It's been four months almost to the day since I last posted on Velvet Verbosity. I only intended to take a few weeks away in order to get through the holidays with my sanity still intact. Yet somehow a few weeks stretched into four months. Surely I must've fallen down a flight of stairs and been in traction to be gone for so long with barely a hint as to my whereabouts.
Not quite. And certainly nothing so dangerous to my health (or bones rather). No sooner had I packed away the last Christmas box than my partner announced it was time to buy a house. Not even a chance to let that sink in before he was showing me houses he had picked out and next thing I know my life is sucked into a vortex of house-hunting, drive-bys, viewings, and much discussion about what was right or wrong about this or that house. This was largely his decision as it was largely his idea and his investment, but my input was wanted and needed at every step, and after a month and a half a house was chosen.
Amidst all of this, one of the two precious kittens we adopted fell ill. One day she just didn't come bounding downstairs at her usual time. When I found her under the bed she was lethargic and wholly uninterested in play or food. And when a kitten doesn't want to eat or play you go immediately to the vet. The vet poked and took samples of various fluids and scanned and concluded at first she was just fine, probably a virus. We were given a vial of antibiotics and sent home. A few days later I was back at the vet with a still sick kitten, only this time the abdomen I had pointed out seemed awfully swollen was given more attention. Fluid was drawn and we were told, kindly, that our kitten wouldn't live long. She had the effusive form of FIP (I won't bore you with the definition, you can look it up).
We fought hard to prove the vet wrong and I spent hours every day mixing concoctions into her foods, hand feeding her, reading every piece of veterinary literature on the disease I could find, calling around to see if any vets had had any success at all. But in the end the disease won. Pippa died just a couple of weeks before our move to the new house.
The rest was all packing and grieving and packing, and then unpacking and flying squirrels in the attic.
But something else happened...
During all this time away, something else happened. A bunch of different things suddenly started coming together and I had several realizations.
- E.B. White is my writing soul mate - Like many of you I had read E.B. White's children's books as a kid. But I recently got deeper into his essays and this is hugely important to me (you'll see why in a bit).
- I love treasure hunting - otherwise known as "hoarding". But seriously, I went to a couple of auctions looking for some American Craftsmen pieces for the living room and came out with something else entirely.
- I love books - well duh. I love books, old books, old children's books even more, and I love illustrations even more than that.
- I need something of my own - I won't go into all the details, but many of my personal dreams got derailed over the last six years and it's been gnawing relentlessly at my soul.
What does this mean for Velvet Verbosity?
As many of you know, I've had off and on struggles with the direction of this site. The 100 word challenge has been fun, and so many of you have come to love it that I kept it going out of obligation. But I didn't know what else I wanted to write about, or what else I wanted to do. Many ideas came and went, but they were coming from all the wrong angles and fell flat in my mind.
Additionally, between work, dealing with an achy-heart family member situation, keeping another professional blog, and the distraction of feeling thrown off my path, my heart wasn't always in this blog. It needed to either support me financially, or support my spirit, or both.
Now I'm ready to change directions now while still keeping true to what this blog was originally intended for, as well as what it eventually came to be. This is where those revelations come in. First, I plan to write more, essay style, about life. Second, I plan to bring more word-nerdery to this place through treasure hunting for vintage and antique books filled with beautiful words and illustrations. Some for me to keep, and some that I'll share on a new Etsy shop I'll be opening that is going to be so full of word-nerd goodness it's going to make your head spin.
But what about the 100 word challenge?
As far as I can see, there's no reason not to keep that tradition alive. It's going to change some, and I'm still figuring that out. It can't take up so much of my time, I know that. So I have a few ideas. For starters, I'll be tying the 100 word challenge into the book treasures I find by pulling the prompt from those books. I'll keep the linky tool, but I'm probably not going to make a selection each week because a) no matter how hard I tried to avoid it, it always had the flavor of someone "winning" and that's not the climate I'm going for, and b) because of that it was always very time consuming and difficult for me to choose.
For a new blog design, for new posts, for a new 100 word challenge, and for the Etsy shop (probably a couple of weeks). I'm excited!