Monday, 1 April 2013

On Legacies

About two years before Grandad died, he sent me a small packet of tomato seeds to plant. I decided I didn't have space to grow tomatoes, so I left them in my bag of seed packets and forgot about them. The seeds came as part of one of the relatively few times he and I connected with each other in his final years. Ironically, another thing I inherited from Grandad was a propensity for procrastination and hoarding, so it's little wonder the seeds lay forgotten for a while. So, when I decided to grow some veggies in the back yard space at my new home, I came across this packet of seeds and thought it would be fitting to try to grow the tomatoes this year.

Watching the seeds finally begin to grow, despite the tentative start to spring that we've had here, it got me thinking on the subject of legacies.

Grandad left behind a lot of things, including this photo of himself from when he was working in Switzerland:

And a photo of his mum and uncle as children, with his grandparents (my great great grandparents) from around 1900:

And of course this memory from shortly after my 30th birthday when we went to visit him last Spring:

What we leave behind in this world can take so many forms. I've often thought about this when I've been creating things - artwork, photos, writing, craft - and if anything I've made will leave an impact.

Earlier this year a dear friend of mine, who has supported me in some difficult times, experienced the terribly sad loss of her partner. Friends of hers who had connected with her due to her blog and artwork almost immediately reached out across the world, via this internet magic that we have, to pass a virtual hat around to collect what they could to help her with the financial burden that was adding to her grief. The response was terrific and touching and restored my faith in the generosity of people. It also struck me that the most important legacies we leave aren't in the things we make, but the things we do for others. I find a lot of beauty in the reciprocal nature of this - it's probably the closest I get to believing in karma - to think that the help given to my friend was a reflection on the positive impact herself and her partner had made on others, sometimes even in the smallest of ways.

I was watching this TED talk by Amanda Palmer today which inspired me in a similar way:

Perhaps partly because of all this introspection on the subject of the impact a life can have, I decided to stop selling on Etsy. The decision was a long time coming (in true family tradition, I put it off for some time) but I have to admit, when I finally set up the closing down sales in my shops I felt a sense of relief and release. I can go work on something else now, and it's not too late to do the things I want with my life (and, quite importantly, to figure out what they ARE!). I do feel sad to be leaving behind something I put several years into, but I'm trying not to see it as a failed venture but more as a portion of my life that can inform the next.

I once wrote to my grandad and asked him about my grandma (who passed away before I was born) and he wrote me this lovely story of how they had met.

I hope I leave something behind that will be treasured too.

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Amazing Disappearing, Reappearing Cat

Hello... (sheepish look),
I've been gone for a bit again, and it's been long enough that I feel I ought to comment on the 'not posting on the blog, not selling stuff online for ages' rather than cunningly distracting you from this fact by pointing into the distance and shouting 'LOOK! What in the world can that be?!'*

So...stuff happened, as it is wont to do. I got a new job, which was temporary (has now ended) but full time and in Truro, so I was basically out of the house a good 11 hours a day, 5 days a week, plus extra for a couple of shifts in the Late Night Shopping season. It just wasn't possible for me to keep up the Etsying/Folksying - there was no time and I was too mentally and physically tired. Now that I'm unemployed, I could go back to the crafting and online shops, but I'm still reviewing the situation and feel the need to focus on finding work that will provide a proper income.

I also moved house in the autumn. Definitely a good move, I feel much better here than I did in my old place, but it's taken time for me to feel settled and I'm still feeling my way through the whole house-sharing malarky. Most people do this at a much younger age I think, and I wonder if it's easier or harder the older you are, to live with people you're not related to.

Grandad passed away in October. I'm still not really able to put into words my thoughts and feelings on this, and I debated with myself whether I even SHOULD put up a blog post about it, but let's just say it effected me in the way I imagine it would have most people, not least because of the impact it had on my immediate family. There's a couple of nice pictures and things I want to share with you guys, so once I get my new scanner, I'll try to do that (and if I don't, give me a poke because sometimes I need reminding!)

So now I'm unemployed and adrift. Life seems to have come to an interval...and I'm feeling a little frustrated by not having the cash for the figurative small pot of icecream...

I'd kinda like to do the cliched thing of going off traveling in an attempt at 'finding myself', but of course this isn't an option (if my job had been made permanent, I was going to travel somewhere new, but alas...), so I am contenting myself to exploring my own back yard (in some ways literally, since I now live in a place with a garden - first time since the 1980s! We have a giant bay tree of which I am childishly proud) I'm trying to get outside more in general. It's ridiculous how often I let myself forget how gorgeous Cornwall is and why exactly I fight so hard to be able to stay here. I went for an amble along the coast with my housemate the other day, and he kindly took a rather nice picture of me. The colours, the contrast and the light...all so...Cornwall.

I will end this post as I began it, sheepishly: I have no new years resolutions to share with you as such this time (I want to lose weight, that's about it), no allusions to grand plans. This is a break with blog tradition, I know. But I'm not feeling so morose about the future as that might make it seem. I'm just trying to take 2013 as it comes. I hope it's a good one for all of you.


* That would be a mis-quote of Vizzini, from The Princess Bride. Got to credit your sources, very important don'tyerknow