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18 Why I write: the junkyard Muse

My turn. Not being much of a one for memes I resisted for as long as I could. But then Sarah at Mitenska picked exactly the right moment to ask me if I'd like to play and I found myself saying yes where previously I'd said no.

What are you working on?

Mostly this blog. But I also write occasional pieces for a handful of magazines and journals. And then there's the long-haul stuff - a by-product of my (sadly now abandoned) PhD - which concerns two obscure eighteenth-century natural scientists, and Emmanuel Swedenborg, and strangeness and skulduggery in Georgian London. Ultimately it will be a book.

How does your writing differ from others in your genre?

Can I skip this one please? As I mentioned in my previous post, I've come to see blogging as akin to bricolage ... the collecting together of a miscellany of whatever is to hand. My mind is a lot like a reclamation yard, filled to overflowing with bits of this and that. Two or three times a week I rummage through the accumulated junk and pick out the makings of a blog post. I guess you could call it mystery writing because I've generally not got a clue where I'm going when I begin.

Why do you write what you do?

Often I set out to surprise myself*. If I can surprise and entertain you, too, then all the better because principally I blog to connect**. And better still if from time to time - and I'm paraphrasing Cicero here so I'd like to think I'm in good company - I can leave us with something to think about.

When I wrote as knitsofacto I resisted the notion that this was a knitting blog. I enjoy knitting, I'm actually quite good at it, but possibly the worst advice I was ever given was to write exclusively about it. Happily, I failed. That I knit is part of the mix, nothing more.

And now I'm writing as me? Expect more from the junk yard! Juxtapositions, oppositions, digressions, excursions, maybe a few alarums. Plus knitting and natural dyeing, of course.

Or there's this: 'Our stories are the masks through which we can be seen ... with every telling we stop the flood and swirl of thought so someone may get a glimpse of us, and ... catch us if they can.' (Madeleine Gromet).

How does your writing process work?

Randomly. Starting points - prompts if you will - and more developed ideas, all scribbled onto Post-it notes, are kept in my planner from Fox and Star. (Never yellow post-its though, they're reserved for book related stuff.) I often wing it. When it comes to blog posts I can rarely find the words before I've found the accompanying image. Sometimes the image will be the prompt. I like tangents. I like to check my facts. A ton of stuff gets cut. The process is easily as important as the product. It all takes a good while.

I'm not going to attempt to pass the 'Why I write' baton on to anyone in particular ... you've surely all carried it already. If you haven't and you'd care too ... it's yours. Do let me know if you pick it up.

You might also enjoy this post - On blogging: Remember Jack Kerouac - which covers similar ground.

The image up top, taken with my iPhone5, actually belonged to a blog post about iPhoneography that didn't get written on Sunday. On Saturday my ailing elderly father was involved in a parking incident. Fans of The Shipping News will understand when I say that the newspaper headline might have read, 'Pensioner in ram raid on supermarket!'. Luckily the only thing broken was plate glass and the only things dented the car's bumper and his pride. But it's been a difficult few days as he struggles to accept that he's no longer safe behind the wheel and will have to rely on others - aka me! - for transport. In consequence I'm even further behind with my blog reading ... a catch up is imminent, I promise.

* I was tempted there to digress into a consideration of autobiographical writing as othering the self, but I do try to keep the didactic, academic me in check so I didn't.

** As C.S. Lewis put it: "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one." I'd say that holds true for virtual connections too.


57 Who?

I've always rather liked the idea of taking your house with you when you relocate. So I have.
New url, new title, same 'ol blog.
I might have spiffied the place up a little bit and rearranged the furniture in a couple of the rooms, but essentially all is as it was, just minus the knitso' moniker, which shall henceforth be reserved for knitty only contexts*.

Why? I blame Mark Kerstetter. I've always thought of my kind of blogging as akin to bricolage - in essence, a miscellaneous collection of whatever is to hand - and it's a view that Kerstetter, a poet, shares ...
'The best blogs are acts of bricolage, a new kind of collage, incorporating images, texts, ideas. Why not use them all? And while you’re at it, be yourself.'
Annie Cholewa, a bricoleur with a butterfly mind. That's me! And knitsofacto? One of the hats I sometimes wear.

Of course, dropping a truly unique brand may prove to be the daftest thing I've ever done, but handily I'm a one-off too. There are Anne's and Anna's out there with the same unpronounceable surname - it's far from phonetic - but Google 'Annie Cholewa' and you'll find me every time**. I guess I'd better watch my Ps and Qs! Particularly as I've finally shared a mug shot of sorts on the about page***.

Most of us no longer hide behind pseudonyms and such on social media yet it remains the norm among bloggers to blog anonymously, and at a time when the (somewhat nebulous) notion that we should 'keep it real' is drifting through Blogtopia. I'd be interested in your thoughts on why that's so. Would you blog as you?

Write under your full name and I'd say you become more accountable but less fettered ... I'm already liking how that feels!

PS Did you spot the old Airstream in the photo?

PPS If I've done the job properly all email and Bloglovin subscribers should be notified of this post as normal, and likewise your blogrolls should update. Fingers crossed!

PPPS If you're a regular here and can't find content you're looking for try the more button top right.

* I'm still knitsofacto on Ravelry, and the knitsofacto Facebook page will continue as a place for me to share knitty items of interest that don't make it into the knitting content posted here.

** You'll also find a reference to the whippets lure coursing, which involves an artificial lure made from shredded carrier bags and a fun day out (and is absolutely not to be confused with greyhound racing or blood sports). The resident hounds absolutely love it but only rarely get to participate as lure coursing opportunities are rather limited here in the wilds of Wales.


75 Away

Madeleines, to illustrate the theme 'in search of lost time'

In search of lost time, or remembrance of things past.

The image of the madeleines* was one of the first to appear on knitsofacto, almost three and a half years ago. Proust's words I added today. And then I did the virtual equivalent of cancelling the milk and the papers, and persuading a neighbour to feed the cat.

After three and a half years of blogging two or three times a week I need a break, a bloggy holiday. A working holiday - I'll be revisiting my first love, photography, in the company of a couple of excellent tutors - but a holiday none the less. Back in mid July I hope. And who knows, maybe I'll send you a postcard or two in the mean time, to thank you for all your lovely comments of late.

Au revoir!

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