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Keeping it REAL

October 7, 2010

Here's the latest bracelet to be added to my store -- faceted soladite surrounded by silver spirals -- 50 items now in stock!

As much as I might like to tinker around with wire and pliers making pretty jewelry all day (and take pictures of it and write about it, too), the fact of the matter is this blog is only a little window on the rest of my life. Another big part of my life is spent developing recipes and editing cookbooks, and many of my friends who do the same also maintain fabulous food blogs. Mouthwatering, amazing blogs that leave me drooling when I read them, which is often.

I thought for a long time about starting my own food blog, but the fact is that spending time in the bead world helps me keep a good perspective on the food stuff. Some might even call it a healthy distraction because let’s face it — having my kitchen table covered with beads half the time definitely limits my ability to throw decadent dinner parties, overindulge and then write about it. Besides, I love making things with my hands, whether it’s pizza dough or precious metal clay, and putting together a good jewelry design is another way for me to exercise my editing skills without worrying about words. I like finding the right mix of ingredients, establishing an attractive pattern (or asymmetrical approach) and thinking about the story I can tell. It’s like cross-training for me, only I rarely sweat when I’m beading (which is a good thing).

However, one of my food friends today shared a blog post that made me think about what I’m trying to do here. The blogger has a fabulous site called The Yummy Mummy, and she wrote a very heartfelt post about what she refers to as ‘the food writing trap.’ Here’s the link — you should definitely read it for yourself — but the upshot is she wants to come to terms with the tendency to capture only the idyllic qualities about food and family.

Her insights really resonated with me and shed light on some of the other reasons I don’t have a food blog — for all the terrific meals and recipes I’ve created over the years, sometimes things are far from perfect. Sometimes I burn things and it stinks up the house; I hate dealing with garbage, nasty refrigerators and dirty dishes so I tend to ignore them hoping they’ll go away on their own; I’ve even yelled at my kids more than a few times (big surprise, right?).  Even though I know these “facts” are practically universal to the human condition, they are all really hard statements to write for someone else to read. But this little exercise also made me wonder what I might be editing out of my blog posts about jewelry.

Like how much time I spend watching item views instead of actually making jewelry … or how many times I’ve taken things apart and remade them because whatever I was making wasn’t perfect enough … how sometimes I just stare at my beads and can’t think of a darn thing to make … or how I often struggle to keep things barely organized and moving forward … I could go on and on, but the point is within each of these less-perfect realities, there are probably hundreds of stories I haven’t told you. We are very conditioned to believe that the only story worth telling is the happy one that let’s us escape from the miserable parts of life. And I think it’s human nature to want to make other people feel good. But really, isn’t that sad, too? We are so caught up in being clever and interesting that we forget to keep it real.

Don’t worry ~ I’m not looking to become the Debbie Downer of the bead world, but I think there’s merit in being more honest in what we choose to reveal about ourselves in the blogosphere. Maybe it’s time to dust off the projects that have languished in the bottom drawer of my bead cabinet and try to bring this little window here into sharper focus. After all, it’s probably the best way to figure out that I’m not the only one out there who has beading issues now and then. But now I’m curious ~ is there anything in particular that you want to share?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2010 3:17 pm

    I think there is such value in being real, instead of being pretty all the time. Some of the most compelling writing comes from dark places and while watching craftopolis 10 times a day isn’t the biggest secret in my closet, it is not something I readily admit. Thanks for the honesty. Come visit my blog:

  2. October 7, 2010 3:59 pm

    Thanks, Charmed! Love your blog ~ I wish I had known about that on-sale site you mentioned before my last big sale … You’re now on my blogroll so I can check back for more great info.

  3. October 8, 2010 4:15 pm

    I write a cooking blog (in fact, I just replied to your comment over there, which reminded me to check my blogroll and see if you’d posted!).

    My blog philosophy is to share new ideas/tweaks, and I guess if there is a recipe that might technically qualify as a disaster but have enough usefulness otherwise I would still post it (to qualify, it would have to be a cool technique or rare vegetable or something of that nature; I never post a recipe I don’t tweak or write myself), but I have yet to run across one. At least for me I don’t think it’s a stylistic choice so much as a topics-covered-here decision. Though I do often make notes in the step-by-step portion for how I messed up, or how I would do it again the next time I make it. That’s actually one of the reasons I first started writing my blog – to keep track of changes to recipes I want to make again.

    Anyways, I always enjoy your posts, because they’re definitely thought-provoking. There is a blog I won’t name whose vibe seems to be “I’m not perfect” but it really comes across as perfectly-staged imperfection, and I find it intimidating. Funnily enough, I don’t find Martha Stewart’s magazine intimidating when I read it, so there’s that…

  4. October 10, 2010 6:16 pm

    Such a great post. I’m guilty of thinking “gah, why can’t I have THAT bloggers life!?!” enough times. It’s good to remember (and blog about) the real moments of life, not just the pretty ones.

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