Purpose, re-purpose

Mal | Simplicity | Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011


A few days ago, I found myself shopping for domain names. Within the next week or so, I will be embarking on a new chapter in my life and I am feeling the itch to document it. I brainstormed, trying to find a site name that could grow with me and reflect my values and priorities. Naturally, I spent quite a bit of time journaling about it, making lists, and creating vision statements. At some point, I stopped and wondered — is turning*turning a place worth returning to?

After all, my original intention for this website was to muse about all kinds of things that were important to me — not only art/craft stuff, but also simplicity, mindfulness, practical philosophies, and organic living. The phrase “turning, turning” comes from a Shaker hymn that talks about being simple, free, and accepting of life’s ups and downs. It is a song about insight and introspection. Shoot, it’s a song about being flexible and open to all good and simple things. What I’m saying is that this blog was always intended to be about living a good and rich life, not about one craft niche or another. In fact, very early on, there were some posts which addressed these broader ideas.

But, what seemed to happen is this: when I would post something about quilting, I found a community of quilters who wanted to chat about quilting things. Cross-stitch? Here come the cross-stitchers. A blurb about ceramics would bring in a slew of questions about clay. My post about folding fabric seems to have achieved a cult following and to this day I still get emails about my ladder-stitch tutorial. The reality is that my interests are varied, and my loyalty to one medium or another is very fickle. I am a re-inventor by nature and I sometimes felt myself being pigeon-holed into a niche knowing that the allure would wear off in a month or two.

I am also continually learning about my professional life; every day I must balance public and private realms when it comes to making a living, serving my clients, and advancing my field.

So, I’m really not sure if I’ll be returning to this spot or not. There is much to catch up on, and the idea of a clean slate is certainly enticing. But, so is the idea of using this domain for the things I originally intended — to document my attempts at living a meaningful, connected, and purposeful life.

To turn, turn ’til I come ’round right.


  1. All things are inter-related and I, for one, will be happy to return here whether you are musing about “life” or “art” or “creativity” or “_____” …

    I care deeply about method, process, and the journey itself, not just about results.

    I hope you will return and share your thoughts with us!!

    Comment by quiltdivajulie — 3 August 2011 @ 6:58 am

  2. There’s a big difference between attracting a particular readership, and catering to that particular readership. Who says you have to give your readers what they ask for? (Are you expecting financial return?)

    Feed readers mean you don’t have to feel obligated to stick to a particular posting schedule to keep your audience around.

    Comment by Camilla — 3 August 2011 @ 7:42 am

  3. Both of you have very good points, thank you for commenting… Something for me to think about.

    Comment by Mal — 3 August 2011 @ 7:54 am

  4. I agree with the first commenter. I would be interested in anything you post. I have found all of your posts enlightening and interesting, even if the actual craft/subject matter wasn’t something I am generally interested in.

    Comment by Anne — 3 August 2011 @ 10:45 am

  5. Dear Mal, how lovely to ‘hear your voice’ again after all these months. I was thrilled when your blog popped up in my feeds. I hope you will continue to blog about whatever moves you as that is ultimately what gives most pleasure in the reading too. I think it does us all good to experience eclecticism in blogs – it is a good and proper antidote to the use of blogs for networking, marketing and self promotion. Keep it real my friend!

    Comment by Sue — 3 August 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  6. I hope that you’ll give turning*turning another chance. As others have said, what you choose to put out here is your decision, and people will read it or not. I found your blog through quilting; I stay because of everything else.

    Almost exactly two years ago, I found your post “On bodies, fragility, and journaling” (http://turningturning.com/on-bodies-fragility-and-journaling/) and commented. You replied via email and when I cleaned out my Inbox a few weeks ago, that was one of the few messages I kept. I re-read that post today, and this time another sentence struck me. You said, “One of the things I like best about my job is that it keeps me constantly aware of the brevity of life, the preciousness of every day, and the power of human connection.” Today I attended a funeral for my aunt who lost her battle with cancer after one year. Your statement means so much more to me now than it did two years ago.

    Comment by Sandi — 3 August 2011 @ 12:55 pm

  7. You may see that we all still have you in our readers. ;-) Whatever you choose to share, may enlighten just one, or maybe hundreds… It’s the “just one” that makes it all worthwhile. I’ll be here…
    So glad to hear your wheels “turning”

    Comment by Victoria — 3 August 2011 @ 7:04 pm

  8. I’ll continue listening for whatever you have to share, here or elsewhere.

    Comment by Tracy — 4 August 2011 @ 7:41 am

  9. Hey Mal,
    If I want a quilting blog and the blog starts blogging too much about other stuff (that I’m not interested in), I won’t go back to it, simple as that. I’d say that anyone who noticed your blog come back to life and has stopped by to visit/comment is interested in whatever you have to say and I hope you keep on saying it. Many people can’t put their philosophical ideas into interesting packages like you do… Hope to see more of it or that you’ll let us know the new domain you choose!


    PS: still up for that quilt swap we once talked about… :)

    Comment by Christine — 5 August 2011 @ 7:21 am

  10. What a pleasant surprise! I share this conundrum ( if it is that) with you 100%. I often just want to write about stuff, lots of different stuff, but feel the weight from what I think my readers are looking for. I have a lot of family and friends keeping in touch with me via the blog and so don’t often think they want to read about my ideas on life, the universe and everything.

    What you’ve reminded me is that I should just write and the readership will take care of itself.

    Hope to see you back in this space. I think that it is interesting people that keep me coming back to their blogs, not any continuity of theme.


    Comment by Emma — 8 August 2011 @ 12:03 pm

  11. I found your blog when I was looking for info on hexagons, but I really enjoyed your ability to write about the things that are way more complicated than any kind of stitching.

    A reader with only one interest might just be a robot, so why worry? ;)

    I always thought that any person’s blog was theirs to do with as they wished.

    Comment by Carol — 13 August 2011 @ 5:55 am

  12. I’ve found your blog recently, and have loved reading all your blog archives. I particularly enjoy the variety, a stitch here, a sketch there, a thought on life and creativity. It’s just how I am, I jump from sewing to knitting, from gardening to sailing, and all through tons of other stuff too, it’s great, keep doing it…and sharing it….if you want to
    Nina x

    Comment by Nina Fenner — 5 October 2011 @ 11:01 am

  13. Just wondering if you had found a new domain. I used to read you on diaryland in another lifetime, then followed your blog when you moved it to… I don’t remember the domain but it was when you moved (physically) to CA. Not sure where you are now but was just thinking about you the other day…

    Comment by shmoop — 21 June 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  14. No, shmoop. I think I have figured out how to reintegrate this blog into my life. I think. I hope.

    Comment by Mal — 1 July 2012 @ 1:48 am

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