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March 14, 2011


Good luck with your decision Jane.
You write so beautifully,and are such an inspiration, I think it's perfectly natural that after six years you are re-evaluating your blog.
I am sure that after a walk, a cuppa (and maybe a slice of cake or two) you will be able to find the way to move on that feels right for you x

I thoroughly enjoyed your book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity. I refer to it often, as it reminds me of just how important 'homemaking' is.


I felt much the same thing. And feel it, when I get away from what I really want and need to write. Please do make it what you want and need it to be (even if that means much less frequent postings). It's the most fulfilling to read things which really feel integral to their makers--that's what drew me to your place in the first instance, that it felt like you had integrity. Sorry people were so unkind as to make you feel you have to edit more than maybe you'd like to. That's no good.

Take care.

Your blog is a breath of fresh air, an inspiration, and a confirmation that home keeping, beauty, history, literature, gentleness, flowers, craft, and tea cakes still have an important place in this spinning world. I just watched Daniel Ratcliffe being interviewed, and he said that he never reads any reviews. Know that you are appreciated by a corporate executive in Ohio for bringing balance to me. Go think, but don't quit.

As Tess said, go think, but don't quit. You evolve as a person, and the blog should evolve as well. It will be good.

Change it. Suit you. I've been reading your blog for about 4 years now. I love it. I loved it more when you were writing for your self. I remember the negative remarks about your first book. Even I was offended by what some people -critics- had to say. I was proud for you and still am. I love when an authentic self comes through in writing. Its sad to see a blog change from a labor of love to carefully edited essay that has all of life's feeling written right out of it.

Just don't abandon it. I still love to pop in whenever you have updated it. I love to hear what you are reading, or watching in black and white. I need to hear abbout your travels your knitting and more hand stitching too. I love Phoebe's cakes and your beautiful flowers. Just bring back more of yourself.

All the best wishes in your decision

It is your blog, so it should be what you want it to be. I know what you mean, though. When my husband was going through cancer treatments last year, I shared much of what I was feeling on my blog -- I had to talk to someone. My daughter's depression, however, is not my story to tell, so I don't mention it.

How dull would it be if you carried on writing about the same things all the time. Change your blog to suit you - if you shed some readers who cling to the past then you will gain new ones who want to read what you have to say now. Negative comments are hard to hear but impossible to stop. Those who make them feel an imperative right to criticize that more often than not is a result of their own self-doubt. You write from the heart and it shows in your work and your words. Follow your instinct, it seems to have served you well up to now.

I want you to know how much I value your quilting book. I have your knitting one on order and am so looking forward to it. Do remember that there are many of us who are helped and encouraged by and very much enjoy your work . I feel that you gave me freedom to quilt in my way without all of those old rules. One truth is that we never know the good that we do.

I've read your blog for most of its life, I think, & have commented a couple of times - and have been inspired to make my own ripple blankets, play with colour, just try quilting rather than be too afraid. It's a wonderful place to stop by, see your beautiful photos & 'share' a view that just pretty colours together is in and of itself a pleasurable experience. This is a rather laboured way of saying thanks for the many years of enjoyable reading, much gratitude to the inspiration, and I really hope that you may find a format/synthesis whatever that suits you. So many one sided journalists were awful when the first book was published, it must have hurt; I love it, and my family & I adore the vanilla biscuits, too.

Whatever your decision, you've certainly made your mark.

Thank you for your blog. I look forward to it and am so happy when you post. What makes it so appealing is that it's about you and what you do. That is why I read your blog and buy your books. For every critical comment, I'm sure there are thousands of readers who are inspired by you.

I'm so glad you shared this post with us. Having read your blog since Yarnstorm days, I sensed that something had changed, something was missing - and yes, it is "you," the heart of who you are as a person. Your voice, though still lovely, has felt more detached of late, much more reserved. I can see now why this has been the case - criticism can be so savage, so wounding. Reviewers feel free to attack on a personal level, apparently without consideration of how this might affect the person involved. So many reviewers are frustrated authors/playwrights/actors - those who secretly dreamed but never tried, never dared put themselves out there. It's so much easier to criticize than to create! I didn't read the reviews for your book, just bought it on the strength of your blog and loved it.
This is your blog. What do you want from it? Take your time, think it out. Perhaps you might decide you've no interest in carrying on. We'll miss you, but it's your decision. Perhaps you'll come back with renewed passion. Yay! All of the blogs I read regularly have taken a break at some point, tried to figure out what it is they wanted to do. Experiment. Play. Have fun with it. But please, do it for yourself and don't give a fig for what anyone else thinks or says. It's your blog. No one else has the right to tell you how to do it. Or indeed, whether to do it. If they don't like it, they don't have to come here...

I love all your books and enjoy following the links that you put up on other bits and pieces you have been thinking about. Quite often your post is a moment of calm and beauty in my otherwise very hectic day with three small boys! I really hope you keep going as I find your work and blog posts very inspiring.

I look forward to your blog every day and really miss the days you don't post. It would be sad to see it go, but at least I have your books for inspiration. I can't imagine what people are thinking when they criticize people so openly. Keep Calm and Carry On, Jane, please!

I found your blog through your book, which I picked up in the library. I came straight home & read it from cover to cover. I just loved it as I share so many of the same interests. I then bought my own copy.
You must feel free to write what you want in your blog - it's yours.
As for critics, well we're not all the same(thank goodness)& I for one love your books & can't wait for the next one.

Please don't stop Jane !

Jane, goodness me I'd hate to think that you edit your blog so much for my sake! I'd much prefer to know that the blog is your musings (is this a word?) that you are graciously allowing me to share, as it brings such beauty into my life.

I love the way you view the world - even if that is changing - change the blog to suit you.

I read The Gentle Art of Domesticity a few years ago and your red and green sweets was the first time I ever realised that colours change when they are with other colours. Now renovating our first home, this lesson has proved invaluable. See, this is one tiny example of how you help others to see beauty in the small things. And I am so very grateful.

As someone who has followed your blog since yarnstorm days and loved all of your books I am saddened that you feel this way.
I rarely comment on any blog but feel I need to speak in your support. There must be dozens of other non commenters out there who enjoy your blog as I do and I have never met anyone who has not liked your books.I will continue to be inspired by them whether you blog or not but would miss your posts. Be true to yourself and know that you give pleasure to more people than you realise.

Jane, I've read all your books (with the latest on Amazon pre-order) I love your blog- following you, your makes and your family is great, and I know I speak for the many I've sent the link to as a "must read". My sister in Sydney and I write blogs so we know what's going on in eachother's lives,and share things we've made or found but I'm flattered when others read and comment. I should imagine most critics have never had the courage or inspiration to publish themselves, so what do they know? I never read book reviews as I'd rather make my own decisions than be told what's good. Please keep up the fantastic work!

What a shame you feel this way! I have read your blog for a while now and really enjoy checking in for your most recent post. Your words have inspired and encouraged me. Just to say 'thank you.'

I love your blog. I love your book. I know there's people out there who want to rip things and people apart. Know that you have lots of fans who are grateful for your work and your vision and its impact in our lives as well.

I love your books. Not long ago, I saw a single copy of The Gentle Art of Domesticity in a local bargain bin and felt compelled to rescue it from such an undeserving fate. I decided to leave it, though, so someone else could discover its loveliness and perhaps be inspired to find and make a little bit of beauty in her own life. :-)

I think you are fantastic. I can identify with how you feel about your writing not reflecting what makes you buzz. I am in my final year of thesis writing about a subject which fascinates me (garden aesthetics) but - after an enforced year out following the birth of my third child - I am struggling to find my voice and enthusiasm whilst writing. A busy family life, a smattering of problems and a barrow-load of passions do not help matters. Your blog can change and it will still be loved. Good luck.

Please do remember that there is a passionate community of readers who appreciate your honesty and reminders to keep things in their lives that make them happy. I know that I would miss you and your blog terribly if you decided to leave, but as a blogger myself who has taken a long hiatus as life is changing who and where I am from when I started, I certainly understand the need to re-evaluate.

I have been reading your blog for years and just wanted to put in my 2 cents that I love it. And would continue to read it in whatever direction you chose to take it. It's yours, after all--make it do what you want!

I also wanted to let you now that I love The Gentle Art of Domesticity.

Do what you love and we'll love you for it. The detractors can go pound sand.

Jane -I have never commented here before, but now I have two things to say. First, if I had to pick just one blog to follow, it would be yours. It opens my mind somehow in a way that others don't, no matter how interesting or enjoyable. Second, I think this world we've created for ourselves online has something inherently strange and inauthentic about it. I don't wonder that it's getting to you, and I'm confident that whatever you do will be the right thing.

I rarely comment on any of the blogs I read, but wanted to thank you for your blog and your books. You have made this rural NY knitter and lover of old films feel right at home.

Ironic, isn't it, that we edit our own work in an effort to not offend, or not put too much of ourself out there, while a few others send their thoughts off with little regard to their impact.

Kindest regards.

I dip into your blog occasionally and am glad I did today. I feel this keenly in my own blog and also in the blogs I read. I often long for someone to talk about something that isn't beautiful or balanced. I want to know that they are human and mucky and misbehaved. But alas, I look to others also to see the beautiful and balanced when my own life isn't. Good luck with your thoughts on this. Will be interested to see what you decide.

I think that anyone who has been around blogworld for the amount of time that you have feels this way. Especially when the success that you have had since you began becomes a factor.

I remember well the comments after your first book came out and how dumbstruck I was by them and I don't blame you at all for having pulled away somewhat. I miss the "you" in your blog but I can understand why you are hesitant to put that out there now.

Whilst I haven't anywhere near the following you have (which given my absence from my blog the last few months isn't surprising!)I've had the same feeling. The editing of the horridness of life made me feel it wasn't a true reflection anymore and it was wearing to pretend.

I for one hope you stay, in one guise or another, but if you don't I will understand and miss you greatly!

Back in 2009 your blog inspired me to start writing my own blog. And I am still going! I also found The Gentle Art of Domesticity inspirational.
Good luck with whatever you do next!
All the best,
Ingrid xx

Once upon time I had a blog and received a few very hurtful comments. Most of which were aimed at my decision to adopt a child from China and not from the US. I stopped blogging because it hurt so bad to have my personal decisions so openly ripped apart. So I understand about the editing part of an internet presence. For what it is worth, I enjoy may trips to your place on the web. It is calming and beautiful and makes my day just that much brighter. I hope you continue to blog but if you decide not to I completely get why you feel the need to stop.

Hello Jane. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing a bit of your life with us. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it is what you want.

Jane, just wanted to say that your blog (not to mention your books)has been an absolute inspiration to me. I came across The Gentle Art of Domesticity in our local library and was blown away to see someone writing so beautifully about exactly the sort of stuff I love. I went out and bought a copy straight away and then read all your old blog posts - just so fantastic! And have avidly waited for every book since.
I think people who criticise someone who can create such beauty are the poorer for it and are maybe operating out of some misguided principles that say women can't possibly enjoy such things - I know for me that crafting is the release that enables me to keep on with a high pressure day job.
Understand whatever you decide to do - just wanted to say thanks. Many, many times.

Good luck with your decision. I stumbled upon your blog actually for your photos of flowers...so I'll hang around whatever your decision ;)

I love your blog. I came here after reading about you on Mason-Dixon Knitting. However, I got your book G.A. of D. at the library only recently. I announced soon after checking it out that I needed to buy a copy, which I did. It is a source of comfort and inspiration for me, as is your blog. I would be sad if you stopped blogging, but could be comforted by your books. Maybe... : )

Jane, I just wanted to say that I've read your blog since I first bought the Gentle Art of Domesticity summer 2008. At that point I was suffering from postnatal depression and having difficulty adjusting to life as a stay at home mum. Your book was absolutely key in helping me redefine myself and find my inner domestic 'artist'. It helped me to realise that I could have a creative and fulfilling life at home that would please me and my family. I was finally able to let go of the successful career which I relied on to give me status and to embrace my new life. I know this has nothing to do with your decision to blog or not to blog, but I do hope you know that despite the bad reviews you have many more people who feel empowered by your writing. Maybe were not as vocal as we should be. A x

I didn't know anything about the negative comments about 'The Gentle Art of Domesticity',only that I made a big effort to get a second copy once it was out of print so I didn't have to share it with my daughter-in-law! I know I've ended up with a 'public' persona for when I write my blog. No-one wants to really no about the grimmer bits of your life unless you can turn it into a funny or poignant story so in the end it's hard to be entirely yourself to your readers in the way you can be to the ones who love you, warts and all! It's a tricky juggling act, and actually, I think you do it beautifully!

I do not have a blog, but have been reading yours since early Yarnstorm days when I first discovered blogs. Yours is and will continue to be at the top of my list and the one that I "save" to read!

I agree with all the others that have posted before me today - remembering the inexplicable criticisms with the publishing of your first book to the enjoyment of everything you share with us - books and blog posts immensely.

It is so good that you are sensing the need to think on these things. I look forward to whatever your decision may be, but hope it is a renewed vision for blogging.

It's odd and sad that while we appreciate compliments that come, they fall away somehow when someone says something negative. Why we cannot focus on all the good things said and discount the critic is a mystery.
I really like your blog, and I do not read that many, and I bought your first book and love it. Living here on the other side of the globe in California, it gives me a chance to feel a bit British for a little while and see all of the beautiful things in someone else's world.

I'm not sure what to say here, I just know that I need to comment to send my love and support. As a long-time reader I would dearly miss your blog if you stopped, but please do not feel any pressure to continue. I understand that negative comments can be soul-destroying and ultimately life-destroying. I would just like to introduce a gentle reminder that wherever you go, in the blogging world or in real-life, there will be people who criticise the things we do. The vast vast majority of those people insult others because they have problems of their own. The world can be a tough place and we as human beings evolve coping strategies. Unfortunately, lots of peoples' strategies involve lashing out at other people, 'I'll hurt you before you hurt me' mentality.

I understand that you may not be able to cope emotionally with negative comments and if so, feel free to walk away. But if you worry about what's being said in them, remember it says far more about them than it does about you. (They've never met you, remember :)

I have been reading your blog for over five years now, and I miss the old voice; there was a warmth and candidness that has slowly seeped away. I suppose you must preserve yourself, but I also cannot help but think that the world is richer the more we are able to share. It is is such a difficult balance, and what you choose to publish here, is of course your choice alone. The flippant and detrimental remarks made by the ill-informed and prejudiced few come with a great cost I am not happy to pay. But my thanks for all that you do share, and have shared, and continue to share.

The cruelty of others is breathtaking and very sad. I have been amazed at the vicious comments seen on various blogs and forums, so much so that I stop reading them. So I can certainly understand why you (and Mr Mason) would feel the need to pull back. Please do what you need to do to take care of yourself. That said, I do enjoy your blog and hope that you will feel able to continue. But I understand the price you pay to do so.

Hi Jane,

I completely understand, having gone through pretty much the same thing myself. Somehow, the appeal of writing dims when it has to be edited and "falsified" (if it can be termed that) so that any real glimpse into the the true self behind the writing is veiled. At the same time, one does begin to wonder whether or not one really wants to share that true self on the web, anyway. As one commenter said, it is a strange "world" on the Internet, indeed, and I for one, have come to realize how much I value a certain amount of privacy.

I do love reading your blog, though...you have an irrepressible energy and zest that I adore...and a similar passion for books, handwork, food, and old movies to mine. I would hate to see your blog go by the wayside, but again, "real" life will tell you what you need to do for yourself. Don't let our pleadings sway you...just know that we will love to read what you write if you should decide to continue!

I want to thank you for the colours. You use colour in a wonderful way in your blog. It often feels like a celebration of colour. Gorgeous images that make me, and a lot of other people, happy.

A few years ago when you wrote about various Persephone books you were reading, you described the women writers detailing the minutiae of their lives, the humdrum, the everyday. Small, contained stories without giant sweeping plots and huge dramas, but encapsulating their lives. I felt that your blog was the modern equivalent. A way of detailing life on your own terms. If these writers were alive today, they would have blogs.

As others have said, I wish you you well with whichever course you take. Be true to yourself and what you really want to do. We might post positive comments, but we don't write your blog. With best wishes.

I agree with all the above

To my mind it's normal to editorialise, to protect not only your own vulnerable bits, but also those of your husband, children and others.

But writing has to be for its own sake too - in my case it's to push out the worky bits and promote the otherwise easily passed-over good bits. So oxslip is really for me and if others like to look at it so much the better. If Yarnstorm has become a chore it's time to stop, much though I'd miss it along with all your fans.

Final thought - you have a loyal readership, if you want to try a new way of writing you're in a good position to do so.

Jane, You do seem real to me. Please carry on and let the naysayers spit bullets. You have so many people who follow your meanderings and love the trip!

I first encountered your book, The gentle art of domesticity, when I was experiencing some loss and turmoil - I had just moved, was unable to find a job, and was rendered immobile by knee surgery. Your book and blog were bright spots and helped me to refocus my energies on home life and creativity. I thank you for that.
I can certainly understand your need to rethink the blog. You seem to be such an energetic and enterprising person that I'm sure that your new directions in life and writing will be amazing. While some comments may be spiteful, I hope that you can also enjoy the fact that many more of us have loved learning about embroidered cottage gardens, over-the-top decorated cakes, and brightly colored socks and quilts. Thank you so much!

Oh Jane I agree ith the writers here. Without your books I would have never found read blogs,picked up knitting again knitting socks and teacozies,found Persephone books,all those old domestic novels, gone to a Kaffe Fasset workshop. My life in retirement would have been quite different, Thank you, Thank you.

Jane, don't give up. Your books and blogs give us a good cheering up in what can sometimes seem a very rushed drab modern world. Sod the critics and do what you want to do - we'll miss you if you stop though!

Regardless of what you choose to show to us, and what you choose not to, we appreciate and love you for the vision that you bring to the world.

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