Welcome to Mrs M’s new corner of cyberspace!
This move has been a long time coming, with me mulling over the possibilities for a good year. As I hinted at in Four years, I felt I had outgrown The Double Life of Mrs M. I am no longer nurturing different personae in secret, away from the gaze of the corporate world, but am now fully incorporating my various interests, perspectives and values into a healthier, more joyful life.
As with moving house, moving from what has been a happy digital home to a new nest is a process. It involves weighing up priorities and working out what type of space I want, as well as figuring out the technical issues involved in a move. (In hindsight, these were actually the easiest!)
The prevailing assumption in the blogging world is that we all want to grow our readership to monetise our website, whether by selling advertising space, attracting product placements or just making a passive income from affiliate links. I knew from the outset that I wanted my digital haunt to be an advert-free space where my lovely readers can dwell and explore without a barrage of “buy-me” messages. As many of my articles touch on agency, celebrating old-school, productive home economics and re-imagining our world, including adverts would just seem disingenuous.
The decision not to monetise this space was easy. Working out how to describe and project my new blog was much harder. Is Mrs M’s digital home a lifestyle blog or a sustainability blog? Both or neither…?
Nature of this space?
I have an admission to make: I loathe the word ‘lifestyle’. The social scientist in me recognises its complexities and uses but invariably these days lifestyle is used to create wants and drive more consumption. Like many, I appreciate the photography of many so-called ‘lifestyle’ publications well enough. However, they often veer off into aspirational materialism (e.g. buy this or that, organise your home like this, travel to these destinations…) rather than being truly inspirational.
On a more practical level, my life is far too bustling, abundant and “lived in” for me to sustain a slick, curated lifestyle blog. What is more, it just wouldn’t be me, as my friends know only too well.
What about a sustainability blog? After all, I often touch on “ethical and green” living. I do occasionally use the terms sustainability and sustainable living as they have become a shorthand in certain contexts. However, as Mrs M the researcher delves deeper into these issues and tries to unpick the complex interplay between the environmental, social and economic strands of sustainable development, the more careful I am about using these terms.
That’s not to say there isn’t a place for sustainable, green or ethical blogs. They play an important role, and yes, I follow many, find helpful tips there and, best of all, a wonderful community. However, there is no point me trying to replicate what they do well, often with more succinct posts and better visuals.
So what to call my space if it is not a lifestyle or sustainability blog?
When I survey my life and how I live, what strikes me is the curiosity, the endless fascination with how things fit together and how systems work, whether chemical and biological (from food and soil organisms to weather and health) or social and economic (from human attitudes and labour patterns to production methods and trade routes). Yes, I seek to live in a socially and environmentally kinder way but curiosity seems to be the point of departure for this journey, as well as the guide.
So, what better place to collect the artefacts of my experiments and wanderings than in a curiosity cabinet? An old fashioned display case in which to exhibit the objects, curios, oddities of my explorations, items that are not easily archived using standard museum or library classification protocols. A cabinet that is quirky, random and an endless source of wonder, delight and inspiration. What better place than in Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet?
I hope you continue to enjoy perusing the artefacts of my journey and experiments in the years to come and as always, I welcome lively discussions and debates so please do leave comments or contact me directly with ideas or suggestions.
In musing about what I wanted my corner of cyberspace to be, I also thought a lot about how I describe myself. When I started blogging, it was all about the writing, about my love of using my primary tool (words) to tell stories, to pique interest, to challenge, to sow seeds… Four years on it is still all about the writing. Yes, I write from what I know and care about but Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet is and will always be a place to come to for the writing, as much as the content. So, although technically this is a blog, in reality I’m a writer, essayist and storyteller and I view Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet as an anthology or a compendium.