Monday muse . . .

 "Certain flaws are necessary for the whole.  
It would seem strange if old friends 
lacked certain quirks."


I read a blog post by one of my smartest friends the other day that cut me to the quick.  It was a condemnation of cheery, chipper blogs that are heavy on alliterative themes
(i.e. Terrific Tidbits) but light on real life. 

A perfect indictment of all things "Small Works," right? 

Among other things, she said, "The alliterative blog post reflects perfection.  Because if we can't have the perfect life for real, we may as well have it in public." 


You see, it's not that I don't agree with her thesis, because I do.
But here a quote from our cranky, beloved Dr. House springs to mind:

"I thought I'd get your theories, mock them, 
then embrace my own.  The usual."

And I'm well aware that I have a little problem with . . . ahem . . . perfectionism.

Actually, I don't so much mind whether the things I do are perfect or not, only that they APPEAR to be so.  (If you'd ever seen the back of one of my pieces, you'd know what I mean.  Real embroiderers don't leave the mess on the backs of their pieces that I do.)  Which may be even worse.

At least if you're striving for perfection, you're striving for an ideal that may elevate your work in meaningful ways.  If you're only striving to seem perfect, well . . . that's much less noble.

But I can say with complete honesty that what you get at Small Works -- in my blog, in my work -- is my true VOICE.  It's not the one I hear in my head, but it is the one that comes out when I open my hands and let the ideas escape.

So I don't know how to change it to make it more real.  My pieces are just like I am:  pleasing on the front, full of tangles on the back (that I cover with a tidy backing). Just like my really straight kitchen with the clean counters but the dirty floor.  It's all authentic.

The best improvement I can think of would be to 
embrace my imperfections a little more readily.  
So let's start here:  

 I'm adding a black line drawing of my bird to a piece from an old embroidered tablecloth of unknown origin.  
Don't worry -- it was already ruined, covered with rust spots and unravellings.

This was the new idea I was telling you about.  And so far I've learned one thing:  I'm not good at embroidery.  Sure, I'm good at what I do --  the vocabulary of stitches that I've made up to get the look I want, that lay so nicely on thick and forgiving wool.

This, however, is something completely different.  So far I'm spending more time unpicking and consulting my instruction book than I am stitching. I don't know how to do any actual embroidery stitches.  And I can't keep them even to save my life. In fact, I don't think I'm any better than I was when I was 8 years old, struggling to stitch a pansy motif on a dresser scarf under Aunt Lillie's careful tutelage.  I may actually be worse.

We could put it in a nice 
alliterative category of some kind
to make me more comfortable with it:

"Monday Maybes"
"Iffy Ideas"
"Follies and Foibles" 

Or just call it what it is.  Fun, challenging, silly. 
Something to write a blog post about.

"Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in." 

Leonard Cohen

 And thank goodness for the light.

Happy Monday! 

(Too chipper?  Sorry.  It just popped out.)


krex said...

When I was suicidal depressed....ie....everyday of life before 26....I thought that all happy people were faking it and found it very annoying . Now that I am less miserable, it doesn't seem to bother me as much and it even seems possible that those happy people are actually "that" happy and not being fake . Sometimes where we stand at a given time can change the angle of how we see the same reality .

I'm still no where near the "perky chearleader or Born again Christian"
on the happy meter but I'm much less emo and no less real then I was then .

Leenie said...

The Leonard Cohen quote says it all. I love it. And if we worry about other's opinions too much we will end up in the ditch with Aesop's "Man, Boy and Donkey." Post your voice. I really like it!

Allie said...

Well hey. My life isn't terribly happy, if you look at it....but I choose what to look at, and my blog reflects that discriminatory vision. Trust me, nobody wants to read about depressing stuff, lol! I think you do a wonderful job with your blog Susan, you're just as real as you can be and you're a delight to know - wish you lived next door. I'd like to ask her what is wrong with happy????

luanne said...

Embarrassed to say this, but I'm clueless as to why alliteration reflects perfection?

And I object to the presumption I've seen expressed by some bloggers that public good cheer = artifice, while melancholy public introspection = truth. To me that attitude usually translates as *misery loves company*.

Perhaps I'm missing the whole point here, but it seems to me that adding positive energy to our universe is always a worthy effort. Chipper is good!

susan m hinckley said...

I don't think the writer was saying there is anything wrong with "happy" per se . . . and I may have done her a disservice by focusing on only one part of her essay. Her main point was that it's easy to appear too perfectly blissful online because we're able to unload all our stress, complaints, etc. on our flesh-and-blood support system.

But I think you're all right -- a little positive energy in the world is a good thing, and besides, I've always prided myself on being a really fun depressed person!

And I do believe we should let all our colors show, although we can control when and how much color to use, of course.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin