When, What, Why, How

It’s been awhile.

I am well and happy, my family is all good, we are settled firmly back home in Cordova and beginning spring work on our tiny yard-sized homestead. I have lots and lots of things I could write about, many cool projects underway and, as always, deep thoughts aplenty.

But the truth is, I waited and waited for it and the urge to blog just never really came back to me. Since I left you all waiting as well, I thought I’d better at least come back and say it– farewell for now, it’s been a good run.

I do feel the need to explain a bit. Because it’s not completely without reason that I have abandoned writing here. I wish I could say it’s because I’m not using the computer much, but that’s not the case– I have been researching permaculture all winter, and now I’m on to botanical medicine, both involving lots of computer time.

Honestly, it’s more about the particular perspective blogging gives you on your world. Have you ever been into photography? Carry your camera around long enough and you get ‘photo-eye,’ everything is seen through it’s possible worth as an aesthetic composition. You don’t see life as it is so much as you see potential photographs.

Blogging is like that. When I’m deep in it, I see life through the post I will write about it.

Interestingly, this downside is all wrapped around the upside, the thing I loved best about blogging– the way it gave me an outlet to process my thoughts, a way to make sense of the world and my life. Blogging was immensely useful and enjoyable for me, during a very hard time.

But the long enforced break of our move home shook off the ‘blogger-eye.’ Eventually I remembered what it was like to just be me, living my life with my family, instead of Calamity Jane: Punk Housewife Extraordinaire. And, I liked it. I like being plain old me.

I do miss the glamour, the acclaim and the page hits. I miss the way I felt important, big.

Some would say I need to find ‘big-ness’ in myself, not in others’ perception of me. I don’t know. It’s complicated. I think we as humans want to feel useful to the world at large. We crave purpose beyond self. Doing anything very useful in the world is all tangled up with the self-satisfaction of having done it. What are we to do?

So many of what I consider my important writings on this blog were about learning to find value in the eminently humble work of motherhood and housewifery. Don’t you think it’s ironic that in writing about it, I created for myself a more auspicious and vainglorious work? I made myself a “writer,” with loyal readers around the world. Although I tried so hard not to, I inevitably framed my homemaking as punkier than it really was. There is really no way to convey truth in this media. Without intention I painted a very cool picture of myself. Hardly a way to actually submit to the humility of motherhood.

I don’t mean to devalue my writings in any way, or their worth to you or myself. They were genuine expressions of my humanity. They were good and true and useful to so many of you, and I feel blessed to have been able to give in that way. I loved being Calamity Jane, and I reserve my right to reclaim her at any time.

But for now, I’m enjoying being just plain old me. Thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, thank you for existing as a community, however virtual. That’s the part I miss most. I don’t forget friends, even ones I’ve never met.

Here’s to life, in real life.


24 thoughts on “When, What, Why, How

  1. It was wonderful to see you pop up today as I was finishing lunch and getting ready to go out and plant onions…as spring is here too in Hollis…64 at the moment…and hubby has the garden all planted in the plastic culverts we call gardening now. Glad that you are enjoying life, your family and being back home in Alaska. Thanks for the hello.

  2. Weird! I thought about you yesterday and here you are! Motherhood is bound to smooth you out, just as water smooths jagged rocks into smooth ones. Smoothing is good. Real life is good. Be true to yourself and stay rock n roll on the inside ;-)

  3. I was thinking about you only a couple of days ago and was wondering…freaky.

    I hear you 100%. Wishing you every happiness as you spend your days being YOU. Anytime you feel like writing again, I’ll be around, ready to read. Happy times out there. x

  4. Vainglorious or not, your stories help us know we are not alone. Motherhood is a crazy ride. And we all strive, struggle and need to share.

    Thank you for being yourself, and sharing part of your journey.

  5. Have only been following you for a short while, loved your comments, Best of luck with being yourself. I am interested in the permaculture side of your life and will miss learning about that. Living in Australia we still find gardening a challenge. God be with you. Nanaonthefarm.blogspot.com

  6. So long and thanks for all the fish! Yours has been one of the more unique voices out there CJ. Those are pretty much the (unwritten) thoughts I had in wrapping up blogging, except far more articulate than I ever could have hoped to word them. Embrace your little nook of anonymity… and occasionally take time to look back fondly at your flirt with fame on this here blog!

  7. Hello again Lovely,

    Hmmm… . When I saw your name pop up, a smile skipped to my heart. More goodness I thought. And whilst I am sad at loosing the possibility of more insight and consolation from your pen in the bumpy journey that is motherhood, I can only be pleased that such a good women gave as she did, for the time that she did. Once again, three cheers for you. From the far, faaar south, with great love and gratitude, Katja

  8. Ahhh. Yes!!

    But while you live large, maybe write in a diary? Your kids will be compelled to publish it with your archives when you are dead and our grandkids’ generation will be deepened by your gorgeous wisdom.

    Thank you for working out your shit online. You have helped me so much with your clear prose and sharp insight.


  9. Isn’t it just wonderful to grow, then recapture yourself, but most of to recognise that you lost something and were smart enough to acknowledge it and let go of the ego, or rather outward face. Congratulations, can you you return my donation? Just kidding. Best wishes and it’s okay to sometimes write and give smidges of updates oxoxox

  10. Are you guys serious? WHY DOESN’T SOMEONE TRY TO STOP HER! CJ I only found this blog a few weeks ago. Somewhere in the middle of “Breathing Fire” I spontaneously burst into tears from the sheer relief of the knowledge that someone out there experiences what I do. My husband (sitting beside me) asked “What’s wrong?” and I sobbed “YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND, BUT CJ DOES!” Reading through your archives has been my project recently, and imagine my dismay when I read this post. I get your reasoning though. I had concluded (like you) that truly honest blogging, especially about motherhood, wasn’t really possible for me, and so I was going to leave it up to you. But I don’t blame you for wanting to rest your “blogger eye”. I just hope we can still be friends in my head. And thankfully, I still have some of your archive left to get through. I do hope there is a chance this has changed your mind.

    1. aww. mavis. i’m blushing. i’m so glad you found the blog. even if i don’t keep writing, there is lots of goodness to be had here. i was… er.. prolific… when i was at it.
      breathing fire is one of my top favorites. i have re-read it to myself for comfort, several times.
      funny, when i first got into blogging i had found and gotten obsessed with a blog by a woman in france who subsequently quit the business, and i was equally devastated. bereft.
      but! here’s my email address, i love to hear other people’s stories. we can be friends outside your head too–
      scarletfevir at yahoo dot com

    2. Stop her? There is no stopping CJ!! But why, for our own selfish reasons we should expect CJ to continue blogging & put aside all the goodness she has found in the real world these last couple of months??

      There is no replacing Apron Stringz, but when you run out of archives, perhaps go & check out Renegade Mothers blog.

  11. Motherfucker. Sorry, I wish I could force your hand on to the keys each week and make you blog, but yeah, having a blog about mothering that makes me feel like I don’t need to feel like an arse because I’m not the only one is a selfish motivation. Instead I’ll keep to the paved smooth road of silky mothering of five and beautiful and well staged photos for inspiration.
    Meanwhile, you fucking rock, and no one drops an f bomb like you do. Your Fam Damily saying has gone fucking global.
    I love you, and you can come back any time you like. x

  12. Ah, I knew someone would pull me up on my selfishness. Sorry. Guess I thought there should be at least one dissenting voice on the closure of such a great blog! Thanks so much for the email CJ. I’ll be in touch!

  13. Awesome to hear such honesty……as much as I love to read blogs, they do tend to make my mothering and life in general feel somewhat inadequate by comparison. Thank you for having the guts to tell it like it is. Best wishes to you and your family. x

  14. You are an excellent writer…maybe you could write something besides a blog about your personal life?

  15. I know I’m late to the party – just felt that I had to comment. I found your blog after following a series of rabbit-trails in search of my green/conscious/sustainable/eco-mojo -typical of me to find this after you’ve finished in this space! Anyway – just wanted to say that I’m enjoying a wander through your archives, and it’s inspiring me to kick myself up the bum and get going again! Thank You!

    1. Thanks, I always love to hear from readers, no matter how late they are! Glad you are enjoying the archives, lots to find there.

  16. CJ,

    I found your blog from googling about the process of making sprouted grains. I started scanning your previous posts and saw that you had lived in New Orleans in which I was born and raised. I have lived on the north shore in Covington for 20 years now on 3 acres in an idyllic setting across from St. Joseph’s Abbey. I shop at the farmer’s market in Covington and got some hard red and white from a local artisan bread maker who sells at the market on Saturdays. Ironically, I don’t eat bread but live a paleo lifestyle for the last three years. With that said, I am also one of those people who believe in preparedness and believe along with rice, putting away some organic grains is good insurance, just in case. I also am restocking my artesian well fed pond with catfish and getting the vegetable garden going. My wife is fighting me on chickens! I eat real food, why not have the ability to produce it myself for health, and just in case we have some type of interruption in our food supply. Anyway, thanks for the great description. I can’t wait to give it a try.

    Covington, LA

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