Monday, August 30, 2010

Bloggers block and thoughts on how to go forward

I have gone forward, not as one travelling in a road cast up and well prepared, but as a man walking through a miry place, in which there are stones here and there safe to step on, but so situated that one step being taken, time is necessary to see where to step next.
                                                             John Woolman's Journal

This quotation came into my mind at Meeting yesterday and the more I have thought about it the more I see how accurately it reflects my experience this year.

Six months ago when I wrote my last post - and I can hardly believe it was that long ago - I was full of good intentions and was intent on making a new start at writing regularly. I even started another blog for craft-related thoughts but that too I have neglected for six months. In February I thought that I was starting out on 'a road cast up and well prepared' but I have found myself instead in 'a miry place' and I got stuck in the mud!  

The year so far has been busy in many ways but I have not been allowing myself enough time to pause and reflect and think about what I might write here. I think, now that Woolman has helped me to look back, that much of my malaise stems from being prevented from going to America in April, where I planned to attend the QUIP [Quakers Uniting in Publications] conference and do some historical research, by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud. That was my miry place and although I have gone on with my many activities as usual, mentally I have remained stuck in it.

But gradually, and especially in the last couple of months, I have found 'stones here and there safe to step on' and have been feeling more positive. I put a lot of energy into organising a party for family and local friends to celebrate the amazing fact that Chris and I have been married for 40 years. I spent weeks tidying up the house and garden and the whole family helped with the catering and pulled together on the day. In spite of some rain it was a really happy occasion and wonderful to have all three children and their partners there and for me to at last really see them all as adults.

I have kept in touch with the world through Facebook, sharing photographs, comments and frequent status updates, but that is not the same as writing here. I have, although not perhaps consciously, needed time to see where to go next. Now is the moment to take a few more hesitant steps towards unblocking this blog.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Getting going again

As I said in my last post I've decided to set up another blog and have been spending time thinking about that. I've also been considering what to do with this blog and how to get myself writing here more regularly, which I have tried several times before.

On consideration I don't think that giving myself hurdles to clear, or more likely not to clear, is very helpful at the moment. When it comes to day to day thoughts I have a handwritten diary which serves me better and has done for years.

So I will write here when something happens that I want to write about in greater length or when I am looking for a reaction to help me onwards. I will also write a bit about my latest writing project - a biography of an 18th century Quaker travelling minister which I expect to be working on for several years to come.

As well as getting on with writing however I am also getting more involved with my meeting again. I fell into a long period of very irregular attendance when my mother was ill and even after she died I found it difficult to go back. It has taken me years to begin to reconnect with my local Quaker community and to go to meeting for worship regularly once more. Living in community has always been the part of Quakerism that I have found most difficult and have had to work at - but I know that I must [not should] do it.

My Inward Teacher has, as always, been gently but firmly pushing me onwards and made sure that a couple of weeks ago I went to a specially called meeting about nominations in our local meeting. Among other things I heard that all three of the clerking team were standing down and the committee had not been able to find replacements. Although it was not usual to ask for volunteers that was what they were doing. As I sat there I knew that I was going to have to put my name forward and it seems that another Friend was thinking the same thing. So I went home  and wrote an email and so did she and now we have both been appointed - as she said 'Now we've really done it!' We look forward to welcoming another member of the team and setting up more of a 'one off one on' continuity.

So now I am going to be much more a part of my meeting than I have been for a long time and hope that I - and they- will survive!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New year and another blog

As my birthday is in February this month always feels like the start of the year to me and also a good time to begin new things.

I have been writing this rather infrequent blog, mainly about Quaker things, for nearly 5 years now and sometimes I have written here about a few of the craft related things I've been doing.

Just now though it seems to me that making stuff is gradually becoming more important to me and what I have done and what I am planning to do deserve a blog space of their own. So I have started another crafty blog called Gilkin's Geegaws and hope to keep up with writing in both places reasonably frequently from now on.

I'll be back!