Keep Puzzling

Keep Puzzling

What's your name?

Where are you based?

Tell us about what your ordinary day looks like.
I'm in my 30's and I live in a small town in France. I've had chronic health issues my entire life and I was diagnosed with autism as an adult.

How did you get into the world of puzzling?
I think I've been a puzzler my entire life. I probably started with kids puzzles and as I grew up, I was doing a few puzzles each year. But I started getting bored of the stock images we were getting back then so I was mostly redoing the same puzzles over and over again. It was just one of my many hobbies. With my chronic health issues, I spend a lot of time at home so I always had a craft project going on. Then in 2021, I was stuck at home waiting to get approved for a wheelchair and I lost a lot of function in my dominant hand. I had to give up my hobbies one by one until the only one left was puzzling just when I had to spend even more time at home. So I went looking for a few more puzzles to do, with more interesting designs and I landed on #puzzlegram.

What makes you keep puzzling & how often do you puzzle?
I puzzle at least 5 or 6 times a week, very often for 3 or 4 hours at a time. It makes me feel like I accomplished something. Even if it's just a puzzle. I've been unable to work for the last few years because of my health and not having a job sometimes makes me feel useless. But finishing a puzzle makes me feel like I still accomplished something, no matter how small it can be. After a few weeks of daily puzzling, I realized that puzzling also helped with my chronic pain. It's something I call "pain puzzling". By going hyperfocus on puzzling, I fill my brain with logic and strategy and it doesn't leave a room for my brain to really register the pain.

What is your favorite type of puzzles?
I love gradients and colorful puzzles. I do any piece count, from 99 pieces to 9000, as long as I enjoy the illustration. I also love doing wooden puzzles.

During puzzling sessions, do you listen to anything or puzzle in silence?
You'll never hear complete silence in my house, I hate it. I always have a movie or a TV show going on in the background. It doesn't matter if I've already seen it, I just need the white noise. When I do speed puzzling, I listen to my special "speed puzzling playlist" instead.

If you were to describe what puzzling means to you, what would it be?
Puzzling brings me peace. It puts order in the chaos of my brain.

Tell us about your other interests & joys.
I love playing with my cat, Muffin, and teaching him little tricks. He's 11 now and we've been together since he was 7 weeks old. On top of collecting puzzles, I also collect enamel pins. I have master's degree in technical translation and I'm fluent in 3 languages: French, English and Italian. I have lived in Milan, Italy for a year. I find English a lot easier to express my thoughts than French. I love the fact that learning another language opens the door to experiencing a different culture.

I love that puzzling is something I now share with my grandma. She's the one that got me into sewing, knitting and crocheting when I was a teenager. And I got her into puzzling a little over a year ago when her hands wouldn't let her knit anymore and she was bored not knowing what to do. It's like we've gone full circle and the student became the master.

I finally got my wheelchair a little over a year ago and I'm now trying to become a wheelie master. This wheelchair is also the reason why I'll be able to go to the World's Jigsaw Puzzle competition in Spain in September and I can't wait to meet other international puzzlers.

Do you have anything you want to share?
I'd love for illustrations on puzzles to be more disability inclusive. We talk a lot about diversity and we've seen progress with portraying different body types, styles or skin color. But while I've done well over 1000 puzzles by now, I still haven't been able to get more than a dozen of puzzles portraying disabled people.