Five years ago I started a scrapbook. Not a deliciously designed affair in the manner of all you wonderful artists out there, but a true, scrappy book, full of this and that, stuck in at random with little attention to layout , and scrawled all over in pencil- poems, snippets from books, recipes, bits from the novel I haven’t got around to writing yet and quotes that spoke to my heart at the time.
It is, I think one of my most precious belongings, because in it’s own demented way it tells my story:- dreams for the wedding I never had (A palazzo in Venezia, in an Italian vintage veil), my cluckiness for a babba in the year before Finn was born, passing fantasies (I want a dog.), self inflicted lines, apparently as punishment (I do things I shouldn’t, I do things I shouldn’t over and over again, and on another page, It isn’t enough, it isn’t enough, it isn’t enough…), lines staight out of Sex and The City (I fancied myself as the Englismans answer to Carrie Bradshaw at the time!!), poems I hardly understood at the time ( "At 3.am, the room contains no sound, except the ticking of a clock which has begun to panic like an insect trapped in an enormous box, Books lie open on the carpet. Somewhere else , you’re sleeping and beside you there is a woman who is crying quietly, so you won’t wake." by Wendy Cope), images of domestic bliss contradicted by unspoken longing for goodness knows what, housekeeping advice, lists of books I wanted to read, and words of wisdom from women better than I.
And then it stops. All of a sudden. The last completed page features a short article by Danzy Senna on being thirty two. A sunlit image of a creamy yellow dining room. A quote from Barbara Jordan- In the morning I say: "What is my exciting thing for today?"…Don’t ask me about tomorrow… (Don’t you just love that??), a picture of Madonna looking suitably demure, a recipe for herb popovers and a snippet about depression from "The Noonday Demon" – "Depression is the flaw in love. To be creatures who love we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair."
And after that nothing. Half a book filled with blank pages begging to be filled with dreams.
So what happened? Finley and then hot on his heels, BrocanteHome, two years old last week. I no longer feel the urge to glue things onto paper because this blog satisfies my urge to express myself. And yet, and yet and yet…
There is an honesty in the pages of that scrapbook that cannot exist in a blog. This isn’t to say that what is here isn’t the truth, but that I am constantly aware of my audience and some how find myself censoring my thoughts accordingly.
In the past few days, both Autum and Alicia have written about the mixed emotions blogging inspires in all of us who have let it shape our days. It is something I have often talked about because in so many ways blogging has changed my life, created order where there was chaos, helped me document the first few years of my babbas life and the last few of my relationship, and I think, inspired me creatively at every turn.
But I am not a good blogger, because I’m not really sure that I have fully embraced the concept of community. I get shy. Lurk around other peoples blogs, laughing and crying with them and never saying a word. I consume every comment I recieve with glee, and never continue conversations I myself have started. I am a disastrous blogging buddy. Never take part in memes or swaps, email other bloggers to tell them how one of their posts has made my day, or or once or twice, changed the way I see life. You see BrocanteHome to some degree exists in a vacuum of my own making and I suspect it is because of some deep rooted anxiety about revealing too much and yet not saying quite enough. That somehow I never quite made the leap between scrapbooking my dreams and indeed my despair and allowing that to become anything more than words that spill out of me, somewhat unbidden.
So I write. And I write. Sometimes prolifically. Sometimes not a lot. I make it pretty with pictures I stash from all over and I appreciate every reader I have more than can possibly explain. Perhaps blogging offers more opportunity for self analysis than any one person could possibly need, and yes I suspect that occasionally I am a tad more self indulgent than I should be, (It’s my blog and I’ll cryif I want to!) but I make sense of my world here and feel no obligation to share that that I am not ready to share, not because I afraid of judgement but because somehow I trust myself to reveal, word by word, my truth. However and whenever it falls from my mouth.
Words matter to me you see. Wander around my house and you will see, indeed sense it in every room. From the bossy little indicments I write to myself on the kitchen blackboard, to the words of wisdom scrawled in violet ink on an old postcard stuck in my bathroom mirror (Act! Act for yourself. Do the hardest thing in the world for you. Face the truth!). From the different songs playing in every room- Frank Sinatra in the kitchen, Paolo Nuttini in the living room, and Chrystal Gayle in the bedroom, to the piles of magazines and books stacked wherever you look.
Our whole lives are scrapbooks. We are just so blessed these days to have such a wonderful medium to share them aren’t we? Regardless of what I think I am censoring, the truth is out there isn’t it? We just have to read between the lines occasionally.