Tracy Lee Karner
The Way I Was

My Diamond Jubilee!

Tracy Lee Karner
No, these aren’t diamonds. I don’t own any diamonds because I think diamonds are boring.

This is my 75th, my diamond, my brilliant, sparkling, exquisitely-valuable blog post! I’ve been blogging for a year now. Thanks for coming to my Jubilee Celebration.

I’m still in shock over the tragedy in neighboring Boston, and I can barely imagine the depth of pain of the families and friends of the injured and lost…

but I have learned that in the midst of darkness, there remains a memory of past, and a promise of future light. And because of those memories and hopes, we who live, must keep creating–keep writing, painting, singing, dancing, loving.

Back in the ’90’s people  called a moment of enlightenment, of light breaking into the darkness, an epiphany-moment. The insight comes. The Aha-now-I-see-it instant arrives. I had one of those moments this week, while thinking about my blog. If this were a movie, the music would swell emotionally, the thunder would clap, the rain would shower, everything would indicate the promises of spring, new growth, abundance…

I discovered a simple little thing that changes the way I think about blogging: I hate Categories. They corral my thinking into boxes. They make me believe I have to whittle things down, to fit into a mold. They do something I really, really hate having done to me–they limit my understanding, which limits compassion.

I’m no anarchist, and I understand that categories are useful for some people. But as for me and my blog–I’m done with them.

Poof! They’re gone. Ta-da–

look over to the navigation guide on the right. No more categories! (Oh, if only the whole world could be fixed just like that!)

For a year now, I’ve been herding my limitless thoughts into a narrow categories–food, writing, creative people I admire… No good can come of all that confinement.

It has felt like trying to fit a watershed–all the springs, brooks, and rivulets that flow together to make a mightily-rushing river–into a 2-quart pitcher. It just won’t happen.

And now I feel free to blog about my real life, and all my Whitmanesque interests and passions (I am large, I contain multitudes)–art; ecologically-minded fashion; food; gardening; nature; friends and family; the pursuit of excellence; books; pottery; glass; the joy of nurture; the sanity of wellness; textiles & yarn; meaningful work; sustainability; did I mention food? slowwwww-food-natural & seasonal living-walkable communities-respect for the environment-artists-designers-creative-people and everything else that I love! And everything else I want to explore!

It always takes me a while to get the hang of a new adventure (in this case, blogging). First, I want to do the accepted thing. But that never works out because pretty soon I start seeing how the accepted thing doesn’t work for me. Sometimes the accepted norm is inconvenient, or just plain dumb, and in some groups (among gangs, terrorists, coercive sales organizations,  agencies/companies/people who believe that monetary profit is more important than decency), the accepted thing is just plain wrong.

Categories are hindering my creativity. So, I’m re-introducing my newly conceptualized blog–without Categories. (Whenever something is limiting my ability to respond creatively and passionately, I’ve found great success by just cutting it out. Delete it. Get rid of it!)

So, hello again, world! Welcome to my passionate, creative search for a natural, seasonal lifestyle. I call it Artisanal Living.

By reconceptualizing my blog, I have set myself free to blog as my un-categorizable self!

(For this transformation, I owe credit–for inspiration–to an  intelligent, creatively wide-ranging, un-categorizable blogger–click here to visit Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog)

What small thing are you going to do this spring, to liberate your thinking? And who is inspiring you?

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11 thoughts on “My Diamond Jubilee!”

  1. Good for you! I usually write a blog post and then look at the categories to the right and think how they really don’t fit. I sometimes just end up with “uncategorized.” But since I’m trying to build a following around one theme, I find that my blog posts are pretty focused. There was something I wanted to write about the other day, but since it didn’t really fit I’ll just have to put it somewhere else. I’m still in that “platform” mode, but at some point I’ll probably shift to a broader perspective.

    1. Yes, I totally understand “that ‘platform’ mode.” And, it IS a proven technique that brings results. It’s always a weird balancing act for me, trying to discern when/where to follow the prevailing customs (I really don’t believe in anarchy), and when/where the prevailing customs are too limiting and confining for what I’m really trying to accomplish. The hardest thing is, because I’m such an intuitive person, I rarely can articulate what I’m trying to accomplish until after I’ve accomplished it. And then I know. (Just like writing–when the process leads to the conclusion you wouldn’t have reached without the process). trying to achieve!

  2. First of all: Congratulations on your Diamond Jubilee! As soon as I read the headline, images of the Queen popped up in my head and the connection between you and Lizzie (or even Vicky) made me chuckle…

    Good call on getting rid of the categories. I think we all are always trying to figure out what works for us and what not. To me, and to my readers, it helps to have these categories because my blog is about one pretty narrow subject (which contains a multitude of worlds in itself, so the categories help). But I fully see how this getting rid of categories can liberate you. Awesome. I am looking as much forward to following and participating in your journey as ever.

    I’m going big to liberate my thinking this spring, summer, as you probably know. To me, travelling is the big liberator. Not travelling to get to a destination and tick it off, but travelling to experience a new culture, share, friend and befriend. My cousin is coming to visit in a week, then we’re heading to California for the first time in my life and I will meet Nina’s grandmother for the first time, then our two months in South East Asia in July and August. I become really uneasy if I don’t get these new culture, far away exposed-ness to my innermost self, these mind-widening experiences. Our last such trip was to Zanzibar, Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro in 2011. So it was high time. 🙂 At the end of this traveling frenzy in September I hope I’ll have recharged.

    On people inspiring me, that is actually a tough one. I could not put a name on it, but it is people that do their thing, without regard what others might think of them. That live the way they want to live and that works for them, even if it is incomprehensible for others. I am on a good path on this, having liberated myself from a lot of conventions that used to fill my life. And I feel good about it.

    Again, congratulations on you Diamond, Queen Tracy.

    1. I am so excited ! I too, have just taken a vow to follow my nose more this year. It has already taken me on some great adventures. I can’t wait to see the inspiration that this new found freedom brings. I am quite sure that it will be a gift for blogger and blog-ee alike. It is true that diamonds are a girls best friend, look at you sparkle !!!!

        1. We as a society in general have become so conforming. We watch our calendars, and our clocks, we follow schedules, we try to please everyone else first, and what little energy is left we devote to sleep. Spontaneity is the word of the year for me. Some days I will wake in the morning, and just explore this wonderful world. That might mean setting off for a hike in the woods, attending a concert or lecture, exploring an intriguing city or town, spending a whole day just wandering, photographing things just the way I want them to be seen, or just soaking up the sun.

          1. Wonderful — I think over-scheduling is killing our joy. You’ve got the right word, I think. It’s so important to me to leave room for spontaneity. I’m sure this will be a beautifully amazing year for you.

    2. Thank you, Oliver! And congratulations on your liberation–not easy for anyone to accomplish, and it’s especially difficult for us convention-honoring Germans.

      K & I were talking about you again this week–we had lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant, whose incredible owner immigrated in the 1990’s–was telling us about how he learned to cook, from his uncle who owned a restaurant in Saigon before the communists took over, how everything changed, how it sent them all into exile to save their lives. (Are you going to Vietnam this summer, that was the question?) I’m planning a blog on his passion for delivering tasty, fresh food, which means we’ll have to go back to take pictures and eat, which, of course, we don’t mind. (Just an aside: travel and wine are inextricably linked, aren’t they?)

      1. Thank you, Tracy! And that restaurant sounds amazing, really. There is so much to be gained in food from passion!

        We are still on the fence about Vietnam. Initially we thought we’d definitely do it, but we are realizing more and more that even 2 months are limited. And because Vietnam forces us to get a visa before entry, and other countries don’t we’re weighing our options. We’ll definitely do Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Then hopefully Indonesia, too. And maybe Vietnam. Things have been crazy here, so we are only slowly getting to thinking about the trip…

        And I am not sure wine and travel are inextricably linked, there are areas where I would not even dream of wine in this world, but Nina and I quite naturally incorporate it in many ways…we will hopefully be visiting some Thai wineries (they exist!) that a German in Bangkok who is from Trier and blogs about wine will recommend to us. 🙂

  3. Congratulations on one year!! And good for you, for following your bliss (actually that’s probably 90s too, or 80s?) and eliminating pesky categories.

    Your post makes me smile, because I love categories! I recently moved my photoblog to wordpress and that was one of the reasons… I can put my posts in categories and post as often as I like because I have no followers to be bugged by too frequent posting. Perhaps this is my move to liberate my thinking.

    But I know how unsettling it can be to writing and other creative endeavors when something feels out of whack and you’re not sure what it is but it’s silencing you.

    Am looking forward to updates on your Artisanal Life.

    1. Oh-oh, I remember “following your bliss,” but can’t remember which decade it defines (possibly it was a transitional thing–late 80’s AND early 90’s?)

      I understand why you love categories. Actually, it was a total shock to me to realize that in this instance, for this blog, they’re not useful to me. Normally I love concise definitions and clear labels. So “hate” was probably too strong a word. Maybe “reject (for now)” would be more accurate.

      Becoming more free/liberated is always a process, I think. I’m glad to hear that the categories are working for you to organize your photo-blog. Now that you mention it, I realize that having followers makes me assume a certain responsibility to make my posts more than just a journal for myself. I had forgotten about the private feature–I might end up using that to incubate ideas. I’m finding that I’m losing ideas because I don’t capture them in draft on the computer–blogging is changing the way I process my creative thoughts. I used to do all my initial inspiration with pen/ink. Now I’m finding that I can type so much faster than I can write by hand, that I often prefer to let the words flow through the keyboard (and I was certain that would NEVER happen!) It shows how amazingly adaptive our brains are made.

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