Saturday, September 29, 2007

Long Time No Blog

For me, blogging (writing a blog, that is) seems to be such a laborious and self-conscious activity. I did a couple of blog entries last year (here and here) where I analyzed various blogs I enjoy, and why the writers of those blogs write them.

I gladly participated in, and tremendously enjoyed, The 40 Day Fast. I felt like blogging took on a higher purpose, and allowed a large group of people to focus on real needs in the world and how we can meet those needs, instead of being so self-focused.

But all anyone needs to do is look backwards through the full collection of my blog entries, and you'll notice that... well, for starters, there really aren't that many of them. I could say something about "quality not quantity" here, but it wouldn't be sincere. The real reason, it seems, is that I still can't find a purpose for doing this. I could do it. It's not impossible, and I certainly don't mean to sound whiny or upset about what I'm saying here. I have had fellow bloggers compliment my writing and encourage me to do more. In fact, in the back of my mind, I keep hearing my high school Creative Writing teacher's words to me when I graduated: "You have a real and genuine talent for writing. Please don't disappear into the woodwork and never let anyone ever hear from you again." I knew what she meant -- she was encouraging me to cultivate the gift, and not let it languish unused.

But frankly, I seem to be much better at reading blogs than writing blogs. "Well, of course," you might say, "that's a passive activity that doesn't involve creativity or passion or participation." But I do enjoy participating. I enjoy commenting (especially long comments!). I enjoy interacting with the people who write the blogs, and letting them know when I agree or when I disagree. I enjoy exploring the subjects they have started discussion on, and very much enjoy the feedback and give-and-take of blog-based conversation.

I feel like for every thought I have that I could blog about, there are already twenty other bloggers out there who have already written on that subject, and likely done it better or more thoroughly. Again, I need to emphasize that I'm not saying this to sound like I'm down on myself. I'm not struggling with personal significance or relevance. I have a very good sense of who I am, and more importantly, I feel like I am genuinely growing in a knowledge and understanding of who Jesus is, and how that affects every aspect of my life.

But I can't get over the sensation that I'm artificially contriving something when I write -- that I'm breaking no ground, achieving nothing substantially useful. That is, that I'm writing merely for the sake of writing.

And speaking as a reader of many blogs, one of the important things that seems to make them better is when they are written regularly. It doesn't have to be every day, but I don't like reading blogs (like mine) where most entries start out with an apology for how long it's been since I last blogged. When one does not blog regularly, then when a new entry is created, it often goes unnoticed, because nobody bothers to visit any more.

I know plenty of other bloggers who have just sort of stopped blogging. Usually, they don't say that's what they are doing. They typically leave some entry there at the top of their blog, and it's several months old, and eventually they get dropped from my blog roll. No point in visiting when there's nothing going on.

So by now, you may be wondering -- "Are you trying to tell us that you don't intend to blog any more?"

Well, I don't know. I guess I don't want to exclude the possibility of ever writing another blog entry. But I also don't want to do something half-heartedly, or out of contrived obligation. For the moment, I guess this entry can act as sort of a final entry, and a placeholder for possible future entries.

So, yes, I am currently not planning on writing new blog entries. I have Google Reader getting feeds from about 25 different blogs, each of which I read regularly and enjoy very much, and I typically comment on about half of those. I have real-life friends (e.g. Seth and Amber, those rad New Yorkers who we can't wait to visit again!) who I continue to interact with largely through blogging. So don't be sad. I'll see you all around -- you know, in the cyber sense of "see".

Friday, September 07, 2007

Lord, I Was Born a Ramblin' Man

The title of this post is pretty much baloney.

I'm much more of a homebody than a traveler, and rarely seem to venture outside my normal routine. But considering that the last time I posted, I was going to California, one could get the impression that I travel a lot or something.

This week, I am on a rare, but probably much-needed, vacation. We will be driving to Pennsylvania and Virginia to spend several days with family (some of whom I have not seen in over 10 years, in fact), and taking a brief-but-exciting tour through New York City between stops. Lord willing, it is our intention to spend much of our NYC time in the company of Seth and Amber of Five Cent Stand and FancyPants Factory fame.

We will be driving, so one of the oddest things about this trip will be parking our vehicle in New Jersey and taking a train over to Manhattan. We could drive in, but most of the reasonable-sounding advice we've received is that it's much more pleasant using the public transportation and not having to worry about traffic, parking, theft, etc.

Once again, I'm sure my public will eagerly await my return to Tennessee.