Someone famously said "An un-examined life is not worth living". Well, I don't actually believe that, but I do believe that sometimes it is good to look at your life and think about what it is you want to do, you want to accomplish, maybe even how you would like to be remembered long after you are gone.
One of the exercises in a creative writing class was to write ones own obituary. As a 20 something, I really hadn't a clue. But it was a good exercise in that it forced me to think about how others might perceive me compared to how I perceived myself.
As the earth pivots in it's orbit around the sun and the northern hemisphere begins its steady march toward longer days and shorter nights, the feeling that life gone quiet will soon be returning, the winter solstice and beginning of the new calendar year is a good time for contemplation.
So. Who do I think I am?
I think I know quite a lot about the creation of textiles. I think I'm pretty good at explaining the nuances of the creation of textiles. I think I am encouraging of people who want to know more about the creation of textiles. I think that being a creative person makes me happier, healthier, than if I didn't have something creative to put my attention on, to focus on.
I have doing this for a rather long time now. I have been involved in internet interest groups since 1994. I have watched as people struggled to learn the craft, quite often on their own, with nothing but books, then You Tube videos to point them in a direction.
I have tried to assist people with understanding why their efforts may not have turned out quite the way they expected, simply because they didn't know any better. That they chose inappropriate materials. Equipment. Processes.
My intention in this has never been to put them down but to help them understand.
Most people have been very open to my suggestions, but a small fraction have not. I have learned to not give advice willy-nilly to everyone having issues. Because sometimes they just don't want to know.
I even had someone email me to question my motives in doing what I was doing, inferring that I was selfish and greedy because I wanted payment for a particular event I was organizing.
In the end I found myself unable to respond to the email and let it go unanswered. She had obviously made up her mind about me and would not be swayed by any explanation or justification I might proffer for expecting a (small) remuneration for my time and knowledge.
Even though these interactions are the minority of the feedback I have received over the years, they have stung sufficiently that I am now extremely careful about who I offer free advice to. Because you know how valuable advice is by how much you pay for it.
I have withdrawn from most of the social media type groups I have, at one time or another, belonged to because my heart actually aches when I see people post their intentions, using yarn that is going to cause them grief, processes that are not going to give them good results, using equipment that isn't the best. All I can do is watch the disaster and heartache unfold. And I can't. So I exit stage left - and leave them to their struggles.
I have learned that not everyone is open to any kind of unsolicited suggestion.
And so I keep my opinions pretty much to myself these days unless someone directly asks for my input. Except here. This is my blog, my opinions. Anyone coming here is here because they choose to be here. If they don't agree with me, there are plenty of other places to go. Maybe too many. How do you know who to listen to?
My advice is to find an expert who makes sense to you. Learn whatever they can teach you. Learn as much as you possibly can. Learn enough to become your own expert. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear...