I’ve been thinking about this word for several weeks; it keeps popping up in my thoughts at the oddest times. Naturally it means I need to write about it, and I doubt if any of it is going to be coherent.
I love to read, have always loved it. Summers were meant for the library while I was in elementary school and junior high (there was no such thing as middle school back then, which I kind of like but I won’t get going on that topic today), and I regularly had the mile-high stack which made me positively quiver with happiness. I love magazines. I love online community forums. I love blogs. I love losing myself into another world and its evocative yet intangible settings. I admire good writing, and wish I had that particular talent to string a subject and an adjective and a comma and bring a happy sigh or a tear to someone. I tend to ramble without a clear purpose, no linear progression or logical conclusion, no descriptive scenes of beauty or mystery, and more in a “let’s empty the pantry” kind of way. Dialogue doesn’t flow for me; it requires lots of rewriting to make it even sound human.
Reading blogs has some strange effects on me: I will become instantly inspired and rush about grabbing tools or materials to do that THING that I’ve been meaning to do and I suddenly know that NOW is the absolute right time and that blog was terrific inspiration for me! Or I will click on and on (especially if I’m devoted to reading the archives which I’m doing with my current favorite, Posie Gets Cozy; I’m up to 2009) and get somewhat despondent because there’s so much beauty and clever and creative and wonder and I just can’t fathom how all that lovely gets created. Or I will realize that the image being framed for me has been carefully manufactured and isn’t authentic at all (some very famous craft/domestic/artistic divas not to be named because that wouldn’t be polite) and I get sad. I don’t know why I get sad, I just do, and I can’t explain it. (Hell, I can’t explain 8/10 of the feelings I feel. I just feel.)
Then I reflect on the purpose these blogs (or magazines or websites or books) serve. To me, they are usually inspiration as well as entertainment and I want to take that inspiration and run with it. I make the thing. I draw the thing. I knit the thing. I photograph the thing. I bake the thing. I usually feel good about it. But I don’t blog about it.
Maybe I’m afraid someone will accuse me of ripping them off. Or someone will think my efforts are pitiful and why would I bother posting it when it should be left off the permanent record. Or my progress isn’t as quick as others, the photos not as pretty, the write-up not as good, and I don’t share it. I don’t show it. I don’t do anything except show my family and maybe a friend. “Look what I made!” You know what the inevitable response to that is, don’t you? “Oh, that’s nice.”
Which makes me wonder what MY purpose is. It used to be raising my girls, but they are adults now. It used to be teaching but I don’t do that anymore (and it’s not for lack of trying, trust me). It used to be prepping for craft shows, volunteering, creating a warm home, and (to borrow from a Junior Woman’s Club pledge) living each day trying to accomplish something, not merely to exist. I feel that I’m simply existing.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not unhappy. I am deliriously happy that my alarm doesn’t go off at 5:45 anymore. It is nice to go away at a time of year that’s not beholden to a school calendar. Volunteering for a select few things that I want to do instead of feeling obligated to do it all is wonderful. I love getting my knitting and Netflix fix as much as I want. And now that we’ve welcomed another dog into our home, I’m happy to give belly rubs and ear scritches all day. But I hardly think that’s my sum total of purpose for my life.
I hope, I really hope that I don’t enjoy reading about other lives more than I love living my own.