Tuesday, February 5, 2008

On Dr. Perri Klass

Dr. Perri Klass is the award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction works. She is a graduate of my alma mater, Harvard University, and is a practicing pediatrician. She is currently the medical director of the national literacy program Reach Out and Read, dedicated to promoting literacy as part of pediatric primary care [ in which my lovely neighbor is involved...she is ironically also a knitter!!]. She is the author of more than four wonderful books: Love and Modern Medicine: Stories, Two Sweaters for my Father, Every Mother is a Daughter: The Never Ending Quest for Success, Inner Peace, and a Really Clean Kitchen, and Quirky Kids: Understanding and Helping your Child who Doesn't Fit in - When to Worry and When not to Worry. She is a pediatrician, and an AVID knitter.
My mother started my "passion for purls" with an article by Dr. Klass entitled, "A Passion for Purls." So influential was this essay, that I thought I would share an excerpt with you...

"...I know that when I am knitting I am OK and that when I am not knitting, I am probably not quite so OK. But why? What does knitting bring to my life? Why do I need it so? What do I pick up along with the stitches? Certainly I don't knit to provide my family with cheaper sweaters- we all know that this is no way to save money. And I don't knit to prove my own feminine skills or even to avoid the dangers of idle hands. I'm too far gone for any of that - neither thrifty nor particularly skilled in the womanly arts, nor even desperately eager to be thought so.
"No. As any knitter will tell you, knitting is more than a hobby. It's an addiction of the mind, an addiction of the spirit, even an addiction of the fingers...But let's talk about the spiritual addiction. Knitting brings something into my life that I might also get - but generally don't - from great music, religion, or the contemplation of majestic natural beauty. When I knit, my soul is calmed and sometimes exalted. But it's an everyday exaltation, a calm domestic tranquility, easily transported from place to place in a cloth bag. That is, I suspect, what makes it traditional women's work - a source of serenity involving no heroics, no great outlay for equipment, and carefully connected to all that is most useful and most motherly...Knitting for me is peace and comfort, a steady rhythm that underlies the rest of daily life like a heartbeat."

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