About Schmutzie and Schmutzie.com
My name is Schmutzie (shmuht'sē), a pseudonym that has just about outlived its original purpose, but I still like it just fine. I am also known as Elan Morgan, but that's just for legal purposes. Half of my friends in my offline life call me Schmutzie, so what you get here is less an alter ego and more a conjoined split personality, for which I will not go to therapy, because we get along so swimmingly.
I am a social media junkie, writer, blogger, photographer, web designer, needlecrafter, and feminist who types away from a comfortable spot in an armchair in Regina, Saskatchewan, where I live with the Palinode in an apartment with our three cats: Oskar, Onion, and Lula. We picked up the first two cats at the pound, and, with the help of a couple of friends, I stole the last kitten from a drunk who was trying to sell her for beer money.
I grew up first in a suburb of Calgary, Alberta, and then in a suburb of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I hate suburbs. Later, I was sent to a Mennonite boarding school where I completed grades 11 and 12 within the confines of small town life. I hated that more than the suburbs. I have been living near the downtown core in cities ever since. Downtown areas seem to attract more eclectic elements, and I have a thing for oddball strangers who talk about ketamine-crazed space aliens.
I was raised Mennonite, but it's not like you think. I come from a much more liberal group than the ones with the hats and horse-drawn carriages who live on farms. Mennonites are pretty much like any other group of protestants, only there is a strong belief in both adult baptism and pacifism that ties the whole thing together. Technically, we weren't supposed to dance or drink alcohol. There was even a list of rules up in my high school gymnasium, and one of those rules said in all-caps with three exclamation points AND NO DANCING!!!, so I was probably hellbound. I struggled with my faith for a couple of decades until I realized that I wasn't actually struggling with faith so much as trying to feel something that I just didn't. It was an it's-not-you-it's-me situation. Sorry, Jesus.
I graduated from high school in 1990. I took a secretarial course to appease my parents and later occasionally attended university in pursuit of a degree in English from 1993 to 2001, but both experiences left me feeling uninspired. I am less a student and more an autodidact. It's not that I don't like to study; it's that I am a problem-solving control freak, and I have been a much happier person since I realized that fact. Since then, I have worked in malls, coffee shops, bookstores, telephone sales offices, non-profit organizations, at a hotel and a university, and at home doing contract work. This armchair suits me just fine right now. It is the locus for my writing, blogging, graphic and weblog design, and needlecraft, and it is large enough to fit one of the cats in with me. It beats the claustrophobia of cubicle life any day.
I used to have cancer, but I don't anymore. My path through cancer began with a physical in the fall of 2006, a diagnosis of cervical cancer in the spring of 2007, and ended with a hysterectomy in July of that same year. I still have my ovaries, and so I still get to experience all the bloating, zits, and bitchiness associated with PMS. I think this is grossly unfair.
I wrote my first entry on this website in August of 2003 after the Palinode introduced me to blogging. I have been writing since I was seven years old, but in the years just before I started blogging I had stopped showing anyone anything that I wrote. I realized that this tactic was not going to make me a better writer, so I braved my way into the world of online journaling. I had a panic attack every time I hit publish for the first two years, but I would do it all over again, because I have developed a deeper and more soulful relationship with writing than I otherwise would have found. It has also brought me an amazing sense of community, inspired me to develop my design skills, and given me opportunities I never would have foreseen.
Aside from Schmutzie.com, Schmoetry, Phoneography, and Five Star Friday, I have also founded the Ninjamatics, the Canadian Weblog Awards, and the Grace in Small Things social network. I once scanned an entire copy of Quick, a newsweekly from March 1951, for your viewing pleasure. I am all over social media at Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and StumbleUpon. My writing is also featured at Aiming Low, BlogHer, and Life As A Human. I sometimes sell photographs and needlecraft items at my Etsy shop, and, last but not least, I do masthead, business card, book cover, etc. design for a modest price.
I also have a deep fondness for all things bacon-related, the doxology (a musical holdover from my Mennonite upbringing), and shopping on Etsy.
The rest is everywhere all over this website. Get comfortable, take a look around, and please leave comments. It makes me feel all cool and stuff.
Schmutzie.com was originally hosted by Diaryland. Then, it was hosted by Blogger beginning in July 2005. Since, March 2010, it has been hosted by Squarespace. Most, if not all, aspects of the site design are 100% pure Schmutzie and were hard won through many, many hours spent teaching myself HTML, CSS, and every other computery thing I needed to know, because I had previously only ever used WordPerfect. Unless otherwise attributed, the images on this website are created by me and are sometimes touched up in Photoshop. Some images are duplicated using a Canon CanoScan 5000F scanner. The cameras I use are a Canon EOS Rebel 2000 35mm SLR camera, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20, a Holga 120N/Holgaroid, a Polaroid Spirit, an Olympus Stylus 790 SW, and a Nikon D60. Lately, though, I've been using my iPhone 4 for most of my photos. For the body text, I use Georgia, because it's so gosh darned good looking.