Archive | lovely

Eurovision, Writing Authentically, + Finding Your Audience

So, I don’t know about you, but I watched the Eurovision Song Contest this past weekend. And it was brilliant. Serbia’s performance was AMAZING. And, personally, I think they were robbed. Robbed! You can see the whole thing for yourself here:

And after it was all said and done with, I started thinking about some of the cultural differences between Americans and Europeans. Like how Americans are great and awesome, but not always so hot at being authentic. We’re too worried we’re going to hurt someone’s feelings or divulge too much of ourselves and therefore leave ourselves open for attack. Whereas Europe is all ready for weird. All the time. For proof, check out Georgia’s (the country’s) entry for Eurovision this year. It’s like a female version of The Crow, but more stylish:

As Americans, we want everyone to like us so much that we look kind of vapid in comparison at times. No, not all the time, but a lot of the time we edit our personal details out in the name of wanting to be likable.

And that’s fine in our personal lives, but what about the lives of our businesses? There is so much noise about talking to your one customer. Therefore, I spent days mulling over this and getting frustrated, because there is no one demographic that I’m writing to. I don’t the specifics, like what they wear, because they wear whatever the eff they feel like. As instead, I’m writing to people who have the same soul as me, the ones who are realists, also but secretly kinda dreamy.

Here’s who I am writing to:

The ones who get excited about long talks til dawn with someone new. Who know sadness closely well enough to know that seeing the world as beautiful is something that we choose to do. The nerds who will always choose the right thing to do, even if that means not winning. The ones who do the right thing when no one is watching because not to do it would internally feel like a skip on a record sounds. The ones that sometimes cry because they’re so happy and present and in the moment that big fat tears of joy stream down your face. The old souls that know that craft is good for you in its way of connecting us to both past and present and nourishing in both act and product. The ones that have a special time of the day that they carve out for its exquisite soul-filling silence. Those who find the beach in winter almost more beautiful than in summer. Those who revel in the light touch of fireflies when they land on your skin. The ones that know that holding hands in silence can be either super hot or super okay and that you don’t always need words. People that laugh at kids’ jokes. And at any party with a pet present, seeks out the pet to pat before leaving. Someone who knows the value of ritual, but also that it’s okay not to have one every night. Someone who still believes in magic despite being old “enough” to know better. People who love sitting at the kid’s table.

These are my people. I am nourished by the fact that they (you!) found me and am humbled by the fact they (you!) stay. My people want more, but not more things. More a-ha moments and memories and depth. What do I hope I give to them (you!)? Newly resurrected, on this blog, heading out on my own for freelancing, I hope to give some depth to your day, not to make you ponder, but to make you feel grounded in your life, your craft, and your choices.

And I hope that I do just that. Who do you write to? One demographic? One person? Or specific types of beings? Why do they get up in the morning? What specifically makes them have a self-described “good day?” I think finding “what” drives people is more important than “who” these people are. Agree? Disagree? Agree to disagree?

10 Things I Learned From Watching Murder, She Wrote

So I’m thinking about starting a bi-weekly craftivist interview series, which I’m asking about in my newsletter today. (Have you signed up? No? Go sign up now then, using the handy thingie near the top right of this post.) Is there anyone you’d like for me to interview? If so, do let me know!

Originally, I had planned to write Part 3 of Craft and Privilege today, but have run out of time. (If you haven’t checked them out already, here are links to Part 1 and Part 2.) I’m in Philadelphia right now to see Carrie Reichardt, but will return with Part 3 when I get back to Durham later this week. I’m writing this in Cafe OlĂ©, which Carrie suggested. They are playing Nina Simone. I never want to leave, but then again it is really gross outside.

Happily, however, I found this, which I wrote awhile ago and still totally love. Because I love Murder, She Wrote. And Angela Lansbury. Jessica Fletcher, forevs, guys.

angela

1. Never apologize unless you do something wrong. Stand your ground at injustice, instead of apologizing for speaking up, even if people think you’re a pesky older woman. (And if they do think you’re a pesky older woman, dazzle them with your brilliance and wit, which they may never see coming.)

2. Offer to help other people, then let them come to you if they want to. When they come to you, offer tea. Preferably from teapots. Cute dainty saucers are great, but any old mug will do.

3. Treat your students as friends and peers. Teaching is a reciprocal process where everyone has something to learn. BONUS: You never know where you will run into them, making every day a possible reunion.

4. Always bring an over-the-shoulder handbag. If the case calls for it, you can swing it like a weapon. (Same goes for pumps.)

5. By dressing up nicely, it’s easier to sneak into places you’re not invited to. No one will notice that you’re really there to investigate. If you’re caught, tell them you know the mayor/owner/diplomat, because if you’re Jessica Fletcher, you probably do.

6. Make friends in high places. This is easily done once you do #5 enough. Seriously, prepare to be amazed at all the hobnobbing you will do while waiting for subpar appetizers in a line at a party.

7. Never be afraid to tap into your “writer’s intuition.” This is extra wise when you are a crack mystery writer who loves to travel. People will think you know what you are talking about making #1 a thing of the past.

8. Always be kind and polite to everyone no matter what their position. This can charm jerks of all sorts- but even if they aren’t charmed, they’ll remember that you treated everyone nicely. Sometimes this comes in extra handy when trying to execute #5.

9. When asked to go out an outing and they’re not sketchy, go. If they are sketchy, politely decline and move on. For reals, Jessica Fletcher goes on some mad adventures… which are super enviable for those of us watching them on our couch. (Ahem.)

10. Be interested in other people and their personal stories. Always. Not only does it give you ideas for characters in future books, it also makes you friends all over the world. This dovetails nicely with #6 if they invite you to stay and you have like your own villa in Italy or something.

How to Embrace a Gray Day

theperfectafternoon

It’s gray here today. That kind of gray that makes you want to drink endless cups of tea and listen to The Smiths all day on repeat. Not a sad type of day per se, but one that is lovely with its puffy clouds and range of grays and unusually coolish temperatures. I’m wearing a hoodie in April in North Carolina, so today I’ll take it.

And the more I let myself be okay with the gray and the un-sunniness, the more I sink into the day as it turns into afternoon. The more I hold on to my warm mug a little big longer in order to let the heat sink down into my bones. I know that the sunny days are the ones that get all the attention, the glory, the “good” comments, but I’m all about these days that slip in between and remind you that even the unsunny days can be perfect. Even they can harbor a warmth despite what the sky is saying.

And how I feel about gray days is similar to how I feel about posts that show up in my various feeds that share less-than-perfect images and words. Their less-than-perfectness allows me to connect in its everydayness. It’s gray dayness. The not-so-perfect posts are the ones that allow me to see the human beyond what appears on my screens, both big and small. They allow me to know you on your gray days. They remind me that just like the weather shows us, we are all an amalgam of our sunny, gray, and in-between days.

And just like how the barometric pressure drops on those gray days, so does the stress to keep everything perfect when you post those everything’s-not-so-perfect posts. You release yourself from having to one up everyone, from having to find the perfect angle, from having to make those colors pop when they don’t want to. You let yourself be seen in those imperfect moments.

Sometimes on those gray days, if you’re lucky, the rain comes. And whether it shows up like a torrent or hints with sprinkles, it refreshes nonetheless. There’s a whoosh in the air when the sky opens up, like a sigh or a deep exhale. And it reminds you that these days, they are perfect, too. In their weight and their grayness and in their waiting to exhaleness.

By holding back the sunlight that seeps through our skin, they inherently show us how to embrace the gray days by that act of withholding. In taking out what we all consider beautiful they force us to find a new definition for what beauty truly is. And just how necessary this paradigm shift is for moving forward.

I’m sewing! I’m sewing!

This past Tuesday I learned how to not be scared of my sewing machine thanks to an Intro to Sewing course at Bits of Thread here in DC.

It was so momentous that I literally had the following clip from What About Bob? in my head:





I have slugged my grandmother’s old Singer sewing machine to my various apartments for over a decade now, yet been so scared of using it that I had only actually tried it out once or twice. I had literally become a Luddite, as I kept saying things like “it’s too fast” or “I can’t handle all those moving parts” whenever talk of me actually using it came up in conversation, as not only do I have it, but it sits permanently in my living room (it’s built in to a table).

So, I decided to face my crafty fear and go for it. Here are the results:


sewing



drawstring



Ahoy! Now how I know how Bob felt in that clip and feel so triumphant for having mastered my fear of the moving needle!

Curious, do you have any crafty fears? And if so, have you mastered them?

Cozy and Comfy

bobbinneedlepoint

I took this photo of Bobbin the other week and to me it pretty much embodies what, to me, is essential for “home,” a furry one and some handmade items. Every time I see her curled up with this pillow it reminds me how much I love my grandmother, who made it. As she gets older she likes to give away her things, and once when I was visiting her at her retirement home, she tucked this under my arm without warning and said, “I want you to have this.”

Store-bought pillows just don’t hold the same resonance, depth, and warmth. As lovers of things handmade, I think we are lucky to appreciate the work that goes into them, as they hold traces not just of the hands that made them, but of the people themselves.

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