Who is Clever Manka?

Clever Manka is the titular character of a Czechoslovakian folk tale. I’ve been using it as an online handle for several years since my real name is shared by someone much more internet famous than I’ll ever be and I don’t think either of us care to be confused with each other.

The “dressed and undressed” tagline is from the story of Clever Manka, who meets contradictory requirements to arrive at a place “neither by day nor by night, neither riding nor walking, neither dressed nor undressed” by appearing just before dawn, with one leg thrown over a goat, wrapped in a fishing net. I’ve read a few versions that vary a bit on the conditions, but the neither dressed nor undressed (and the resulting fishing net) are pretty consistent.

The metaphor of being dressed and undressed is perfect for interactions on the internet. Some of us can expose our feelings and thoughts more easily under the anonymity offered (often not to the betterment of anyone but that type of person will not last long here), and I find it more comfortable to operate in this environment under an pseudonym–even if it’s hardly guarding my secret identity. Also, let’s be honest, online handles are fun.

A former beau referred me as Clever Manka a very very long time ago, I think (I like to think) because I am charmingly (not annoyingly) practical. I am also stubborn with a smart mouth that I’m terrible at keeping shut and those things might have had something to do with the name, too.

biopicI am not from Czechoslovakia. I live in Lawrence, Kansas with my partner (the Burgomaster), Chris McKitterick–a force of nature and one of the best and kindest human beings I’ve ever known. We are nothing alike.

Although I hate defining myself by my illnesses, I can’t pretend they don’t have a huge effect on my life. I have Hashimoto’s disease,  with a side order of chronic fatigue and various hormone imbalances. I spent about two decades trying to fix my body instead of fixing my life to accommodate my body. No more!

The image of La Parisienne that I use for my online icon/avatar was sent to me by someone who thought it looked like me (incredibly flattering). It’s a fairly accurate likeness on humid days, although sadly my nose isn’t quite that large. I understand one’s nose continues to grow with age, however, so my hopes remain high.

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