Wednesday, January 31, 2007

orange square, thinking, skiing

Yes, I've been thinking again. Here, let's get the knitting content taken care of first, then you can navigate away if bathroom philosophy is not your bag. (That would be deep thoughts that come to one in the bathroom, NOT thoughts about the potty! Good grief. And why am I having deep thoughts in the bathroom? Well, isn't that about the only quiet place in the house? Yes.) What were we talking about?

I finished my square for the square-along out of the Knit Picks Bare 100% merino that I dyed with Kool-Aid. (Please, if you click on that link, forgive me for posting my dirty laundry on the internet. Apparently I have no shame. I know. Can you believe I actually put my dirty laundry on the internet? I've lost something here--Sense of proportion? Decency? Marbles?) Back to the knitting! [sound of whip cracking] Making this square made me want to knit a wee baby blanket for Kristen's pea-in-the-pod. Maybe I could get some other knitters to do some squares, too. Bueller? Bueller? (I'm fishing for replies here, Wendi and Julie. Anyone else?) Little squares like these are SO easy and quick!

May I just wax poetic for a moment about the color orange?

O orange, glow and gleam--
Thy radiance is of the sun
Whose beams, captured here
Burn eyes, but not skin.

Thank you for your patience.

So I was in the shower this morning, and I started thinking about how I was in Colorado last week, unknowingly mere minutes away from Marly and how fun and easy it would have been to hop in the car and go meet her. So as I stood there this morning getting pruny (it takes me a long time to have these deep thoughts) I pondered the emergence of a new social construct. I am becoming acquainted, nay, friends with people whom I'll possibly never meet in person. We share a passion for fiber arts and that has brought us to this medium, blogging, wherein we write about our knitting, certainly, but also we mix in intimate details of our lives. (Like dirty laundry, for Pete's sake. Sheesh.) A person like me has to be careful not to get sucked into reading blogs to the point of negecting her own life. It's the same problem I have with being drawn into a book and binge-reading until I'm done--except with blogs, there is no tidy ending. (Don't worry, I've discovered the solution for me: 15 minutes a day for blog reading--then I back away from the computer.)

Anyway--I was considering the network of relationships around the world, virtual friendships that enlarge the average person's circle of influence beyond what would ever have occurred in the past. Is this good? Is this bringing heightened awareness of the human family to which we all belong and increasing our understanding? Is this bad? Is this just feeding and unleashing the inner narcissist? Hmmm.

I went skiing last night! It was my first time downhill skiing and I loved it. My church had a night-skiing event and my older kids really wanted to go--so Eric stayed home with the little ones and I hit the slopes. I used to cross-country ski when I was young, but racing downhill, on the verge of collision and wipe-out is exhilarating! It's just one big adrenaline rush. No wonder people pay a lot of money for it. We've got a great little ski area nearby (30-45 minute drive, depending on RV encounters) and I want to go again--today and the next day and the next day...I'm already plotting the balaclavas and wool socks that I'll need to knit to be properly outfitted. Knitting and skiing, what a perfect combination. I can't believe I didn't see it before.


Kristen said...

You've truly never skied before? Never never? You grew up in ski country for crying out loud. Wow. When you said you weren't a skier, I figured you didn't like it/hadn't done it much/didn't have time, etc. Glad you enjoyed it!

I would so much like an afghan knit for my little one! How nice of you to seek others! And I still love your orange.

mjb said...

You can restrain yourself to 15 minutes a day? That's admirable. It's gonna take me like half an hour just to write this comment. Sorry if it's long.

It's curious, I was just thinking about meeting blog acquaintances in real life. There are a few people I've met online, via non-knitting blogs, whom I really (seem to) have a deep rapport with. I wish I could meet them but they're generally on other continents so it hasn't been much more than a theoretical idea, thankfully.

I think it's easy for knitting bloggers to get sucked into deep personal involvements, because the format for knitting blogs is so intentionally personal. Just crafting would get a little bit old, but once the blogger mixes craft with domestic frustrations and hilarity, there's a real person to empathize with and respond to. And there are so many of those people out there ... soon enough you're bound to find the ones you really like and WANT to be involved with. There's a much bigger pool of potential friends to choose from.

Is it narcissistic to have these relationships, or to seek them out by starting your own blog? I don't think so. The desire to express yourself and be understood is a good thing. It's not worshipping the self. I have a feeling that knitting blogs have probably saved a few people's emotional lives.

On the other hand I'm not sure that in every case the blog culture is a major increase in "understanding of the human condition" or whatnot. When you're reading blogs, you can choose the friends you have, and choose when you deal with them, and when you're writing blogs can choose the parts of yourself you show. It's easy and safe. I'm doing it now!

Being face to face is almost entirely different. You have to deal with them then and there. Cherry picking conversations and editing of the self would be pretty transparent and off-putting, when not absurd. E.g. on blogs you rarely see a mess in pictures of finished objects... it looks like some people live in the pages of Architectural Digest. But in person you'd see the mess that was just outside the edge of the photo, and hear the screaming kids... and worse I'm sure.

Of course most bloggers realize this on some level and carefully craft rafts of minor frustrations and imperfections so they don't seem too much like Reese Witherspoon. But the real frustrations, the true ones, the deep ones, the ones that would appear in a diary that is not for public view -- they aren't there.

At some point being a good friend is about loving people despite all their annoyances and imperfections and selfishnesses. On a blog you can't really show or see those. So maybe when you want to meet one of your blog friends, you're really saying, "Hey I've seen your public side. Now I think I'm ready for the rest of it. I'll show you mine (the stuff outside the edge of the photo, I mean) if you show me yours."

That's a daring thing to do. It's fraught with risks, because it might not work out. But it's fraught with prizes too... a real friend, plucked out of the electronic stew.

Cheers! mjb

Marly said...

Wow, I have to follow the longest comment I have EVER read on a blog!

I just wanted to say that I think making friendships on a blog or in a beautiful thing.

Next time...we gotta get together for a Sit and Stitch when you are in Colorado! You never know, maybe you and I will make other friends and we could arrange a big Knitting Get Together in Vail?

Sounds like fun to me. So let it be written; So let it be done!

Knit In Vail 2008!


Sônia Maria said...

I love squares!
Your job is lovely.
Sônia Maria