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#Minutiae

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My husband was writing about me on Facebook the other day. I’m not on Facebook, so I only find out about such shout-outs by friends calling me on my land line and asking, “Did you know Eric wrote, ‘. . .’ about you?” No, I didn’t. Well the other day, after a family houseboat vacation, my husband wrote about a forthcoming picture that I was going to tweet. He wrote, “And yes, I did just use ‘Anne’ and ‘Twitter’ in the same sentence.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So, believe it or not, world (cue The Jeffersons‘ theme song) I am on Twitter. Wow. @AnnePotter77.

I made the bold decision to start a Twitter account while manning my Handmade by Anne Potter booth at an art show last month. I was standing there thinking, “I wonder if there’s a quick way to convey information to my customers.” I just wanted to drop a little line to the universe. (“Hey, selling my pieces at the Hobnob Market this weekend. Drop in and see me if you’re in the area!”) But how it do it? So I asked my tech friend if I might be able to add a marquee feature to my blog to broadcast little updates and happenings or something? He said, “You mean, like Twitter?”

Oh. Yes. Just like Twitter.

Long ago I filed Twitter under the category Don’t Get It Don’t Want To because that’s my default file for most things tech. But on top of that, I’ve been annoyed by the whole Twitter scene, too.

I think Twitter has a lot of pat nonsense going on, I’m not going to lie. Doe-eyed-surprise-eyebrowed close-up selfies of Justin Bieber? No thank you. Ashton Kucher tweeting, “RIP P Swayze” after Patrick Swayze died? “No” and “Wrong.” (And really, that’s how you memorialize a man’s life? Did you feel compelled to tweet a resonse to the news?) Twitter can be a hot mess of people tweeting things that don’t need to be said, er, tweeted.

But that’s just one side of Twitter, I think. I recently started following a few fellow artists. People whose work I admire (and people I thought would be interesting to follow). “On the workbench today: hammered copper rings” and “Why does the hardest row of lace [knitting] fall off the needle? Ergh!” Interested in these artists, I found myself interested in these little sound bites of creative tedium.

I once watched a documentary about a man named Dick Proenneke. The film, Alone in the Wilderness, depicts mountain man Proenneke as he lives a solitary life in the Alaskan wild. This industrious man does everything necessary for (sweet!) survival. From total food preservation to wood splitting, to snow shoe making, Proenneke is nearly 100% self-sufficient. In one part, I watched enthralled as he felled trees, then meausured and chopped notches in the timber, then fit timbers snugly together. Repeat. Step my step, I watched him build his log house. It was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever seen. I don’t know why it captivated me so much. Was it the breadth of his abilities? Or his unfailing work power? Or the homesteading fantasy of taking care of one’s self?

I think it was the wonder of watching a Process.

How fascinating to watch the incremental process of art and craft, a Phoenix rising. Like a chemical change, an immutable transformation from material to masterpiece. Each tiny step builing on the last to create something new and vital. And then there is the nuance of the thing. When my friend Liz, a gifted baker, makes cinnamon rolls, there are ten even swirls of filling, between light and airy spirals of dough. When I bake “cinnamon rolls” I get two uneven squiggled of filling, suffocated by heavy thuds of dough. How she flours the board, how long she lets the yeast activate, how lightly she rolls pin across dough. She works with no seeming distinction between her method and mine, yet the finished product is vastly different. She will say, “Oh, it’s nothing,” but how interesting it would be to stand at her elbow to watch her bake. If Liz ever tweeted, “Nice sunny day, too humid for baking shortbread, though,” I would be so interested!

Minutiae. Little glimpses of everyday tedium. But someone else’s. That’s what I really do like about Twitter. It enables a casual “keeping up” with others. A little voyeurism into another life.

I cannot lie: my tweets have been pretty boring so far. A few “creative life” announcements, new pieces in my studio, coupon codes, latest material crushes.

Tweets of everyday tedium, really.

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