I write every single day. For myself, in my day job and in my business. I also write for you. I can’t not write, just as I can’t not craft. It’s like I need to shape my thoughts into words and craft them into a deeper understanding.
I have been writing since I learned how to read and write. Actually even before that. My mother kept a notepad by the telephone. I had no idea what the notes said, but I knew the words and numbers were hers and that they were somehow keys to information. She wrote only the important things, no scribbling or doodling. I used to fill in all the words, following the curls that were unique to her. I knew the exact shape of her letters by heart and the connections between them.
Later, when I could write myself I had numerous penpals (does anyone have that these days?), practicing the shapes of my own words with them. I can quite easily identify handwriting by country – at least British, American, German and Austrian. I love the way many Austrians write numbers, especially the ones, with a strong and confident kickstand, reaching all the way from or even from beneath the baseline.
Dear Aunt Harriet
When I was around ten or twelve one of my favourite pen pals was my aunt Harriet. She worked as a teacher in Swedish, German and French through her entire adult life and had the most exquisite handwriting. Graceful but not extravagant. Just as was appropriate for a woman of her time and social class. She was born in 1930 and schooled in the art of cursive. She was my handwriting role model. I could sit for hours practicing a single letter or connection to make it just like hers, filling out every corner of the paper with J-s, P-s and O-s, not to mention my own signature. Very few people in my generation can read my handwriting, it’s way too old-fashioned for most people.
But it wasn’t just her handwriting. She wrote the sweetest letters and and cards. Personal, curious and kind. Up until her death this summer hers were the Christmas and birthday cards I looked forward to the most. One of the first things I did when she had died was to read the cards she had sent me in the last couple of years. My heart sang a silent song of joy for her life.
I used to keep a diary when I grew up and off and on since then. For the last couple of years, though, I have kept a beautiful leather notebook with handmade paper for my morning reflections. I’m actually on my sixth now. Every morning, after yoga and some reading, I write two pages. About anything that strikes my fancy really – the shape of the waves on the lake, the way the moon reflects in the water, the feeling of starting the day with yoga asana, how wool going through my hands makes my heart sing. Sometimes about something I have just read, sometimes as a practice before a blog post topic.
I start writing without a plan and go where my mind and hand lead me. On my morning reflections I do not judge, I just breathe the words that come. I need to write, I need to shape my thoughts with words, play with them and dress my reflections and experiences with the beauty they deserve. Writing is to me like any other craft – with my hands and my mind I craft the text and make words and paragraphs beautiful to the reader.
Even if handwriting takes time it can give me a closer relationship to the words. I literally (!) shape the words with my hands, giving them the same dedication, love and attention I did when I filled in my mother’s telephone notes or copied my aunt’s graceful letters. Handwriting gives me depth and quality while writing on a computer gives me time to catch up with a quick train of thought. Much like the difference between spinning with a spindle or with a spinning wheel. Together they provide qualities that none of them can give me on their own.
I write for me
When I write I create my own feedback loop. I dress my thoughts with words, read the words and understand my thoughts on a deeper level. I dress my newly found understanding with words and can understand on yet deeper levels. By writing I create my own understanding and development of a thought process.
My morning reflections are just for me. On another level they are for you too. Writing is much like any other skill – you need to practice to be good at it. Writing my morning pages helps me develop and sharpen my writing on this blog.
I write for work
In my day job I work as an administrative officer at a Swedish government authority. Every day I make and write decisions for teachers applying for a teacher license and authorization to teach in a specific subject, grade and form. One of my most important tasks is to make the decisions understandable to the receiver. I am imposed by law to inform all applicants about why they have or have not been granted an authorization. They have the legal right to know what we grant, what we reject and why.
As a government official I also need to follow the Swedish language act that states that the language in the public sector should be cultivated, simple and comprehensible (vårdat, enkelt och begripligt). I need to not only inform the applicants why they are granted or denied authority, but to also make sure they understand the decision I make. For that I need to craft my decision document in a cultivated, simple and comprehensible way. They need to know whether an appeal can make us change our decision or not. Every time a teacher appeals I need to review my decision with focus on both my assessment of the matter and how I have crafted the motivation in my decision. Every time I write a decision I have an impact on the trust the applicants have in the government authority I work for.
I write for you
A dear friend of mine linked to an article on Lithub. Ryan Lee Wong writes in the Intersection of Writing, Meditating, and Community about how living in a monastery taught him to shift from writing for himself to writing for others. He concludes:
All my usual neuroses about whether the novel is good or not, how it will be received, what it says about me—in short, the greater share of what I worried about when I began writing it—are beside the point. The novel is simply an offering, a chant recited for others. May it be of benefit.
I know I am a decent writer, spinner and spinning teacher. It is my responsibility – and joy – to share my gifts with others. Therefore I write for you. Every week in this blog, in my videos and in occasional articles. I share what I learn so that you may benefit from it. Just as I benefit every time I write.
I am no where near the deep insights in the quote above, but I know I am a part of a weave of reciprocity. From your support, your questions and your knowledge I receive more than you know. Writing about my own experiences and wool adventures is one way for me to give back to you. For every word I write I learn something new for myself, deepen my understanding and find new aspects and layers to write about.
Writing for you is writing for me. And back to you. Thank you for reading. You make me a better spinner, teacher and writer.
You can find me in several social media:
- This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. Subscribe or make an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
- My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to missanything!
- I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow me there.
- I run an online spinning school, welcome to join a course! You can also check out my course page for courses in Sweden.
- On Patreon you can get early access to new videos and other Patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patrons is an important way to cover the costs, time and energy I put into the videos and blog posts I create. Shooting and editing a 3 minute video takes about 5 hours. Writing a blog post around 3. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
- You are also welcome to make one-off donations on my Ko-fi page.
- Follow me on Instagram. I announce new blog posts, share images from behind the scenes and post lots of woolliness.
- Read the new book Knit (spin) Sweden! by Sara Wolf. I am a co-author and write in the fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.
- In all the social media I offer, you are more than welcome to contact me. Interacting with you helps me make better content. My private Facebook page, however, will remain private.
- I support Centro de textiles tradicionales del Cusco, a group of talented textile artists in Cusco, Peru who dedicate their work to the empowerment of weavers through the revitalization and sustainable practice of Peruvian ancestral textiles in the Cusco region. Please consider supporting their work by donating to their causes.