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Reflections on blogging (and spoons)

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Over on the John Barleycorn blog, Rima Staines discusses the art of blogging, and how she started, and why she started. It's a strange kind of art form, blogging; and the question of why reasonably sane people feel compelled to blog [that hideous word, I wish there was a better] is, for me, an intriguing one. It's got me to pondering why I blog myself...which I've actually done for quite a long time now if you count the years that Midori Snyder and I ran a blog for the Journal of Mythic Arts, although that was a good deal less personal than this one. And like Rima, it took me a while to find a comfortable “blogging voice” when I began The Drawing Board.

The thread of my Rima-stirred thoughts about blogging is all knotted up with a number of other things that I've been pondering lately – about art, and life, and energy, and “spoons” -- and out of this tangle there's something specific I want to unravel, but I'm going to have to tease it out slowly from the snarl of other threads, so please bear with me.

This is also going to be a more personal essay than the others I've posted here, touching on the rather intimate subject of living with chronic illness. And that's a subject I approach gingerly, for an essay about illness can be mistaken for a plea for sympathy ("Oh, poor, poor me!"), or as a means of defining oneself as part of an aggrieved minority ("Us sick people don't get no respect!") rather than what it actually is: a creative/intellectual attempt to understand the process of living with illness while simultaneously living as a creative artist. (I'm thinking in particular of some very misguided reviews Nancy Mairs received for Waist-high in the World, her sharp, insightful essays on life with MS.) So I hereby give notice that I am about to tread further than usual into this murky territory today...and perhaps in speaking of the personal, I can find my way back to more general thoughts about living the Artist's Life; or, at very least, give voice to issues that others dealing with illness might find familiar, or useful.

Carl Larsson First let me define my terms. I'm going to refer to the limited energy one has when dealing with a chronic illness in terms of “spoons” -- so if you haven't yet read Christine Miserandino's very useful "Spoon Theory" essay, it might be helpful to do so. And by the term “blogging,” I'll be referring specifically to the writing of individual, personal blogs (like Rima's blog, or this one) rather than other sorts of blogs: professional, commercial, multi-author, etc..

With Rima's words running through my head, I was walking in the woods with my dog earlier (where I ran, quite unexpectedly, into Brian Froud and his dog, but that's another story...), thinking about the “art of the blog,” and why, after a somewhat trepidatious beginning, I find it so congenial. I'm in a different stage of my life and career than Rima, and thus my answer to the question “Why write a blog?” is bound to be a different one from hers, or any other young artist's. The answer that came to me suddenly as I trudged up the hill through the mud and leaves came from a thoroughly unexpected direction. It has to do with chronic illness and spoons and the thorny issue of communication.

Now, I can't speak for everyone with a serious and/or chronic illness, and my own (which I prefer not to name; the specifics of it aren't important here) has its rhythms and quirks that may be slightly different from other medical conditions like MS, or HIV, or fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue...but what many of us with differing health problems share is a constant need to juggle whatever spoons we have to hand on any given day. And for me, the simple act of communication is one that consistently threatens to empty my spoon drawer.

Perhaps it's because I communicate for a living, and therefore the spoons specifically shaped for that job are ones I particularly have to hoard in order to meet the daily demands of my work. All I know is that the simple act of a writing a letter to a friend, or answering an email, or (especially) picking up the phone are entirely beyond me when those spoons are used up – and they're precisely the spoons I tend to run out of first, due to the nature of my work.

This is an aspect of my life that constantly frustrates my dear, patient, long-suffering family members (back in the United States) and friends (both in the U.S. and here). I drop out of sight, I don't pick up the phone, emails drop into some kind of cosmic black hole. I'm warm and engaged and present on a good day, and retreat into mumbles and chilly distance on a bad one. Sometime I'm a reliable sister/niece/friend, and a regular part of others' daily lives...and sometimes I disappear for days, weeks, months on end with no warning at all. If I were a hermit by nature, none of this would be a problem, but I'm not -- I'm a person with a wide, deep circle of close relationships; an artist who thrives on connection and community; an outgoing woman whose natural rhythms are often disrupted by the over-riding rhythms of illness.

Carl Larssen 3

What has all this to do with blogging, you ask? It is this: Writing short pieces for a more-or-less daily blog is, for me, a means of communication, of maintaining vital connections: with friends, with colleagues in the publishing field, with the wider Mythic Arts community. Yes, it takes spoons, but not many of them (now that I'm comfortable enough with the form and technology that I can put up a daily post reasonably quickly) – and when compared to the number of spoons it would take to stay in frequent touch with the many people I know and love, to answer every email and return every call, those couple of spoons become negligible and well worth the cost. Blogging, for me, is my daily missive from the trenches of my creative life to the people, near and far, who make up my world. It's a form of round-robin letter to say: this is what I'm doing, this is what I'm thinking, I haven't disappeared. I may not be entirely well, but I'm still here. And if other people whom I've never personally met are reading these missives too, well then that's fine by me. I assume they're here because they also love books and folklore and mythic arts, and that means they're not really strangers, they are part of my wider community too.

Carl Larrson Now here's where I'd like to see if I can make the leap from personal circumstance to something that might relate to other artists as well, beyond the small subgroup of folks also coping with illness or disability. It's almost always difficult for artists in any field (except, perhaps, for a very privileged few) to balance the time needed for creative work with all the other demands of life. The need to manage ones time and energy may be more extreme and urgent for the chronically ill, yet I know few writers or artists (heck, do I know any?) who don't wrestle with the details of work/life balance. If it's not medical issues taking up ones time, it might be children, or elderly relatives, or a day job, or community obligations, or all of these things at once. The sheer busyness of modern life can feel relentless and overwhelming...and that, in turn, conflicts with art's requirement for time, solitude, and periods of sustained, uninterrupted concentration.

I think that even if illness was suddenly, blessedly removed as a factor in my life, I would still be at this same point in my journey: having reached the years of middle age, and recognizing that time is not infinite, I feel compelled to turn inward and focus my time and attention on truly mastering my craft. The social gregariousness of youth is no longer possible, or desirable; there are only so many hours in the day, after all. And yet, the life- and art-sustaining web of connection begun in ones early years remains important even as one grows older, slower, and more protective of ones time. That, for me, is where blogging comes in. It maintains that web of connection.

Here's what blogging is to me: It's a modern form of the old Victorian custom of being "At Home" to visitors on a certain day of the week; it's an Open House during which friends and colleagues know they are welcome to stop by. I'm “At Home” each morning when I put up at post. Here, in the gossamer world of the 'Net, I throw my studio door open to friends and family and strangers alike. And each Comment posted is a calling card left behind by those who have crossed my doorstep.

Carl Larsson But it's important to remember that the flip side of the Victorian "At Home" day is that it also provided boundaries -- for it was widely understood that visitors were not to drop by on other days of the week. Visitors could leave calling cards with the butler, but the Mistress of the house was not instantly available to them. Like every artist (and particularly artists deficient in health and energy), I too need large periods of time when I'm simply not available to others: when I'm working, or resting, or off at the doctor's, or re-charging my creative batteries, or working out thorny plot problems while roaming the countryside with the pup. In these days of speed and instant access, of Facebook and tweets and 8-year-olds with their own mobile phones, it's almost a revolutionary act to say: I'm not in to callers. You can't reach me now. And yet artists need this. We need to unplug. We need to spend time in the world of our imaginations, where the 'Net and mobile phones cannot go.

But here's what I find interesting: The very same technology that threatens to force constant communication upon us can also be the thing that allows us to create necessary boundaries. Blogging, for all its intimacy as an art form, is also an excellent boundary maker. Yes, we open up our lives on our blogs...but only this much, not that much, and each blogger decides where that line will be drawn. The blog is a controlled kind of publication. It doesn't provided instant access to its maker, unless the blog's author specifically wants it to. The open, generous space cultivated on a blog need not (indeed, probably should not) be duplicated in the physical world; for in the world, what a working artist truly needs is the equivalent of the butler at the door, politely turning callers away: The mistress is not 'At Home' today. She is working. I will tell her you called.

This, then, is why I write a blog: not for the reasons so many young artists do (as they build their careers and find their audience), but because, as an artist in my middle years, it helps resolve one of life's central conflicts: that both illness and art demand solitude, yet the heart requires communication and connection.

I am also a woman woefully short on spoons and at this point in life I have learned to accept it. (Okay, my husband would say that I am learning to accept it.) Calls will continue to go unanswered. Emails will routinely begin with the words: Please forgive me for taking so long to respond.... Friends will continue to worry when they haven't heard from me for a week, or a month. But these days, at least, they know they can always find me here at the Drawing Board...with fresh coffee brewing, Tilly at my side, and a pen or paintbrush in my hands.

In the physical world, my studio is my work space, not a social space, and a rather fierce butler stands scowling at the door. But here, in my online studio, I am "At Home." And everyone is welcome in.

Carl Larsson studio

The art in this post is by the Swedish painter Carl Larsson (1854-1919).

Comments

How perfectly stated, lovey. It's a privilege to visit your blog from time to time - and hence, you. I do miss your beautiful face, but this is a sweet consolation. Our best friends understand the constraints in our lives, the long lost emails. It *is* an insanely busy world and impossible to find time, precious time. I feel a bit guilty when I click on any link or blog that will distract me from the pressing Task At Hand, but look, you see, it was worth every precious moment. Thanks for that.

Thanks, Terri, I do so appreciate you using your precious spoons with this generous offering of "The Drawing Board". I feel blessed to have found this community. I'm coming to understand that I blog to feel a part of and be inspired by a larger community. Living alone in the rural woodlands here, I can disappear from the larger local community into my creative work. After a full day in the studio, deep in the embrace of the hemlocks and whispering forest spirits, heading out to town for an evening event isn't so appealing.

I also love that the illustrations on this post are an illustrated version of "on your desk"!
Larsson's work has a beautifully, soft texture.

Today and everyday I wish you many extra spoons. And thank you for sharing a spoon with me today. I shall view the world differently.

I so agree with you that "blog" is such an ugly word -- I think it's why the first thing we do when setting one up is to give it an interesting and more elegant name so we never have to refer to our small space of the internet as a "blog"!

And I am so very happy that you ventured into the blogging world. I remember the horror in your face when I first suggested it for Endicott! You have made such a beautiful space here, offered so many thoughtful short essays, reviews, art, photos -- much like its 20th century counterpart in the "little magazines." And the Drawing Board's ability to work with rather than against your chronic illness is a blessing for us as well because of that touchstone it provides. I am at the moment sitting at Avenue Coffee, cup in hand, and enjoying your essay (and oh, oh I love Larsson!) just as we have sat here at other times and talked. Very cool.

For me, blogging is a way to be a part of a creative community that is lacking in my 'real' life. Lacking, at least partly, because I'm not naturally out-going and confident, and find it hard (and rather draining) to 'get out there' and find like-minded souls, and also as a wife/mum/housewife/part-time employee living in the suburbs, time is precious. I jealously guard the small amount of solitude I have, because my creative life depends on it. Sometimes I feel that the business/busyness of ordinary daily life takes too much of ME and leaves me with nothing to create with. Being able to blog helps refill the well, I am inspired by other blogs and spurred on to keep creating and to show people my work, but I can do it when it suits me (for example, it's 11pm and everyone else is in bed at the moment), and I don't have to get dressed up, or be witty on the go, or drive anywhere, or try and work up the courage to start a conversation with someone I don't know.

Thank you Terri, for being one of the wonderful people who has inspired me to start blogging (it IS a horrible word...websinging...e-chant...etherweave...webweaving...webtale...I'm sure there's got to be a better word out there), and thank you for sparing some of your precious 'spoons' to create this magical corner of the web world.

Thank you, thank you--today, even more than other days, I needed that. Much love to you.

I've just this moment come down from a walk on the hill with Rima & Tom (& their dog, and Tilly) in which we were talking about blogging, and where I was saying you were the one who got me blogging. (And I remember well how reluctant I was to do it!) So as you were sitting in Avenue Coffee Tucson, in spirit you were also on top of a Devon hillside with us. (Now if only you could magically pass me a cup of that artisan coffee they serve in Avenue Coffee, this beautiful Devon day would be perfect!)

As a writer with a chronic illness, I identified with this post so much. That aspect of blogs as providing communication with a large group, on minimal energy resources, is SO important and not something I ever expected to need so much, in my pre-illness years. I still love blogging for all the reasons I used to before I got ME/CFS - but now it's taken on a whole new role in my life, which I deeply appreciate.

Thanks for writing such a beautiful post on the subject.

"Blog" has the advantage that many ugly words have: it's short and precise. But now that the internet is an ordinary part of life, I'd be tempted to speak of my journal if I was trying to create something like The Drawing Board. I think of my own blog as a newsletter or a zine with the occasional personal note from the editor.

Hmm. We could start speaking of logs instead of blogs, since that's a contraction of "web log", which really didn't need to be clarified after, oh, 2003.

Wishing you many spoons!

After reading your post, I just sat for a bit and drank my tea while pondering your comments and the wonderful Larsson drawings. I am fortunate in that I suffer very seldom any more from my health problem but I completely understand how the days come and go, and how we need to enjoy the good ones and to be productive and creative on those days. However,I know too that we all over do on those good days and then nature in her own way forces us to rest and regenerate. I think your likening your blog to being "at home" is very apt, and although I do not often leave you a "calling card", I enjoy your posts very much. I find your essays about creativity and art very thought-provoking; I appreciate your sharing music, art, and blog links; and I enjoy your photo essays of work spaces and of walks with Tilly. Thanks for sharing your blog.

I also have a chronic illness. I share your feeling that the blogging/commenting structure gives boundaries that help me be present when I can, courteously absent when I can't.

I remember Miss Manners saying, years ago, that the answering machine was the new butler. Ever since reading that, I've felt no shame in letting the machine answer the phone for me, telling people that I'm not "at home." :)

So well said! I may send this post to family and friends. I've had people in my life say to me, "How come you have the energy to write or to do a blog post but you can't call me or send me an email?" Perhaps I should talk about spoons with them. Thanks, Terri, for articulating all of this so well and so beautifully.

Thank you so much for this essay.

just having a second cup of coffee at 4 am whilst getting ready to start work on the next illustration, have often wondered how you (& Rima & Midori & Jackie Morris) find the time in your busy creative lives to write & share all your wonderful insights. Reading your words helps me hone my own process & the intellectual discourse in the replies from around the world helps to stimulate & forge new directions. Love Larsson's illustrations such gentle quiet contemplative works thank you. Now, back to the drawing board!

Once, a much younger me had a conversation with Ellen Steiber during the "Nature Spirit" gathering at the Omega Institute. (You were there also, Terri :) She told me how much she enjoyed getting out to such events, as they provided a much-needed balance to the solitary aspect of the creative life and a place to connect with like-minded folk. I think blogging offers much the same thing, except better ~ not only does it allow for a larger and longer-reaching community, but it can be accessed from the comfort of one's home, at a time that is convenient. Your "At Home" analogy is so very, very apt. My calling card today would read, "Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts, words and art. 'Blog' may be a fairly ungraceful word, but yours is always a beautiful thing."

Your entry, like so many of the others who commented, touched a real chord with me. I will have to point out that I love Laresson so much that it was almost a distraction. I kept wanting to go dig up larger editions of each image, and had to come back to the reading first.

I don't have a health issue, (although I have had some in the past with lyme disease) but I do have that complicated longing for solitude and social interaction that so many artists struggle with. It is maddening! I would like nothing more than to spend a month alone in the woods, but I wonder if I might long to document in pictures and writing to share it later.

Artists and creatives, we are like shamans, going into our inner spirit worlds to find stories, songs, poems, tales, and images. We bring them back, for the benefit of the village, but while traveling, we must not be disturbed. We also must pay the shaman's price, in complicated emotions and life goals.

I use my Facebook as a blog of sorts, for now. I was a LiveJournal poster until so many left it. It is odd, how often I get folks who idealize my life, perceive it to be a dream. They use that exact term, which is of course a part of the language of the shaman. However, their perspective of it is so far and near to the truth at the same time. Oddly, I tell folks that what I share is all Faerie Glamour. It's stardust, and moonbeams, and if I showed you to much it would be dried leaves and old bits of acorns and moss. It seems like I am giving so much, but I am really keeping the best for me.

Well, thanks for the entry again. My mornings are often my quiet time to reflect and catch up. I try to bring back tales from the fae realms each day, to share with the tribe of friends that count on it for their daily inspiration. Those are often links from you, and many others in the Mythic community. We are all just conduits and vessels, pouring golden words from one to the other. I still wonder where lies the well? Who guards it's rocky dell? Then I remember that I know the way, and try to show others that they also can find the path.

Your blog is one signpost on the trail.

Beautiful post, beautifully illustrated . . . now I'm not sure who I love best, Carl Larsson or you.

OK, wait - I think it's you.

And I like the word "blog" - it makes me laugh. And rhymes with both "snog" and "slog," which are the two sides, to me, of posting!

Thanks for this post, and thank you for opening the doors here each day. How I understand that need for quiet & how I wish I had a butler to say, "Not today, thank you. The mistress is not at home; she is working."

I had never heard of the "spoon theory" before, but it speaks to me on so many levels. I understand it perfectly. I, too, live with a condition that means there are a lot less spoons on many days than I'd like. Sadly, even some of my good friends who know of my condition don't really understand how I'm affected. I try to explain, but because when they see me I am mostly sociable and energetic, perhaps I can't really blame them. But... they don't see me when I am the opposite (which is more often than I'd like), because that's when I'm conserving my spoons for my work - or for other things, including my own health - and shutting everything else out.

Anyway, I am rambling. Sending you good thoughts and much thanks for this wonderful essay.

Karen

This post squeezed the tears out of my heart..thank you Terri. I am also wishing you many spoons.

I loved this post Terri. I read the spoon article when you posted it a couple of months? back and it applies to me as well. In my line of work, which is not creative arts, but more spiritual counseling the setting of boundaries is extremely important. I have run brick and mortar shops before and inhabited physical spaces that I loved, but at the level I work now, the boundaries that are provided through my website and my blog really keep me sane--and allow me to share my gifts with others in a way that doesn't leave me grouching most evenings!

Thank you for every spoon you've used at the Drawing Board Terri. Its really an inspiration to me. This moving and insightful piece of writing makes it more so. Because of your work here I'm inspired to try and go further in my own writing and also to explore further than I'd dared before those mythical realms of faerie.

Time to close the computer now and curl up to read "The Green Man" anthology which arrived yesterday. I can't wait.

Well said! I've always liked the term used by another www.friend: "blogue-ing". (It has a welcoming, bardy medieval flair :)

Thank you for the beautiful Larsson, and for opening this friendly door :) I don't have a chronic condition, but my little son sure does, and we are very newly learning to live with it. Blogue-ing allows me to reach in and visit with that part of myself that gets buried under the sorrow, anger and exhaustion that would turn most visitors off, were they to walk in the door. I can continue my practice of being a friend not just to others, but even to myself, from a more comfortable position on the couch.

As I read this, i am lying tucked up in bed, guarded by my dog and cat, fighting off a cold which will rob me of desperately needed spoons this week. I am doubly-blessed by MS and fibromyalgia, both of which a simple cold becomes a major threat to.

Apart from my furry keepers, I am far from alone, as my virtual community are close by. Without them, it is easy to slip into that dark place called loneliness when my physical body needs to withdraw from the world.

Thank you for this wonderful post and the glorious artworks which caught my eye.

Terri,
As someone who's just beginning to find my way as an artist, as much as I might like to... I haven't felt ready to carve out my niche here on the interweb yet. I guess I'm still in the process of shedding my old skin, so to speak.

Progress has been extremely slow, and things have felt pretty long and drawn out for me these past several years.. and this is how I came across your blog late one night...

While working at my desk last month, I opened up the ol' sketchbook. On the first blank page, a tiny spider crawled out from between the pages. I'd just finished reading a book called "Magical Housekeeping," where I'd read a small section about spiders. It had said that, upon coming across one in your home, carefully assist it outside while talking to it. Explain you won't harm it, and you think it'll be happier where you put it. In return for this favor (if it so pleases the spider), may you ask it a question?

Since I'd found the spider in the pages of my sketchbook, I asked what it thought of my drawings, and if it thought I could actually be a success? I thanked the spider in advance, let it go in a little jade plant, then waited the advised six days. How this answer would manifest, I wasn't sure, but supposedly... I'd know?

Soon after, on a night when I couldn't sleep, I came across your post on influence, and believed I'd found my answer!

Like so many others here, (though I sent you an anonymous, silent 'thank you' through the ether) I wanted to say a real heartfelt Thank you. Your blog has been so helpful to me.

Beautiful piece - thank you.

Your words bring me such clarity and peace, Terri. It's so hard to learn to balance availability and the needed privacy to feed the imagination. I am cultivating a Victorian butler of my own, perhaps a blue one, with fangs.

Many spoons to you, and a silver one in the drawer for a cup of tea for yourself. xoxo Sarah

Terri:
The Carl Larsson illustrations you've chosen for your blog entry are among my favorites in his oeuvre. and have prompted my first comment here. It was great privilege to see his home and studio in Dalarna last year during a visit to Sweden. His home and working environment are really what dreams are made of! I have been a fan of your art and writing for many years and more recently through my work and correspondence with Ellen Kushner. Thank you for clarifying and soothing the thoughts of many of us. Though I am not chronically ill, I too am an artist/illustrator and writer past middle years ( I like to think of old age as 120) with a vaudeville of aches and pains daily clamoring for my attention. Yet the best medicine has been work and I hope it will remain so for as long as possible. Blogging has also become an entertaining and instructive new art form for me as well. I post when I can, once every week or two. You are welcome to visit: http://imaginarius13.wordpress.com/
and I wish you continued strength in balancing the energies that have made your spirit shine.

Thank you for this post and for your words and time in this public space. I've been clicking back over to, and contemplating, this post and these comments all day, and thinking about the generous way you've put this, so that it includes so many of us whose energies aren't (or aren't usually, in my case) drained by chronic illness, but by multiple commitments or just the inherent limitations of being human.

The "At Home" analogy is lovely--I've sometimes felt like blogging is like hosting a party that I can attend at my own convenience and at the level that I can handle; as someone who's both sociable and introverted, it often seems like the best of both worlds.

That's precisely how I treat spiders! I learned it from my Grandmother, who had her magical moments.

Thank you, and thank you for dropping by, Janis. Your music has brought me much joy (and also prompted a few tears) over the years.

Thank you, everyone, for generously contributing to this conversation on blogging, which I hope will continue.

I've just continued over in the attic...in usual 'mermaid' proportions!

Thankyou Terri for posting your thoughts about this, I feel inspired and happy this morning knowing this web weaving world is here like a soft, cosy warm rug. :) It's a lifeline to those of us who find communicating in the 'real' world a little difficult at times. :) I love those illustrations by the way! :) xx

Thank you, so much, for this post (and for all of your posts, which always bring magic with them).

As a writer struggling to balance life with a chronic illness, it helps to know that I'm not alone.

This is my first time visiting your blog. It seems lovely and I will be visiting again. Thank you for this insightful post on blogging!

I had to say something a bit more here.
I feel a bit of a cheat sometimes. I just take this spoon you have offered, stir my coffee with it, and pass it on to the world. So I thought I should hand one back.

I always seem to think of, when you mention that wonderful idea of spoons, about the song "Afternoons & Coffee spoons" by the Crash Test Dummies. (One of the bands that you either love or hate)

I love them, and that song most of all. He wrote in reference in to his own illness, as something of prayer for the future.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j53VGZnW4fU

So, the song was inspired by "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", by T.S. Eliot. Many find the poem to be a bit morbid and dark, while I enjoy it, for a sense of purpose in the midst of all that is dark.

"And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while, 90
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say, "That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all."

I have a plethora of spiders in my house. I love them and usually just let them be, or transport them outside. I didn't know about asking them questions, thanks for this!

Well all that was marvellous! Terri I love Carl and Karin Larssons work,and your post was fascinating.I have been following your blog for a few years now and never cease to find interest,humour and spirit in it. The Woodwife travels with me and for some reason I find it gives me a feeling of security .I love the opening and the journey of the novel and the characters live for me. Thanks for that and your continuing blog. I am a fairly new blogger and did think when I started that perhaps it was rather an ego thing to imagine other people following my thoughts and ideas but I have since changed my mind and think our blogs are a wonderful way of communicating and collecting our own thoughts and feelings. I think it is a bit like having pen friends something I did a lot when I was a child. I wanted to communicate with other cultures and used it as a way into far flung parts of the world. I wish you good health and continued happiness in your life and work. Angela

After a few years spent as a professional blog connoisseur, I am still always interested in reading what it is that makes people want to blog. I wrote about my own reasons a few years ago, and your post inspired me to dig it up and republish what my thoughts were back then. And since I've been struggling a bit with my own blog identity lately, I found it a remarkably timely discussion!

This is exactly what blogging is for me, too. I just haven't had the wit (maybe the time) to think about it. I love technology but I don't own a cell phone. I decided not to go that route the day I witnessed a mother of five being harangued by her children, by cell phone, about the most trivial things (including, "Where's the stapler?). I also don't answer the telephone if I don't feel like it, a fact that drove some (fair weather?) friends away. Your warm, witty and generous insights are always appreciated, no matter when they come.

Thank you for another absolutely wonderful post. I love the idea of being able to say 'I'm not in to callers. You can't reach me now'. There are days when I think I can't bear to open my email, or log in to facebook and the thought of blogging, or even of writing a comment on someone else's blog, horrifies me. Yet, on other days I find myself irresistibly drawn to posting. There's enough of me there to join in the conversation.

I've wondered a lot about what a blog should be recently. When I was writing The Fairy Tale Cupboard I set myself strict limits; I was writing a blog about fairy tales and I didn't want to intrude on my subject too much (although I probably did anyway). But because I have very little time to myself (as a mother of young children and student, who is trying to edit a journal and desperately trying to scrape together enough time to write stories and failing to ever clean the house!) I wondered if blogging would feel more comfortable if I let a little more of myself in, if I wrote about what was inspiring my work, or posted a scrap of something I'd stumbled across and was excited about. I hoped that blogging would start to feel more like an extension of what I was working on, or thinking about, rather than an extra activity to be piled on top of everything else. I'm still not sure I've figured it out, but visiting blogs like yours and Rima's and Christina's is a constant source of inspiration for which I am incredibly grateful.

Well there are blogs that are like twitters or bumper stickers.

And then there is what you write, dear one. Maybe, as it is a not-quite-daily journal of art and life musings it could be called A Dejourning. Or a Muse-sical. Or an Artblah. Or perhaps we could all call such postings a windling.

As in, I wrote a windling today, talking about the difference between head and heart books. Or I crafted a windling today, about how difficult it is to plot when you really want to write about connections, which may or may not move forward.

xxxJane

I for one would enthusiastically (in the Ancient Greek sense!) endorse the movement of the term "windling" into the cultural lexicon.

Also, hello Jane. Fancy bumping into your here.

Beautiful and honest and thought provoking. Thank you.

Basking in the warmth of your Conservatory...
Thank you, Terri.

What a wonderful post. Thank you so much, Terri. I'm honored to be part of your community. ♥

(Hoping Miss Windling does not object to the salon going on while she retires upstairs with a linen-soaked handkerchief)

Ilene, thanks for the link to your blog - fantastic new work! I love it - particularly the Codex Gastropoda #3:The Unbearable Slowness of Reading:
http://imaginarius13.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/codex-gastropoda-3the-unbearable-slowness-of-reading/

I'm looking forward to your upcoming blogpost on THE WITCHES OF LUBLIN over at http://www.thewitchesoflublin.com/
-- so very happy to have your work for that project of ours.... and so glad to be sharing this community.

I have to be a little discerning with spiders...we have too many posionous ones and they don't mix with small children and small dogs! So I'm afraid the Red Backs have to go to a better world if I find them in the house. But I always let the Huntsmen out, they're big and hairy, but are really very shy and timid creatures and I'm very fond of them!

Oh dear, I'm having a 'can't spell' day!

I've always thought it was a particularly magical name...a child of the wind! I think writing 'a windling' is wonderful!

Ilene:

Thank you for introducing me to your blog, which is wonderful. I'll be following it regularly now.....

I, too, refer to "120" as old age. How strange that we both picked the same number! It must be true then.... :)

I love the image of the salon continuing while I retire upstairs. Particularly as that's precisely what I need to do after a longer-than-usual blog post.... (Ah, you know me so well, old friend.)

I hope Mexico is glorious right now. Send some sunshine our way please!

Wow, still, I wish I had as many spoons as you!

...says the man who's opening a restaurant. James, it seems to me that you do just fine! Love to you and Julia,
Terri


Welcome to Imaginarius, Terri.
I am honored to respond to your
comments and questions.

Actually,120 is part of a traditional
Yiddish blessing, as in, "You should
live til 120." According to legend, Moses
Is said to have attained that great age.
May we and those we love all be so
blessed..

I love the idea of "a windling!"

Oh, so wonderfully expressed. Thank you for using up spoons to share so much insight and beauty.

hey, i get it.

I am quite late to this party, but I found your original post and now all these comments to be quite fascinating. I am a poet that lives in a very remote (off the road system) village in Alaska. Without my blogging community, I would be quite desolate, bereft of the type of artful conversation that so feeds my work. Thank you for your blog (I have been reading it for quite some time). I am so glad to be able to learn from such a talented and introspective writer / artist.

Thank you Terri - for all you share with us, this community of old friends and friends yet unmet. It feeds my soul to be counted part of this community of authors and artists, and I cherish the journal entries, photos, and windlings... knowing that my kindred spirits are out there working in their studios, as I work in mine...

Terri, i have so enjoyed following this moveable feast across the globe, thank you for the sharing, these spoons will be greatly treasured. This blogging village is a magical place & i wonder as i read the comments above, at the far reaching effects it has on so very many folk. For many, it has an extra depth of meaning & use, for myself it has lent a wee corner where for the first time i feel able to spread my creative wings without any hinderance. I have been moved enough to do a post of my own about it! I am so very glad that you are "at home" x

I loved reading the theory of spoons, such a grand idea. I also loved the idea of using the term Blogue. Sounds truer to what we do than the caveman-esque Blog. I may use it when referring to what we do.

I've always ushered spiders outside as well usually explaining to them why we don't come into the house but to ask them a question seems like I should have known to do that.

This day has given me loads to contemplate and I thank you!

Hi Terri,
I have long loved your work and am so excited I found your blog and this post really has hit home for me today. I have Bipolar II Disorder mixed in with some other tasty illness' and it's a constant struggle to stay "social" like non-spooner's do. My family just doesn't get why blogging fulfills me so much. None of them have to live with a chronic illness and I've basically let go of my expectations for them to really "get me", but I'm going to send them this beautifully written and honest post. Thank you so much for expressing so eloquently what I've longed to say.

Hi Terri

As someone who also lives a daily 'spoon' existance, this post really touched my heart... but it also hit me squarely between the eyes too! For the first time I realised why it is that I blog and why it is so deeply precious to me; why I need the distance and isolation in order to create yet the longing for deep connection too. You explained it all so succinctly and so very well. It was like reading the very whisperings of my own soul! Thank you so very much... now I understand!

In the early days I had no voice at all so blogging became a much-appreciated means of communication. I'm stronger now, but still restricted, and so use it to keep in contact with my loved ones and to share my tangled ponderings too, knowing that I was doing so on my own terms and within 'safe' boundaries.... where its 'easy' and less stressful to simply walk away up to my 'boudoir' to rest! So your insightful desciption of a 'calling card' suddenly made me realise that that is exactly what I'd been instinctively doing... a means of protecting my 'spoons'!

Thank you so very much, once again.
Hugs xxx

Great stumble onto your blog this morning and enjoyed the read, ta.

I stumbled upon your blog Sunday while doing some research and this piece is the one that made me realize that I'd found a kindred soul here. This articulates exceedingly well how I use the internet (my blog/ facebook).

And I love that you've used Carl Larsson's works: many years ago, I had a calendar of his images. I have always loved them since.

The Comments section is now closed (to avoid problems with spammers, who target old posts)...but this piece still gets a lot of traffic, so if you'd like to leave a Comment, please feel free to do so under one of the current posts on this blog:

http://windling.typepad.com/blog/

Thank you for visiting The Drawing Board!

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