An Abstraction on the Sweater


This is the kind of cold that floats up in a cloud, stays, and grows, the kind of gray that bends into trees and strips them like fingers running down. I feel it coming, the pressure, the turn before winter down.

There’s a sweater in my closet. I saw them make it where they live it. On Inishere in the Aran Islands, in one hand two hooves, he took a sheep to its side and sheered a mound of wool. It was cleaned, dyed, and spun under thatch, and then a woman lit peat on the rocks, fire licking the salt from the air of her home. She wrapped herself and then she rocked in her chair, magic hands.

This wool still whispers Gaelige, first tongue, wool warm and thick as breath. I’ll wear the cabled sweater, chains just for a season.


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As I consider a writer’s voice, I wonder how it is for you. If we all have one, I wonder about other things, other things that most of us have. Like your sweater, for example. If voice is cadence and music and space, how you write out the matter in your life and the meaning it gives, what about your sweater? It’s certainly different than mine. So how is it for you?  —  On Mondays I write out spirit by practicing a little with the concrete things in my life and maybe in a fictional life. If you want to mess around with these little prompts, send your readers this way, and link up below at any point this week. Practice writing, the craft; share it with us. Next week’s topic is on The FROST. Make sure to use #concretewords on twitter. Thank you always for coming here anne walking with me.

There’s a freedom I hear about that I just don’t always recognize in my life. I long to be free so much that maybe I’ve built a habit of feigning it. Would like to join me in exploring this path to true freedom? Follow along on Facebook or subscribe to these posts by email or in a reader.  Are you ready to shirk your chains? 

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14 Comments

the Blah Blah Blahger
Reply November 5, 2012

Sounds AMAZING!!! I love having things in my closet that evoke memories!!!

Elizabeth
Reply November 5, 2012

Girl, again and again you amaze me with your wordweaving. HMMM good. Love it so.

Margaret
Reply November 5, 2012

I've been adding things to my closet of late, but I'm sure I have things that also evoke memories!

sonika
Reply November 6, 2012

Hi there. I clicked over from Emily Freeman's site, and was pleasantly surprised to see all of your references to Ireland. (Are you from here?) I'm actually studying abroad in Galway at the moment, and have spent some quality time at Inis Mor. Gotta love those Aran sweaters...and now that you've reminded me, I might buy one before I go home (to New York).

Your writing is musical - thank you for being so observant, and sharing those heart-words here. Slainte, friend ;)

Kim
Reply November 6, 2012

You say with so few words what I could not with many, many more. Beautiful...love the fingers of cold stripping the trees.

Sarah
Reply November 6, 2012

Can I just tell you how beautiful this was!?!
Gorgeous words.

Annie Barnett
Reply November 7, 2012

Beautiful, Amber.

Ashley
Reply November 8, 2012

Amber, my husband visited this very place and bought a sweater, too, while on a college study tour of the British Isles. He called this spot one of the most magical he'd ever experienced. So to read the story of your sweater and this woman dying, spinning, lighting the peat was a gift. Thank you for your words and all you're able to say in so few.

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