Thursday, October 12, 2006

Second Acts

Remember Karen Allen, Indiana Jones’ female sidekick in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Whatever happened to her anyway?

According to People Magazine (my source of all celebrity-related information), she became a knitter (see photo). Like so many actresses, as she aged Allen had a hard time getting good roles so she reinvented herself. She went to the Fashion Institute of Technology and rediscovered her passion for knitting. Now she sells her Karen Allen Fiber Arts creations to folks like Blythe Danner and Kate Capshaw, as well as anyone else who can afford a $350 sweater or $1,200 cashmere blanket. Allen knits on a Japanese machine and says, “I paint with yarns.” Her designs are indeed quite painterly and beautiful as you can see in the photo (hopefully. If not, check out her website

Her second act got me to thinking about how lucky we are as writers. Unless we scrupulously update our cover photos, no one ever knows exactly what our age is. And as long as we keep writing great stories, no one cares. How many professions offer the same longevity?

The next time I start to whine about short deadlines or picky copy editors, I’m going to remind myself that at least I will get to whine about these things for as long as I can type without having to worry about liposuction or facelifts or being cast as the great-grandmother when I’m only 45!

Has anyone else here reinvented herself?

(Notice how I avoided talking about my failure as a sock knitter for the entire blog entry? Pretty clever, eh?)


Blogger loribird said...

You are not a failed sock knitter, it just isn't the time for you and socks to meet fortuitously...
Thanks for giving my inner aspiring writer another reason to get her stuff together!

11:29 PM  
Blogger georg said...

I used to be a copyeditor for a newspaper. Then I could no longer breathe in the building, developing multiple chemical sensitivities. I tried to work for a while as tech writer, but I had trouble coping with things as simple as my co-worker's perfumes. Now I'm enjoying the exciting life of working at home as a medical transcriptionist, mainly for the joy of safely working from home. And yes, that exciting was sarcasm. I'd love to be a writer, but that means you have to *finish* writing something, and that I haven't done. :) Odd because I can make a king size quilt or knit an afghan when I'm determined to do so...

7:33 AM  
Blogger kshotz said...

I'm currently in the process of reinventing myself! I was a Lutheran pastor in one church for 13 years. Finally the stresses really got to me (you'd think the 2 blood-pressure meds I had to go on would've been a clue!) so I've been on leave from call for the past 11 months since I resigned last November.

In the meantime I finished up photography school through The New York Institute of Photography and started out with a couple freelance sales to national restaurants. Now I'm shooting for the local paper on special projects and doing some writing for them as well.

Oh yeah, and I got back into knitting after many years away too! Discovered the joy of knit socks and haven't looked back!

8:14 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Loribird, you make me feel so much better about being a Sock Grouch. Someday my sock will come, eh?

Georg, I have a friend who has terrible allergies to perfume and detergents and all sorts of things one never even thinks about so I hear you on that. She can't even stay in a hotel room. That must be a very tough thing to live with.

Finishing the writing isn't so hard. Just tell yourself that writing "The End" is the biggest thrill on earth and you want to experience it. Or you can try simply writing a certain number of pages each week until you reach "The End". Then it doesn't seem so overwhelming. (Some people set daily page goals but my days never work out that way; I find weekly goals are more realistic.)

Kshotz, wow, you had an interesting "first life" and it sounds like your second one is even better--and artistically satisfying. Best of luck with building your photographic clientele!

So how many sock knitters here are also writers?

12:01 PM  
Blogger georg said...

Last time I slept in a hotel, I did it on the window sill. Yeah. I'm that bad and it is hard to cope with, but I manage. It beats the alternative. :)

I try to write for a short time every day. Even if it's not on the same piece. The joy of writing for its own sake. :) If I did indeed always write on the same piece, it would be finished.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Georg, the joy of writing for its own sake is something we all need to remember and rediscover. Thank you for the reminder that this is why we are writers and everything else should be secondary.

12:58 PM  
Blogger kshotz said...

Does daily journaling count? (besides the work for the paper...)
And're right! My family have all noticed a huge change in a weight lifted off and the creative part is THE best!

1:53 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Not only does daily journaling count but so does writing for the paper! I admire people who journal regularly. I always feel as though I should but never seem able to do so. I'm probably losing a lot of really good source material for my books.

4:17 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

georg - I have chemical sensitivities, too, and it certainly can be a life-altering issue. Smart of you to write for the joy, and that's reason enough to call yourself a writer. A writer writes. There's no rule that requires you to finish, though Nancy's certainly right about the joy to be found there.

kshotz - two interesting careers...though I wouldn't call it reinventing yourself so much as shifting your focus to other aspects of the you that you've always been.

The term 'reinventing' bothers me in terms of women moving on to new careers and/or lifestyles because it implies that we invented a personna the first time. Though I have to admit there's a certain allure in the idea of re-inventing myself and becoming a whole new, better me. (Can I have skinny thighs and good clothing sense this time?)

11:31 PM  

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