Thursday, April 28, 2016

First she writes a blog post. What she does next? DESTROYED MY FAITH IN A JUST AND LOVING GOD

I love quilters. I really do. And I especially love hanging out online where they hang out. Go on forums and pages for just about anything else (especially anything that attracts mostly dudes), and you'll just find a bunch of blowhards bloviating into the electronic ether. It could be anything from politics to popcorn (MY GOD, the alliteration today), and they will argue and posture and grandstand until you finally want to see all humanity die in a volcano.

But quilters are so earnest! And nobody is ever sure of themselves, so when they tentatively ask, "Is this good?" eight hundred others practically fall all over each other to say, "Yes, it's good!" People keep talking about the "quilt bullies" like that's a real thing, but honestly, if anyone has ever beaten up another quilter on a regular basis at guild and stolen her raffle ticket money, I've never witnessed it. What I do see is occasionally one quilter will not be as forthcoming with unreserved praise and might instead offer constructive criticism untempered with flowers and unicorn farts, and this is sometimes interpreted as being totally mean.

I keep hearing stories about actual bullying happening in online groups and forums, but I have yet to see it. Or maybe I see it all the time, but because my meanness meter is set to go off only if there's bloodshed, I just don't recognize it. What I do see is people being very helpful and very encouraging, and it's just sweet as hell. A lot of the quilters who participate are new to the craft and really have no idea what they are doing, but everybody is so patient and no one ever gets ridiculed for not knowing as much as others.

I have heard rumors that the more modern-oriented Facebook groups are the ones that are really nasty, but then upon further investigation, "nasty" usually means the admin deleted a photo because the quilt didn't quite fall under the "Denyse Schmidt would have pushed over her own grandmother to make something that freaking modern" criterion. But even if they do, there's still a vocal group of total strangers to buoy the rogue quilter up and make her feel good about herself again.

I think one of my favorite things about quilty Facebook groups are the complaints about the groups themselves, often from people who don't quite understand how Facebook and/or the internet works.

Groups like these get spammed a lot as well, and this really flummoxes people. Some of the spam is ostensibly links to those stupid clickbait sites that say things like, "She opened a regular old tube of extra-strength hemorrhoid cream. What she did with it next TOUCHED MY VERY SOUL." And some is porn, naturally, because this is the internet and nothing online is safe from being porned up on occasion, but many of these people don't seem to be aware of this and don't know the report-it-if-you-can, ignore-it-if-you-can't rule we all live by in the hinterwebz. 

But what I really love about these groups, besides the friendly support and the porn confusion, is that it reminds me I may have something to offer quilters other than my bizarre sense of humor and my stunning good looks. I have a tendency to dismiss my own skills and accomplishments. "I've only been quilting for 8 years," I think to myself. "In the grand scheme, that's nothing." But it's not nothing, and there are plenty of people out there who are in week one, month one, year one, of their quilting journey and they, like Jon freaking Snow, know nothing.

I think I may have something to offer the quilter who is just starting out, who wants to learn on her own as much as she can, but who finds the information out there incomplete, biased by sponsorship deals (okay maybe that's just me), and the people offering it painfully unaware that not everyone who quilts is wealthy and holds advanced degrees. Yes, there's a lot of information out there. I just think it could be better.

BUT NOT YET. Because I have to go back to the freaking hospital next week and have hernia repair surgery to shove my intestines back into my gut where they belong. Seems my big incision from last year's colon surgery didn't hold together real well. I've put it off as long as possible and have lost somewhere in the range of 12-15 pounds (out of a total of 50 I hope to lose in the next year) in the assumption that less poundage equals better surgery outcome. It certainly equals less knee pain and better fitting clothes. I have no idea what recovery from this kind of hernia repair is like, plus there's the whole being allergic to narcotics thing. I have heard estimates that range from one week to a month or more before feeling like myself again.

But until then, I have social media, and The Night Manager, and a large stack of books (okay, a large number of Kindle downloads, but whatevs) to keep me occupied. But if the porn content on Facebook quilting groups takes a sharp downturn over the next month, I assure you it's entirely coincidental. 


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