Sunday, October 17, 2004

Blogging cycles 

I don't often look back over pieces I've written here. Just occasionally, if there's something I've been pleased with, I'll re-read it just to indulge in that warm glow of self-satisfaction, but there haven't been any of those for quite some time. Mostly I'm happy to let them scroll off the bottom of the screen, never to be seen again. So although I've been thinking about a pattern in how I've been blogging, it's an entirely theoretical view - I've not been back to verify the pattern.

It feels as though my blogging has been going in cycles, several weeks or sometimes months long. Something triggers a burst of energy and enthusiasm, and for a while I'm fully engaged, but then the pressures of daily life make themselves felt and the world of blogs starts to recede into the distance. Although that world maybe be real enough somewhere, around here my world shrinks to encompass only what I see and touch; everything else might as well be taking place in a parallel universe.

I'll be honest here - I don't like admitting to this, but I get jealous. Jealous of people who have time for those free-wheeling thought patterns that are the precursor to ideas that may eventually become words on a page or screen; jealous of those with time (and digital cameras) to go out and allow the visual world to break though the barriers of busy-ness and be seen. But to be fair I guess it's not just about time, although that plays it's part - it's also about being able to dispense with the filters that constrain perception into such narrow, conventional channels; about being able, with Blake,

"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour."

So anyway, whinging aside, lately I've taken the easy way out and allowed the everyday routines that should be merely a foreground to the wider vistas of life, to rise up and expand to fill the entire field of view, hiding the rest of life behind 20-foot-high hoardings that line both sides of the road, shutting out the scenes beyond. After a while it's easy to forget that there is a beyond at all.

It might sound depressing, yet it doesn't feel that way when you live it. Looking around, most people I meet seem like this - giving most attention to those things that are closest; the more remote something seems, the less attention it is given, regardless of it's importance. I suppose there's nothing necessarily wrong in that, but it seems that some of the big issues of life will never get addressed by taking that approach, unless something happens to thrust them into the foreground.

Only by stepping outside do you see this approach for what it is, but that becomes uncomfortable, so we don't step outside.

It's like living in a house with many rooms. If you don't visit them all every so often, you forget what's in them. Some become no-go areas - visiting them only seems to cause upset, trouble and pain, so we stay out of them; some become empty and lifeless, full of cobwebs and ghosts that don't want to be disturbed - we leave those well alone too; some have altogether different ghosts - we keep these doors locked for fear of what might escape from behind them. And so life becomes circumscribed, lived out in just a few safe, familiar rooms, the others left untouched. It feels as though life is full, maybe even complete, but then I wonder if really this one-room living isn't perhaps analogous to C S Lewis' metaphor of the spiritual life:

"It is so fatally easy to confuse an aesthetic appreciation of the spiritual life with the life itself—to dream that you have waked, washed, and dressed and then to find yourself still in bed."

Dreaming that life is full and varied when the reality is that it's contained within a narrow channel. Walking along just the main street of town, afraid to explore any of the side turnings.

I seem to have strayed a little from writing about the blogging cycle. I guess I'm sensing that my blogging is dropping away again and I want to catch it before it drops much further.


Okay you guys at Blogger... why do the template changes look okay in template preview but not when published?????
I'll try again when I have more.... time!!

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