It has been a long time since I went 5 weeks between original posts. (That is, not counting posts that direct you to something I published somewhere else, or posts when I aggregate other people’s work on a subject.) But illness and holidays and time with family and updating our adoption homestudy and writing other things and helping out friends all took precedence over blogging.
All this time away gave me an opportunity to re-examine how I feel about blogging in general, and about this blog in particular.
Generally, when I write for my blog, what you all are getting is a rough draft – I click publish, and “voila!” – my disorganized first stab at taking on a subject appears for anyone to read. Admittedly this is not how blogging has to be, but it seems to be how I do it. It is not my best, most poetic, most polished, most thoughtful work. It is what I am thinking now that I have a feeling might be useful to someone. It is like starting a conversation and not getting to stick around to see how it goes. Or sowing seeds for another to harvest, maybe, if any land on fertile ground.
In the past few months, I have been re-learning the art of slow writing – of multiple drafts written and set aside and re-read and re-organized, until I reach something that is better than I imagined I could have produced. It is only at that point that I declare the piece finished, mostly out of fear that if I touch it again it will get damaged. (I am still working out a better way to figure out when I am done than: 1-fear; 2-hit the deadline; or 3-editor says so. Let me know if there is a better way.)
Slow writing for me means not for this blog. I am not sure if this is mostly because I want to take advantage of the larger readership of other publications, or if it is because it is nice to get paid sometimes, or if it is because I am old enough to remember a time before the internet, when you didn’t really count as a writer unless you got a publisher to sit up and take notice. Anyway, there you have it. Or, there you don’t have it, until it is published.
In the meantime, while all of this other writing and bronchitis and traveling and parenting and other things were going on, the blog was still here, like… actually, all of the analogies I thought of would only make sense to someone born before 1980. So let’s just say – the internet is always on. The blog is here, with all of the entries, whether I am writing anything new or not. And it is encouraging sometimes to read the search terms that brought a new reader to a particular entry that will hopefully make a difference to them.
And so in blogging, as I hope in all of my endeavors, I pray along with Thomas Merton:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.