I’ve Lost My Voice
Social media is an unusual thing. It’s a cocktail of connections, instant satisfaction, and perceived perfection. These are all marvellous things. They foster an easy community full of beauty, learning and wonder. Why wouldn’t I, or anyone, want to be surrounded by that? So when I found the quilt world and its associated role in social media, you bet I jumped right in! (I’ve said before that I didn’t realise quilt blogs existed when I started mine. I naively thought I was having an original idea!) Ever since that graceful swan dive into the pool of Instagram, Facebook, Blogger, Flickr, and Bloglovin’ there’s been nothing but splashes of love.
Then one day recently, I noticed I was losing my own voice. I could still talk, except my voice was sounding like everyone else’s. You see, it wasn’t the voice I was losing after all, it was the individuality of my own voice that was diminishing. I had spent so much time in social media land that I began to acclimate to my surroundings. As I said, it’s a beautiful place, so it seemed natural to want to do so. Even if my voice were angelic, it doesn’t make it my own. (Trust me, I am your worst karaoke nightmare!) So the more I tried to create, the more I realised my own own own output was being heavily influenced by the words, thoughts, sounds, and beauty of my surroundings.
I can’t blame this on social media. This pervasive network is a constant of the world we live in, and it’s not going away any time soon. I’ll admit to being blinded by its allure. Plus, I’m not saying that all I’ve created is a stylistic copy of another, or isn’t born from some part of me. (Y’all know I still do plenty of my own catwalk-marching-drum-beating fabulousness!) But, I had started to feel tugs at my aesthetic towards what I know I’m not. I want to ensure I curtail that influence before it grows out of control. My desire is to be as original to myself as possible, maintaining my own singular voice in our community. I’m not so naive to think that any of us can work entirely from a creative vacuum, but I am taking steps to minimise the external influence of social media land.
I want inspiration to come from outside the quilting blogosphere, so it feels fresh, new, and individual. Do I rectify this by banning all social media from my life? Impossible. Instead, I have reevaluated what is important to my creative soul and voice, in relation to how I still participate in our amazing community. Attempting to read every blog and look at every photo (as I often try to do) leaves me scanning more than absorbing. So I’ve cleaned out the blogs I follow, and culled my Instagram feed. I’ve deleted my Flickr account. I’ve minimised my Facebook groups. I’ve also realised I don’t have to respond to every single blog comment, as that in itself takes away from the time I have to create. (I’m happy for you to have the last word!) These initial small steps will give me the time and distance to create the quilts that are uniquely me.
Please don’t misinterpret my words for non-gratitude, disinterest, or a desire to eschew the quilt community from my life. That couldn’t be further from the truth! If you know me at all, you know I love you, the Glitterati, and all that we’ve built together. But I need this, both in mind and body, to recentre my process and ensure my voice is my own. Remember, your voice is just as beautiful, and it takes all of our differences, to make a resounding chorus for our quilting community.
Postscript: All images are new filler blocks for the t-shirt quilt.