Scrapping My Dreams.

By Alison November 30, 2006 7 Comments 5 Min Read


Five years ago I started a scrapbook. Not a deliciously designed affair in the manner  of all you  wonderful artists out there, but a  true, scrappy book,  full of this and that, stuck in at random with little attention to layout , and scrawled  all over in pencil- poems,  snippets from books,  recipes,  bits from the novel  I haven’t got around  to writing yet and quotes that spoke to my heart at the time.

It is, I think one of my most precious belongings, because in it’s own demented way it tells my story:- dreams for the wedding I never had (A palazzo in Venezia, in an Italian vintage veil), my cluckiness for a babba in the year before Finn was born, passing fantasies (I want a dog.), self inflicted lines, apparently as punishment  (I do things I shouldn’t, I do things I shouldn’t over and over again, and on another page,  It isn’t enough, it isn’t enough, it isn’t enough…),  lines staight out of  Sex and The City  (I fancied myself as the  Englismans answer to Carrie Bradshaw at the time!!), poems I hardly understood at the time ( "At, the room contains no sound, except the ticking of a clock which has begun to panic  like an insect trapped in an enormous box, Books lie open  on the carpet. Somewhere  else , you’re sleeping  and beside you there is a  woman who is crying quietly, so you won’t wake." by  Wendy Cope), images of domestic bliss contradicted  by  unspoken longing for goodness knows what,   housekeeping advice, lists of books I wanted to read, and words of wisdom from women better than I.

And then it stops. All of a sudden. The last completed page features a short article by Danzy Senna on being thirty two. A sunlit image  of a creamy yellow dining room. A quote from Barbara Jordan- In the morning I say: "What is my exciting thing for today?"…Don’t ask me about tomorrow… (Don’t you just love that??), a picture of Madonna looking suitably demure, a recipe for herb popovers and a snippet about depression from "The Noonday Demon" – "Depression is the flaw in love. To be creatures who love we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair."

And after that nothing. Half a book filled with blank pages begging to be filled with dreams.

So what happened? Finley and then hot on his heels, BrocanteHome, two years old last week. I no longer feel the urge to glue things onto paper because this blog satisfies my urge to express myself. And yet, and yet and yet…

There is an honesty in the pages of that scrapbook that cannot exist in a blog. This isn’t to say that what is here isn’t the truth, but that I am constantly aware of my audience and some how find myself censoring my thoughts accordingly.

In the past few days, both Autum and Alicia have written about the mixed emotions blogging inspires in all of us who have let it shape our days. It is something I have often talked about because in so many ways blogging has changed my life,  created order where there was chaos, helped me document the first few years of my babbas life and the last few of my relationship, and I think, inspired me creatively at every turn.

But I am not a good blogger, because I’m not really sure that I have fully embraced the concept of community. I get shy. Lurk around other peoples blogs, laughing and crying with them and never saying a word. I consume every comment I recieve with glee, and never continue conversations I myself have started.  I am a disastrous blogging buddy. Never take part in memes or swaps, email other bloggers to tell them how one of their posts has made my day, or or once or twice, changed the way I see life. You see BrocanteHome to some degree exists in a vacuum of my own making and I suspect it is because of some deep rooted anxiety about revealing too much and yet not saying quite enough. That somehow I never quite made the leap between scrapbooking my dreams and indeed my despair and allowing that to become anything more than  words that spill out of me, somewhat unbidden.

So I write. And I write. Sometimes prolifically. Sometimes not a lot. I make it pretty with pictures I stash from all over and I appreciate every reader I have more than can possibly explain. Perhaps blogging offers more opportunity for self analysis than any one person could possibly need, and yes I suspect that occasionally I am a tad more self indulgent than I should be, (It’s my blog and I’ll cryif I want to!) but I  make sense of my world here and feel no obligation to share that that I am not ready to share, not because I afraid of judgement but because somehow I trust myself to reveal, word by word, my truth. However and whenever it falls from my mouth.

Words matter to me you see. Wander around my house and you will see, indeed sense it  in every room. From the bossy little indicments  I write to myself on the kitchen blackboard,  to the words of wisdom scrawled in violet ink on an old postcard stuck in my bathroom mirror (Act! Act for yourself. Do the hardest thing in the world for you. Face the truth!). From the different songs playing in every room- Frank Sinatra in the kitchen, Paolo Nuttini in the living room, and Chrystal Gayle in the bedroom, to the piles of magazines and books stacked wherever you look.

Our whole lives are scrapbooks. We are just so blessed these days to have such a wonderful medium to share them aren’t we? Regardless of what I think I am censoring, the truth is out there isn’t it? We just have to read between the lines occasionally.



  1. Kim says:

    I personally am very glad that you blog and I gain much from reading your entries. Please keep sharing!

  2. Marylène says:

    Guess what I would like for a Christmas present in, say, 2009? The Brocante Home book! A daybook like Simple Abundance, divided by seasons, months and days. Every day, your thoughts about the joy of having a home and taking care of it, thoughts to help us feel grateful, thoughts to give us courage when life is hard, etc. Suggestions of scrumptious things to do and how to do it. A schedule for the year and for each season and special holidays (like your Christmas calendar). Your recipes. Even pictures of your place (it looks charming!). I would love a book like that, a book for people like me, who feel that homemaking is a boring waste of time. And you know what? You can do it. You have almost everything you need in your blog archives. Sounds interesting?

  3. Well said, honest and true; Yuo do a good job and that is a gift you share ever so freely!

  4. Alison, I personally have gained so much from your blog too and look on house work now as not so much of a chore, but as making my house a home that is pretty for my family. I am even off to find the lavendar oil to mix with the vinegar today. You have truly touched so many people.

  5. lizzie says:

    Write on, write on Alison you are a bright spot in cyberspace and although I read other blogs some more earnest and searching than yours – you are more real than any of them !!

  6. Heather says:

    I also love the idea of you writing a Brocante Home Book!! You have a wonderfully creative soul which I enjoy each time I visit you here!

  7. Joanne says:

    'There is an honesty in the pages of that scrapbook that cannot exist in a blog.' Alison, I think it's just fine that you don't 'reveal all' to us in your blogs. I think we all need to keep something of ourselves to ourselves. Your honesty is amazing, however, and what you do reveal of yourself lets us know that we are all pretty much the same at heart – we all just want to be loved (by ourselves as well as others) and appreciated, and to find and revel in the joy we know is possible in our lives. So thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with us – don't feel bad about not revealing all.

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