over the base is used to dry it out, or else you can use a spray bottle to dampen, and then leave to dry (or use the iron if you're in a hurry.)

    I was reading about it a lot yesterday. The difference in a blocked fabric is amazing. It really opens up the crochet.


    Just thought I would share!

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