Sunday, May 16, 2010

Purpose

Today I want to take a step back and write about the purpose of this blog. Why do I have a blog about knitting and CrossFit? What do they even have in common? Why did I start this blog in the first place? Do I continue to write it for the same reasons or have my reasons changed?

People have different reasons for blogging. Some see it as a diary that other people may happen to read, that they're essentially writing for themselves. Others see it as a public face, providing a service or entertainment to their readers. Still others use it as a platform for writing or research - perhaps providing the foundations of a book. And some use it as a forum, a way to create or join a community of like-minded individuals.

Partly, I started the blog as a way to connect with others. I had been reading lots of blogs, especially knitting blogs, for a while, and I felt the sense of community that arose from it. I think knitters are often introverts, who isolate themselves, and joining a virtual community can be a good way to address that isolation while staying in your comfort zone. I also wanted to hone my writing skills, to become a more fluent writer. I promise, there's nothing like writing every day to make you better at it.

But the main reason I started blogging is that I felt like I had something to say, something to share. At first glance, most people would think that knitting and CrossFit have nothing in common, but they are both very important to me, and my message is, in part, the call of the aesthetic, the physical, and the practical, and how these are integrated in my two biggest interests.

CrossFit and knitting may seem radically different, but they play similar roles in my life. As an introvert and a researcher, I spend a lot of time in my own head. I remember as a kid, I loved long car trips because it gave me time to think. Really think, for hours on end, without interruptions. As I went through school - college, grad school - staying in my head was a good thing, and I was rewarded for all my thinking. But voids started to appear. I lost touch with the practical, the hands-on, the aesthetic, the physical. I needed outlets that could be both intellectually stimulating/"thinky" to keep me interested, but also that I could just shut down and do.

I found knitting first. Its practicality and repetition appealed immediately to me. I could sit down and knit row by row, or round after round, and slowly my mind would quiet. When I got bored, I could pick up something more interesting, puzzle over a problem, brainstorm ideas. But for the most part, I still prefer simpler knitting.

CrossFit did the same thing for me. While I have plenty of analysis, agonizing, and overthinking after the workout, when I'm actually doing it, often my mind will quiet down. There's just the pain and the simple goal of getting through it. That's why it's so hard to take rest days - mentally, the workout IS my rest. It's the one time each day that I know I can't think about work, about people, about my life and my future. It's just me and those pull-ups, or cleans, or sprints, or whatever. A simple goal to face. Just like that next row of knitting - to be accomplished one stitch or one rep at a time.

So back to the purpose of the blog. The community aspect has faded a bit. I have made some great connections with people through the blog, but for the most part, it has been a lonely endeavor. The writing practice is great, and it has given me some confidence to pursue some writing goals for the future. But it is not a driving force for daily posts. What keeps me blogging is that I still have something to say. It's not a simple, clear statement - it's a swirling cloud of thoughts that occasionally takes shape. Some days, what speaks to me is a photograph of a quilt, or an article that makes me think, or a comic that makes me laugh, and I don't know how these things fit together with the CrossFit and knitting parts, but I still want to share them as part of my view of the world.

I know my message is in there, somewhere in the intersection of what CrossFit and knitting provide for me, and shaped and molded by all the other bits and pieces that speak to me. I hope I can reach out to people and eventually connect with them over this message. Perhaps I will just give them something to think about. That is enough.

1 comment:

Jane said...

I have enjoyed your blog, Amy. It helps me understand your day to day thoughts and experiences, keeps me in touch with you. I enjoy both the informational and the creative aspects of your writing and hope that you'll continue write the blog - and to enjoy it.