It’s only (only) been a little over a month since I’ve posted. It feels like longer. How long since I posted properly? Months plural, definitely. Maybe almost six.
I’ve been pondering blogging for a while – what it is, why we do it.
Why do I blog? I started blogging without really thinking about it. I was excited about crafting, and I could sense something out there, something that I wanted. Initially I just used it to make my crafting public. As a way of logging it. But I don’t really need my blog for that anymore. I have ravelry and I have flickr, which I could use in combination to satisfy that part of it. Although I haven’t been, really, which might tell me something else, but I’ll think about that another time. Blogging is still a great way to log crafting activities, but given that I have several new FOs and WIPs that I haven’t blogged, (let alone uploaded the photos of or raveled) I don’t think that can be as high up on the list as it used to be.
It’s certainly not what’s drawn me back today.
The last month or so, I’ve considered posting. I’ve started to write posts in my head – you know, the way you do – only to be distracted. Or, instead of writing a post, I’ll end up talking to someone in my head. Instead of talking to the blog, to the internet, it’ll be a friend, a family member, myself. A different type of audience. Sometimes I even end up having those conversations with those people. (I know, right? Human interaction – totally old skool. Well, that’s just how I roll…) So I can’t say that I need my blog to provide me with validation or acknowledgement. Although it can do those things, too. But there are other, safer, less public and time-captured ways of getting that. (Like facebook, for example (sigh).)
That’s not why I’m posting today.
The real sticker for me was community. I have met some great people on this blog, and through theirs. And although I am still (sporadically) reading blogs, and occasionally commenting, it doesn’t seem the same. It’s not really a conversation. I feel like I’m cheating, like I’m standing on the sidelines heckling. Like I’m not really a part of the community. The crafty blogging community specifically, but the whole internets in general, too.
This is particularly clear to me as we come up to Bendigo Sheep and Wool festival again. Last year I had a BALL (which I didn’t really post about, did I? Rot setting in, maybe?). A big part of that was the bloggy people I met up with – specifically Jac and Sooz. My clearest and best memories of last year are of this. Sitting in Seddon Deadly Sins with Jac eating brunch (cos we’re POSH!) who is UNFAIRLY ATTRACTIVE and well put together, although she did try to set me at ease by spilling a barely noticable piece of egg on her top. And in Sooz’s kitchen with the ever charming Wil, discussing politics and motherhood, while she dyed yarn, and I tried to figure out what my fingering weight cashmere wanted to be. (I gave up and it’s still marinating in the stash.)
A friend I made last year in Bendigo
I wouldn’t have had those times without this blog, and I value them enormously. I value the deepening of my IRL friendships that it helps bring me, too. The space to talk about things that seem awkward in normal conversation, that never seem to find the right time to come up. And I was not only sad, but actually a bit scared, at the idea of losing the connection to that community – that lovely, caring, vibrant community of funny, smart, engaged men and women that, I will maintain with my last breath, is what the internet is really for, what it was meant to be like.
That is why I could never quite resolve to just give up on this whole blogging ‘thing’. But it’s not really why I’m posting now, today, finally.
I’m editing and formatting some notes for one of our counselling subjects. The bit I’m adding in, and which I’ve had to type and therefore read in its entirety (you’d be surprised all the random things I’ve learnt that way), is about learning journals. And this bit struck something in me:
In writing a journal ‘we take something from inside ourselves and we set it out: it is a means of discovering who we are, that we change and grow. The personal journal has been used for hundreds of years to articulate the human drama of living and to explore new knowledge.’ (Wolf 1989) Set something out. The literal implication of that phrase had never struck me before. And it reminded me of what I miss most about blogging. It’s an opportunity to herd your thoughts into some sort of order, to set them out, to remove them from the darkness of your own head, from the rush of a million other thoughts and feelings. To give them a place of their own where they can breathe, see the light, grow into their own, seperate thing.
Did you ever read The Secret Garden? That was one of my favourite books as a kid. And the bit I liked the best out of the whole book was when Mary first finds the garden, first gains access to it. And it’s ramshackle and half dead, but there are things growing in the dirt. And she sees some green shoots in the ground, being covered by weeds and she clears them out because, she says, they looked like they needed space to breathe.
A space to breathe
So much of my day at work is disjointed and rushed. Clear thinking is a luxury. And like all luxuries, it doesn’t come cheap. It needs me to sit down, to make time, to use energy. And sometimes that falls by the wayside. But it’s a price that is well worth paying.
I guess, once I gained a (small) audience, I forgot something. That this blog is actually for me. It’s primary purpose is as a place for my thoughts. Conside this list (also from the counselling notes)
Purposes of keeping a journal are:
To record experience
To facilitate learning from experience
To support understanding and the representation of that understanding
To develop critical thinking or the development of a questioning attitude
To encourage meta-cognition
To increase active involvement in, and ownership of, learning
To increase ability in reflection and thinking
To enhance problem solving skills
As a means of assessment in formal education
To enhance reflective practice
For reasons of personal development and self empowerment
For therapeutic purposes or as a means of supporting behaviour change
To enhance creativity
To improve writing
To improve or give ‘voice’; as a means of self expression
To foster communication; in particular reflective and creative interaction within a group
To support planning and progress in research or a project
- As a means of communication between one learner and another.
I want those things again. I want the chance to write the story of my life as it is happening. And even if I still only post once a month, I want to have that space in my head where I write blog posts. Even if only 5% make it into the blogosphere
I’ve started to get irritated with a couple of people (and one colleague specifically) who are always, always negative. Now, I know some of you willl be all ‘ummm… Kate, the kettle called. It made a racial slur’. I can be pretty negative myself. But I do try not to bog myself down in could-have-beens and not-quite-rights. I have my whinge and then get on with it (usually). Actually, compared to this colleague, I’m a sunny, happy-go-lucky personality. The same thing happened when I was in China. There’s that stereotype about Aussies being laid back, which I thought was rubbish. I conside myself fairly tightly wound. But in the office in China, I was consistently the least troubled. Things that the others would be working up into a lather about just… didn’t bother me.
This is something that I feel I got from my dad. He was remarkably untroubled my a lot of things. (Yes, I am aware of the irony in that statement.) Not that he didn’t care, as such. Just… he couldn’t see why everyone was getting so upset, so worked up, about things that are neither here nor there. It’s a part of my personality that isn’t always obvious, either. But it’s soemthing I’d like to work on more. Because there’s enough trouble to go around withough finding things to get upset over. And there are enough things that are worth getting upset about, too, without wasting breath on the littel things.
How does this relate? Well… I’m sure there was a reason. Something about blogging helping me be more conscious about the way I think about my world, and how I can make that better and easier for myself. About reclaiming this space to think and reflect and consider. Something along those lines.
I don’t really remember how that connection went. And you know what? That’s ok. I want to start using this blog more again and in the spirit of that, I am going to set the bar looooooow. In another stream-of-consciousness seg, I’ve started sewing, a bit. Nothing fancy. Just straight lines at this stage. And I’ve been winging it. The stuff I’ve ended up with isn’t perfect. It’s not even very good, frankly. But it’s an item. It’s something, where before there wasn’t anything. And I’d rather have my wonky seams than a pile of fabric. What’s more, making those wonky seams made me realise how hard it is to actually fail, when you are trying to make something. You might not make what you intended to make. But you’ll end up with something, even if it’s only a pile of wet newspaper and some experience.
So I am not going to set myself up to have to try and write pearls of wisdom every post. It doesn’t need to be profound. Because that’s not what it’s for.
So the point of all that is… can I come play with the cool kids again?
And now, a random comic that I found by accident while searching for the above. Just because looking at the little dude’s arms thrown up in the air is making me giggle:
(Also, I would totally have Randall Munroe’s babies. Rowr!)