Riding The Rapids

So this one time when I was a teenager, our family went whitewater rafting on the Vilcanota River. And actually, there’s a few really good stories about that trip, but I’m going to save them for later, because the thing I was really just thinking about was a principle that our river guide told us when we were getting started. “The way you maneuver in the rapids,” he said, “is to be going just slightly faster than the water. So long as you’re just ahead, you can steer and you’re in control. If you’re going the same speed, then the river’s just going to take you and slam you into rocks or throw you up on the banks or who knows what. But if you can paddle so you’re just a bit faster, and you learn the tricks you need to know, you can go wherever you want, even when the river is crazy.”

It sounds nuts, on the one hand — you’re in the middle of a raging river, with all this fast rushing water and stuff, and there are obstacles everywhere, and what you have to do is… speed up? Seriously?

But it’s true. And there was actually this amazing sense of calm in the middle of all that chaos, a deep empowerment that comes from taking on a rushing river and being the boss of your direction instead of just a piece of flotsam. And lately, I feel like this is how my life is going: everything’s rushing and swirling in roaring torrents, but if I can just remember to keep paddling and stay just a smidgen faster than the water, I can steer and it’ll all work out great. It’s even a thrilling ride.

It’s been a heck of a year! I mean, there’s the book, for one thing. That was a huge labour of love, not just for me but for everyone who worked on it and everyone who pitched in to help make it happen. And it’s REAL.


But apparently, I couldn’t slow down enough to do more than take a hurried cameraphone snapshot. I’d love to do it now, but I’m also getting ready to dash off to SOAR, so… it’ll have to wait. I may be just ahead of the rushing water but I’ve got to remember to deal with the things in my path in a sensible, “what’s right here” kinda way. But indeed, the book is real. I have a real live advance copy of it, and in just a few scant weeks, it’ll be in stores, and I’ll be getting ready to ship all the signed copies you’ve all been preordering for the past few months. And I am staggered: right this minute, just as I’m getting ready to close preorders so I can get the whole lot of ’em in and figured out right after SOAR, 252 of you have preordered. Seriously. I’m floored. And grateful to you all. I’ve been having a great time for the past several months, setting aside little goodies and prizes to draw at random for folks who bought this direct from me, and those will all be going out with your books — just wait and see, 1 in 10 of you will be getting a little something extra with your books when they ship mid-November.

And then there’s the DVD! It’s just arriving in people’s hands right now. I can hardly believe it. I can’t wait to hear what people think — I’m pretty pleased with how it came out, and looking forward to the next one. You heard me, the next one!

And teaching! There’ve been some great classes in the past few months, and I’m about to go enjoy a really exciting week teaching lots of people to make batts. Oh lord, batts? You wanna talk about batts? I just did the math, and I’ve shipped 1165 batts in the past 3 months. That doesn’t include the ones I kept or the ones for prizes and giveaways — just the ones shipped to my loyal retailers.

And the web site redesign! I’m really thrilled, and enjoying hearing all your feedback. Thank you all so much, and keep it coming!

And this is the risk in slowing down, I think: it might give a girl time to think. And if I thought too hard about what’s just behind me on this wild ride, I might miss what’s in front, or fail to steer, or… who knows? Surely, somewhere up ahead here in a ways, there’s a nice spot to haul off the river for a few and maybe have a picnic. But I’m not there yet. Hopefully I’ll recognize it… and hopefully, I packed a lunch. With a beer in it.

21 thoughts on “Riding The Rapids

  1. Abby, Congratulations on all of your accomplishments in this past year and the many more to come

  2. I apsinnerated my mom recently, and she was having a hard time and getting all frustrated, so I sent your your post on “Beginner’s Mind.” She loved it, and it helped. This is good too – it’s what I need to remember when I sit down at the CPW. But srsly, over 1100 batts?! That’s insane, Lady! Even if I did scoop up a few…Congrats on all of the wondrous things going on, and go make more wonder at SOAR.

  3. Congrats Abby! How lovely. I am waiting on my DVD and am excited to get it…yay! Thanks for all that you do 🙂

  4. Congratulations on the accomplishments of the last year! And the river analogy is apt. Having been on a raging river in a tiny boat, you really do have to just keep going faster or you’ll mostly just spin around, and then capsize.

  5. That’s awesome Abby. I have two of those 1165 batts in my fiber stash!

  6. The book looks beautiful. How thrilling to see it in print! There’s something to be said for rushing ahead but don’t forget to make that stop for lunch. Good things are all around you.

  7. Woo Hoo! Congratulations Abby! Keep paddling…. lunch is around the corner. 🙂

  8. What a ride! great job and keep flying! I can’t wait for your book! spinning is a whole new world!

  9. Wow, what a journey! You must be so proud (and exhausted). And nuts!! I preordered mine on Amazon – no treat for me…

  10. … make that 253 pre-orders 🙂

    Kepp going, Abby!
    I am so looking forward to getting your book (and maybe one day one of your batts, but it’s difficult over here in Germany 😉

    yasmin (justsocks on ravelry)

  11. I truly loved that white water rafting analogy! Congrats on your success – you’ve earned it! Can’t wait for my book and am hoping to snag the dvd at SOAR – looking forward to meeting you!

  12. Abby, I’ve watched the DVD 2 times already (and I just got it day before yesterday). What fun to spin with you again. We’ll have to share a beer or two next time we’re together…and I haven’t forgotten that I owe you nuts!

  13. Howdy Abby, just got the DVD yesterday and I watched it with Adrienne from A Verb for Keeping Warm. You have serious mojo with the camera and presentation. CONGRATULATIONS on a fabulous work!!!

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