Clearly, I owe y’all an apology: I did not keep my promise to post by end-of-week last week. End of LAST week, mind you.
I’m trying to use this seeming failure as one of those noble “teaching moments”, rather than simply reacting in my usual fashion of pulling out the baseball bat and finding not-nice things to say about myself.
This time, a few bruises and curse words later, I looked back and began to see part of a life-long pattern of what I call “flail-ures”—times when my intentions are good, I get off to a good start, something trips me up, and then I go into The Flails.
The Flails are a series of mind-games I play with myself. Writer’s Block (hipster acronym WB) reared its bumpy noggin this time, and so, cue The Flails: I use my usual tricks to break through WB, write a few paragraphs, realize they aren’t suitable for one reason or another, spend another day or so scolding myself, panicking when I realize the clock is ticking, freeze up into WB again, and ’round she goes—with creative and exciting variations! (Not.)
Kermit doing the iconic FLAIL
At some point, I realize I am going to miss my deadline, and more Flails show up: now I’ve let people down, time to bring on the shame! I avoid the keyboard for a bit so it won’t remind me of my shame, then take a big breath and put on my Big Girl Panties, write, produce something that is disconnected from my previous attempts, and then more yet Flails ensue.
Add a pinch o’ pride…
This time, the Flails were enhanced by the fact that the long gaps between postings cost me readers. It’s only numbers, I realize; I also realize that the readers who truly matter are either still here (yay! Thanks for being patient with me) or will come back as soon as they see I’m alive and posting again.
This taught me something (or rather, reinforced what I already knew): Blogging is, at the very least, a conversation; at its best, it is a relationship. If one party stops keeping up their end of the deal, then the other party will naturally get tired of the silence and wander off to talk with someone else.
The final nail in the coffin was, I am sorry to say, pride: A few years ago, I was one of the most-read fibre bloggers in our small pond; I had fangirls, people wanting to have their photo taken with me, even a stalker (“fangirl gone bad”, shall we say). Now I’m not That Girl anymore. I know this sounds petty, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to go from being a bit of a mini-celebrity to being just a face in the crowd. I see knitters whom I have mentored, encouraging them to make that first pattern submission, cheerleading as they went on to have confidence in their own visions—I’ve watched several of them grow into highly sought-after authors, designers, and teachers.
My sense of self is disrupted by all this change, not to mention how quickly it happened. It’s hard to blog when the person at the keyboard is someone you no longer recognize.
I realized I needed to rebuild not only my own sense of self, but my sense of who I am in the fibre community.
And although I have a spinner’s heart and a knitter’s eye, it is a completely different craft which is helping me to begin to fit the pieces back together.
About 15-20 years ago (why yes, I was in fact eighteen, thank you for asking), I stumbled upon the travelling exhibit showcasing Amish Quilts at the San Francisco De Young Museum.
The security guard had to ask me to leave. I looked at my watch; it was at least 30 min since closing time. He shrugged and said he’d seen me the day before as well, and as this was the last day, he couldn’t bear to make me leave when I was so clearly entranced.
At the museum gift shop, I bought a package of scraps which had come from an Amish quilting group in the area where the display quilts had been made. Inside was a postcard bearing a photo and its caption. When I got home, I found the reverse side of the card bore a simple quilt pattern; the scraps were enough to make a small wall quilt with the pattern.
I’ve been a quilter since that day, taking classes, fussing with seams, etc. I took a break for about ten years while I worked for Interweave, to concentrate on knitting and spinning for The Job.
Well, guess what?
I’m Baaaaaaaaa-aaack… :)
It’s just a wee quilt (those are one-inch squares), but I already love it. It’s slowly helping me to realize that I can still create beauty (which, dare I dream, might help others to go to THEIR happy places), and that I can still write, and, again hopefully, connect to others through my stories.
~ In the summer, many fortunate Canadians and Americans go off to stay in cozy cottages (Canadian term) or cabins (U.S. term), the majority of which, at least in Canada, are near one of the country’s estimated 3 million lakes (60% of all the world’s lakes are in Canada; it must be true, because Wikipedia says so). However, there are lakes….and then there are LAKES. (Methinks there’s still time to change your vacation plans, should one of these exotic locations make the family cottage seem mundane by comparison.)
~ No modern art devoteé ought to let the summer pass without attending this installation, which one might call “The Game of Thrones.”
~ You may groan. I deserved that.
~ In light of recent post topics: If Physical Diseases Were Treated the Same as Mental Illnesses
~ I sincerely doubt that I am the only one these words will speak to today.
~ Find a friend and hold them close to your heart.