Monday, September 17, 2007

Turning Points

This is the time of year when Jews reflect on the past year and consider what is ahead of us. We contemplate the actions we have taken and those we have not, all in an effort to help us see where we want to go and how to get there. I find myself at a crossroads this year.

I often see my life as a series of radically transformative moments. After one of these bolts of lightening flashes across my sky, growth follows in more-or-less predictable ways until the next storm arrives.

Some of these flashes of lightening have been completely out of my control: a violent rape when I was 17 that turned me into pacifist feminist introvert, the brain tumor and surgery, the birth of my child. Other turning points have been the result of relatively casual conversations (such as one that radically reorganized the way I approach religion), or books (such as Toni Weshler's book on fertility, which I found so empowering that I cannot imagine having had a homebirth or choosing to homeschool if I had not read it), or even festivals (like the Smithsonian Folklife Festival a few years ago with food as one of its themes).

Earlier this year, a documentary served as the first rumblings of a new storm. I've read a ton since then and done a lot of thinking. Usually, this blog is a place for me to work out some of my thoughts--but I've been nervous about talking about anything too disturbing on this blog--a blog which most people expect to be about fiber, food, and family.

Interestingly, I realized over Rosh Hashanah that the turning points in my life don't actually transform me but rather bring to the foreground some part of me that hasn't necessarily been as obvious. Certainly I was an introverted feminist pacifist before the rape, and I've always been a home-body hippie, too. But each of these moments changes the angle of my vision--and also the angle from which others see me.

I'm not a funny writer, nor am I one full of clever words*. Instead I am ridiculously earnest--yet I tend to be reluctant to write about extremely personal things, especially about fear. As you might have guessed from the appallingly low number of posts this summer, I have not been completely fulfilled by the blog recently. I've wanted to write about things I felt were taboo. I did not want to talk about difficult and painful things when you just came for pictures of a Swallowtail shawl or a photo of our little homegrown figs.

I am ready to climb back in the blog saddle--but be forewarned: I've brought more baggage for the journey this time.



*As Edgar Allan Poe says in the epigraph to the real "The Purloined Letter":
"Nothing is more hateful to wisdom than excessive cleverness."

18 comments:

Jennifer Jeffrey said...

Hey, there are no baggage limits here - bring your hat box and your sailing trunk and your carry-on bag, and let's see what you've got! ;-) I'm looking forward to your upcoming posts.

(thanks for the link to your piece about the brain tumor - I had never read that before - quite well written).

The Tell-Tale Heart said...

Are other folks jealous that I get to hear about what you are thinking before you blog about it? They should be. You continue to surprise and inspire me. Thank you for sharing yourself and your storms. Love -- David

the tell-tale heart said...

PS -- I like the new tag line "think some more", the new look, the expanded sidebar, and especially the quote about hiding in plain sight.

Sheepish Annie said...

I read blogs for good writing as much as anything. Yours always make me think. I find myself reflecting back on your words as they describe even the simpler things in life: food, family, the earth...it doesn't surprise me in the least to know that you process these on much deeper levels. The undercurrents are there and I really look forward to your further developing your writing in this format.

Specs said...

I read your blog because I like what *you* have to say. Baggage and all :)

Welcome back.

Greta_Jane said...

I always enjoy your stories and ruminations, so I will look forward to what you have to say! Writing and reflecting are excellent pursuits, as is knitting, and a life is hard to divide up into segments.

Greta_Jane said...

Um, sorry, I'm borrowing a friend's computer... that was Lazuli posting (http://knittingbetween.blogspot.com), not Greta Jane!

TheAmpuT said...

I can't wait. Mostly because you are so much braver than I. I have so many things I have wanted to blog about, but haven't for they are so....big, I guess. I look forward to reading.
And by the way, I actually thought of YOU when we lit the candles...its' true. I've learned quite a few things about the religion that I was born into, but wasn't quite immersed enough in.
Happy (belated) New Year :-)

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

Bring it on!

Kat said...

I look forward to seeing the "baggage" you brought.

I myself know about the fear of what to write and what to say. So far too often I just don't say much of anything. Which isn't fair to me but anything else scares the tar out of me.

Liz K. said...

hannah, this is your blog, and you determine the content. As a writer, I know you immediately consider the audience, and this change might alter your audience over time. But if you are courageous enough to put it out there, someone will read it.

beadlizard said...

My favorite posts of yours are the thought-provoking ones.

I keep my blog tame but venture in private correspondence, more because I prefer the one-on-one interface than any privacy issues.

It's your canvas.

Speaking of which, the new format is easier to read. Thanks.

FemiKnitMafia said...

Bring on the baggage. I'm here for all of it. Whatever you have. Bring it.

Rachel said...

This is just an echo of sentiments expressed here in the comments numerous times, but, hey, that's why we read you!

Sara said...

oh yay - bring it on!

Martha H said...

I like the way you make me think beyond the daily grind and create thought provoking reflection. In fact, I admire you for that. Thank you.

Kate A. said...

Just adding to the chorus - from the very first time I read your blog, I liked it because it made me think. About knitting, yes, and food, and family, but often about much bigger things and those have been my favorite posts already...so say whatever's on your mind - because we like your mind and trust it!

CygKnit said...

I'm here for every evolution of your blog, and to learn from you as you grow.

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