Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Carie from Space for the Butterflies

Carie is a wife, mama, knitter, quilter and Jack-of-all-trades trying to make life a pretty place. One of the ways she does this is blogging over at Space for the Butterflies, where she records tales of her family (her sweetheart, H, and their daughters Kitty, born in September 2010 and Elma, born in December 2012, and son, Pip, born just last August), photos of crafty things, her corner of the middle of England, and the catastrophes and successes along the way. Carie loves knitting, sewing, quilting, embroidering, cooking, baking, exploring and trying to live each day to the very best.

Carie from Space for the Butterflies


Who are you? I'm Carie. I'm a wife to my university sweetheart and Mummy to two gorgeous girls and their tiny and very new baby brother who arrived at the end of August. And then I'm me. I think I can describe myself best by saying that I am a creator. I love to make things; to knit or sew or quilt or embroider or bake or cook or just build squishy approximations of small animals out of modelling dough. I take pictures to capture the moments of our wonderful ordinary life together, and I write to tell my stories with whoever chances by to read them.

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? Remember, you're in a hot tub with them on a clear cold night, stars twinkling above you. They want all the details. If not, tell the hot-tub-stranger about your writing in such a way that makes them urge you to get an online receptacle for it. Aside from a little guest posting here and there I write at Space for the Butterflies. It is my little corner of the internet, my happy place, my space where I look for the joy in the everyday. I also dabble in Twitter as @CariemayMakes and I'm deeply addicted to Instagram as @Cariemay.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? When I first started blogging I was newly married, newly connected to the Internet, and had a lot more time for making things - and writing about them. And so I started as a craft blogger, bumbling my way into a whole online community of people who didn't think there was anything strange in wanting to hand knit all of your socks; sharing my successes (occasional), abject failures (more than I should ever really have admitted to) and the things I learnt along the way.

And then Kitty arrived and made me a Mum, followed in relatively quick succession by Elma and Pip and the whole axis of my world shifted. For starters I suddenly had a lot less time in which to make anything, and there are limits to how many times you can write a blog post that reads "this week I knit these six stitches and I'm right on track to finish this baby jacket in time for my great-grandchild to wear it!"

But more than that, oh so much more than that, I fell utterly and completely in love with my children, and realised just how much I love being a mother. I knew I wanted to be a mother, longed to be a mother in fact, but the fierceness with which that love came quite took my breath away (and still does to be honest). It's not to say that everything is all sunshine, sparkling unicorns and rainbows around here; parenting is hard work and there are days when I'm far from my best self, the sort of days that you just need to draw a line under and move on to tomorrow. But what have found is a contentment, a feeling of being exactly who and where and what I'm meant to be.

And with that shift in perspective came the evolution of my writing to where it is right now. I love that freedom and flexibility about blogging; I know that as life changes, so to will what I write about, and probably how I write about it, especially as my children grow older and their stories start to separate from mine.

Why do you write? Despite all of the changes over the last eight years, my blog is still my happy place, and I still write about the things I create; both the good and the bad, but more often than not these days I write about my family.

I write to tell our stories, to preserve the everyday spectacular ordinary against the fragility of a human memory, and to celebrate the highlights, those moments where you can feel the happiness just radiating out of you. I write because I love language; I love to take words and order them into a picture of my view of the world. I write to make sense of the thoughts in my head, to impose an order and a structure that my subconscious sternly resists. I write to retain a part of me that isn't just a wife or a mother, even as we walk through the years where being a wife and mother is probably the most important thing I can be.

I write because I can't not. If I didn't write, I wouldn't be me.

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you? It sounds incredibly cheesy to say my husband and my children, but it's true. And also my father, not as a writer but as a photographer. He recorded my sister and my childhood in hundreds of gorgeous photos that captured both our everyday lives and the high days and holidays, and all without being able to take hundreds of digital shots to get that one perfect moment. He is my inspiration to photograph my family; and once I have the pictures I just want to tell the stories to go with them.

But if I think about the authors that I couldn't live without, and let it be known that this is like asking me to pick my favourite child, I'd say Arthur Ransome, Ellis Peters, Dorothy L Sayers, Dorothy Whipple, Robert Goddard, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and, appropriately given I'm most often found reading to the children at the moment, Lynley Dodd, Oliver Jeffers, and Peter Bently. I really could go on for hours, we own far more books than any one house should reasonably accommodate and I'd miss them like old friends if we ever had to be parted.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? I've got two, and I can't decide between them. One would be to a spa, someone warm and sunny but not too hot, where I could sleep and read and eat really good food and write and catch all the elusive thoughts and ideas that whizz around in my brain.

The other, and probably the one I'd choose would be to western Canada and the Pacific North West of the USA. When I was a child we went on the family holiday of a lifetime to Canada, travelling around Vancouver Island and up through the Rockies to Calgary. I love it, and I have such fond and such strong memories it's somewhere I'd love to explore again, and go a bit further afield and dip my toes south of the border. It's also one of the few places that my rather well-travelled husband hasn't been to, and I'd love to share it with him.

What is your favorite place on earth? South Devon. It's where I grew up, and however far away I move it will always be home. I love the wide open stretch of shingle on Start Bay, scrambling down cliffs to the little sandy coves that will only reveal themselves when you get to the bottom, standing at the very tip of the headlands with the wind in your teeth and only the sea stretching out in front of you, the feeling that you can stretch and stretch and stretch and never touch the horizon, and the familiar sweep of the lighthouse beam across the bay at night and the twinkling stars of shipping on the move far out in the Channel.

Anything else you'd like us to know? I'm trying to gather up the courage to submit an idea for an article or two to an actual print magazine. If I write it down that I'm going to do it, that means I have to get on and actually go for it doesn't it?

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