As a knitter, I recently read a couple of articles about the upswing of making things by hand, and also an, um, unique competition for sock knitters, with great interest. “Handmade isn’t a fad… it’s a resurgence, one that is of a piece with the booming interest in organic food,” says the “Handmade 2.0″ article. An interesting thought, don’t you find?
“Okay,” you might be thinking, “But, Deb, what does this have to do with writing?”
Well, let me ask you a question. What are you reading right now?
A blog. Not something professional like a newspaper, book, or magazine, or even something “corporate,” like a website put up by a multi-national corporation with big bucks to spend. No, you’re reading a handmade, hand-produced article written by little, ol’ me. Nobody is paying me to write this for you, I’m doing it because I want to, for the pleasure of putting my opinions out there in the world. Except for the software that runs it, this blog is handmade. So are most of the blogs that you read. Their writers may or may not be making some money off of them, but most people are writing them for the pleasure of talking about something important to them–whether that is a hobby, current events, fashion, cooking, money-making tips, business matters. Except for “company bloggers,” most bloggers are putting their content together for the joy of the subject.
I think this is a wonderful thing–this broadening of resources and lines of communication. The “professionals” are no longer the only ones with a public voice. Because that’s the other thing that struck me about those articles–new and personal self-expression by looking at something that may be right under your nose, and doing something different with it. Taking the passion for knitting socks (yes, really) and turning it into a cut-throat competition. Putting together magazines and websites devoted to helping people realize the joy of making something new, with their hands and their wits.
Because, well … think about that, too. Isn’t that the essence of writing just about anything? Taking your store of words and assembling them into some sequence that communicates, enlightens, informs, or entertains in a way that nobody else could duplicate. You’re spinning your words together in a totally unique way, because nobody else can think quite like you can. Which makes whatever you write handmade, and totally your own.
Now, “homespun” has the connotation of being rustic and less-than-perfect. Elegant characters in books are never described as wearing homespun clothing. A folksy person might described as talking with a homespun style. But don’t let that make you think that any “hand-made” writing you may do is less than ideal. People were keeping themselves warm and dry with homespun fabric for centuries before you could walk into a store and buy the stuff.
My feeling is that, these days, when we’re surrounded by so many commercial, mass-manufactured things, a whiff of “hand-made” is a good thing. It brings back the personal touch.
Not to mention that extra satisfaction of having created something of your own.
So, show your homespun blog entries with pride. Or your hand-made pottery, your handspun yarn. Or your own, personal angle at how to do something, learn something, teach something . . . Because, that’s the wonderful thing about making something of your very own–you’ve created something totally new and all your own.