After a particularly stressful June, and an amazingly helpful time with my ever-wonderful Spiritual Director, I found myself writing 2 blogs in the space of 12 hours for the first time in months...I remembered how helpful I used to find the process of writing reflectively for this space, the web of wonderful connections that emerged, the fact that most of my best writing is here. And I felt wistful. I spend alot of time on twitter & have new & treasured friends there too - but the medium is utterly different, and I do feel the loss.
But ironically, it was a RevGals tweet that sent me over to look at the Friday Five for the first time in - well, a year possibly....
This was what I read, from my good friend Kathryn - one of those whom I really miss now I no longer spend my free time wandering through my blog reader.
A friend and I were lamenting recently about the good ol' days of blogging and memes. Certainly there are still some very active blogs around our web ring, but the days of the Friday Five getting 50-70+ responses are in the past. We lamented that the Friday Five is the equivalent of the women's guild of RevGalBlogPals.
I am one of those who went from blogging just about daily to periodically at best. Unfortunately, the number I routinely read has gone down as well. What about you?
1) Have your blogging (writing/reading) habits shifted since the days of yore?
Goodness, yes! I used to find time to blog well nigh every day - sometimes more than once. It was a huge part of how I learned in ministry during my curacy, a place to try out ideas, to receive encouragement and challenge, as I explored what it meant to be a priest and a parent, how to balance my own expectations and those of other people with the emerging reality of parish ministry...I loved this blog at its best and am sure that I was a better priest, more alert to God's presence in the everyday, because I was engaged in constant reflection here.
Then I became an incumbent in two very different but quite challenging parishes. I still look for God's presence in the everyday, but too often I'm galloping through life at such speed that I don't really engage with it. The weight of expectations has increased, as has the need for reticence and circumspection if I am writing about the parish. So, inevitably, my blogging has declined - and as for my reading.....When bloglines, the reader I'd used from 2004, announced it was about to vanish, I wasn't even sure that I needed to find a replacement...I now depended on a tweet to alert me to updates from friends - and so I often missed important news, the minutae of daily life that we'd once shared on our blogs. I can't imagine a return to my former practice - but I'm hoping, with the help of a few wise friends, to engage in some serious rebalancing of my life this year...and I know that, as part of that, it would be good for me to return to a regular process of reflection here if I can manage it.
2) Do you have some favorites that you miss?
Far too many....Some are still there, but I just don't get time to read them. Some have changed character (rather as this blog has) to become more of an official voice, less a personal journal. Some have gone for good...My friend and colleague HopefulAmphibian was one of the first to vanish, as he moved from curacy to incumbency...On the far side of that same divide, I now understand why....but I still miss his voice, along with many others, here.
3) Are there some blogs you still put in the 'must read' category?
When friends tweet about a blog update, I'll usually try to drop in to catch up - but I barely look at my google reader so I guess that means "no". How sad. Perhaps now is the time to change this...
4) If we gathered at your knee, what would you tell us about those early days of blogging?
I had no idea, when I first began to blog (as I found myself reading and responding to the writing of a small group of Greenbelt friends) that I would ever MEET anyone this way...But in being as honestly myself as I knew how to be, as I explored my first beginnings in ordained ministry, I found frienship, support and my voice as a small time theologian and began to believe that I really WAS the priest whom others seemed to see. Blogging changed my self-understanding and widened my horizons beyond all my wildest dreams. I'm certain that, if I'd not begun to build friendships all over the world, the life-changing trip to India in 2006 would quite simply have looked too frightening to contemplate...And I know that I'd never have crossed the Pond without RevGals reaching out to me, to share in the first Big Event. I guess that means that blogging changed my life...which sounds over dramatic, but is, nonetheless, absolutely true!
5) Do you have a clip or a remembrance of a previous post of yours or someone else's that you remember, you know an oldie but goodie?
This weekend I'll celebrate the 6th anniversary of my ordination as priest, and on Sunday I'll preside at 10.00 in my lovely valley church, remembering my 1st Mass at St Mary's, on 3rd July 2005. This is what I wrote then...and it remains so true, an inextricable part of who I am