Sunday, November 03, 2013

Seven years, one thousand posts.

Well, here it is: today is the seventh anniversary of my first ever post here, and this is my one thousandth post.  It's been good.

I shall continue here, much as ever, though it must be said things have changed a bit.  In essence, blogging is still an important part of my life, but not quite as important as it has been.  It's easy to lament the changing times, blame Facebook, regret one's lost readership - or waning commentariat, in fact my stats and followers are still pretty much as good as ever they were - or apologise for one's own lack of motivation.   I know full well I simply don't put the effort into reading and commenting on other people's blogs or even replying to comments on mine; I've become a rather less sociable blogger, so I really can't grumble about anyone else's levels of attentiveness. Often I do still read, reflect on, am charmed, interested, (mildly)annoyed and generally enriched by what others have to say, but I don't end up responding to them in comments.  I don't know why I've lost the will to do so, I am sorry about that.  The corollary of this is that I'm really not so disappointed or depressed when I receive less response myself, which is surely no bad thing; I'm not sure one should be too reliant on strokes from others for one's moral and spiritual well-being - though be assured I always like the strokes very much!

I'm not sure that the Facebook explanation works as an explanation for a decline in blogging activity really.  When FB did their floatation thingy a year or two back I seem to remember a few pundits saying that it was in fact too late already: the fascination with sharing all of one's life on-line through that particular conduit was already in decline.  Many of my fellow bloggers, I know, largely eschew FB.  I do wonder, based purely on my own experience, if many of us just find that we've more or less shared and told most of what we want to share and tell and are now returning to our ordinary 'meat-world' (anyone remember that rather gross and dualistic expression?) lives, albeit enriched, enlightened and grateful for the people and things we've gained here.

Conversations are still clearly going on though, but perhaps I'm just not feeling so much like talking any more. And perhaps the knitting, in my case, expresses something of a need to return to something more concrete for a while. I do that reading back over one's own stuff thing quite a lot (bet you all do too!) and often get a touch of Jonathan Swift's 'Oh what a genius was on my when I wrote that!' feeling, which is a mixed pleasure, but it's still all there anyway.

For me, the discovery and sharing of photography was always one of the most important things about blogging, and I've really enjoyed that.  But while I'm sure I'll continue to take photos sometimes, of particular things or when I feel inclined, I no longer automatically pick up the camera anywhere and everywhere.  Occasionally I regret this, when something unexpected and serendipitous presents itself, but often I've a sense of being liberated from the necessity to document and make art of anything and everything, and of the time spent reviewing and editing images - though of course when I was more involved and interested in taking the photos, that wasn't a chore but an eagerly anticipated pleasure, nevertheless it was time consuming and difficult to keep up with.  Also, and seriously this is not fishing for compliments or self-pity, there is so much really excellent photography, from people with skills and equipment far beyond what I can acquire, that the excitement that came in with digital cameras initially, whereby everyone could produce quality images with little outlay or training, has inevitably faded somewhat; the world is awash with beautiful photos, it grows harder to add anything significant to that.

Yet, even early on, it occurred to me that one day I might find I was doing it without the camera, framing and seeing and appreciating the visual beauty everywhere without the need of a pictorial record, as I didn't before, and I think perhaps that is what has happened, to a point.  Likewise, I am seeing and appreciating the world generally better for the experience of blogging, without necessarily having to impose the demands, on myself or on others, of actually blogging about it.

However, as I said, I'm not stopping.  I think we all have to go on, or not, as we see fit.  The best blogs, to my mind, and many of them have been going quite a bit longer than I have, do so very largely for the blogger's own benefit, to record and reflect on the things which are important to them, without undue concern as to whether they are becoming repetitious or trivial, whether they're as good as they used to be, or even whether anyone else is paying attention.  I flatter myself in believing that some of my posts are quite useful or informative: there's still a kind of sporadic conversation going on on a four year old post between commenters, usually anonymous, who sailed on the Aztec Lady in their youth: every now and then someone is relieved to know they didn't imagine the existence of a chocolate spread called Nutch; lately a chap on holiday in this area told me he'd found  the post on the painted church at Morieux helpful, and the stats on the one about chestnuts indicate that I may still be forestalling people from eating conkers, or at least providing some diverting illustrations to Hopkins.  I try to describe the place where I live, and those I visit, in (English language) terms which I hope are appealing without being bland and rose-tinted.  I was gratified to see in the on-line visitors' book at Kerbiriou the names of a couple who I know had, by chance, used some of my blog as a guide to this area when they were staying at our friends' gîte a few years ago, which may have been coincidence but they may have followed a link from here.  I hope I can go on doing this kind of thing from time to time, and if the occasional poem still comes to me, I'll still post that as well. and who knows, things wax and wane in importance in life, I may find a renewed purpose here yet.

So, with much appreciation for all the friendship, kindness and encouragement, here's to the next seven.  I'll try to get round you all soon, and leave some comments!  I shan't be doing daily posting this November, as I've been posting pretty frequently lately anyway and have quite a bit of knitting to get done by Christmas.

Here are a few odd photos from the last Morlaix trip, which didn't quite fit anywhere else, just to finish on.

See you all soon.


tristan said...

really really really love the ?kale? leaves

Lucy said...

Thanks Tristan! Not kale, something more glossy and exotic in a town planting - maybe a canna?

Sabine said...

Congrats to seven years and 1000 posts! I always find your photography stunning.

Roderick Robinson said...

I thought it was just me; I feel faintly reassured that silence is enfolding others too.

I will keep going for several reasons, most of them ignoble, all egocentric. One such is that I too am shooting for a thousand, triggered by your announcement a few months ago. Rather foolishly I proposed a race but I can't have realised how close you were. Despite several recent consecutive-day bursts (slowed down by a new desire to post 1000-word short stories) I am still well short at 871.

I note your intention to keep going but you write in a valedictory tone and I feel I must take what comfort I can from being the original well-spring out of which flowed the Nutch investigations. The reference in Box Elder is anonymous but not quite; I take melancholy pride in "a figment of the (often quite febrile) imagination of the reader concerned"

No doubt by the time I reach a thousand posts comments will be a thing of the past and in my equally autumnal celebration I will be reduced to looking back into the highspots. Thus another opportunity to resurrect your piece about you know what.

marja-leena said...

Congratulations, Lucy, on an excellent seven years! A thousand posts is most impressive. And I've enjoyed every one, both words and photos. I too miss having as many comments as we used to, yet I think we really are doing it mostly for ourselves even if less often because we may have said it already. But that's life, and a good life too. Please keep on sharing for another seven, Lucy!

Oh, and I love that second photo too. You really are an excellent photographer as well as writer, Lucy.

the polish chick said...

congratulations. i'm so glad i was pointed in this direction. and as you said, things wax and wane. the desire to write or not write, photograph or not, comment or stay silent, those are all fine. if you make a chore of things, then the pleasure goes away, and if we don't blog for pleasure (or, as in my case lately, for sheer emotional necessity) then there really is no point to it.

the leaves are absolutely stunning. truly.

and this quote:
"I'm not sure one should be too reliant on strokes from others for one's moral and spiritual well-being" is something that i have and continue to struggle with. damn the ego!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Lucy and I am glad that you will continue blogging, I do enjoy reading (particularly about your knitting at the moment, it is something which I long to learn to do properly one day!) even though I'm afraid I don't get around to commenting as much as I'd like. Lovely photographs in this post too!

Catalyst said...

I love the photos of The Aztec Lady. I don't believe I had seen them before. And today's second photo from Morlaix is wondrously beautiful.

Lucy said...

Oh you're all so nice, how could I imagine not sticking around!

Sabine - I really wasn't fishing about the photos, more and more I see photography that is simply breathtaking, and an inexpensive bridge camera and limited know-how really can't compete. But then even average photos well edited and used as illustration can still have a place. I very much appreciate your visits here over the years.

Robbie - but I'm a couple of years ahead of you, and in those years I was a very assiduous blogger. I'm afraid frequent posting does mean fewer comments, it was ever so and is more and more so now; it's simply too much of a demand on readers, I'm afraid. Which is one reason I'm inclined to ease off now (notice how our Prague polymath friend, not posting for 11 months, quickly received a number of comments, absence makes the heart etc, and also makes one notice an infrequent name on one's feeds). The tone is perhaps more valedictory than necessary; such gestures often come before an unprecedented spate of activity and presence. I forgot to mention on the you-know-what post: the body created to oversee the bringing up to date of septic tanks rejoiced in the acronym of SPANC. Which isn't much better with French pronunciation. Thanks for all your loyalty, encouragement and inspiration, to say nothing of the plane ride.

ML - I can't thank you enough, you are one of the most talented, constant, generous and ego-less readers, commenters and fellow bloggers it's been my privilege and pleasure to have along the way. I think perhaps we worry too much about repetition; we're probably more aware of it in ourselves than others are, and it doesn't matter; the seasonal and cyclical rounds are an integral part of the good life you describe. I really wasn't fishing about the photos...

PC - Oh, don't let's be too hard on ourselves, and let's enjoy the strokes!

Chloë - you're a joy and a tonic, a younger blogger with special interests and talents like you does the heart good. I'm really happy you enjoy the knitting posts; it has to come at the right moment, I think, You're focussed elsewhere just now, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it in the future.

Bruce - I treasure you. Glad to bring the Aztec Lady to your attention, the current owner and skipper took full sized copies of the pics with a view to printing and mounting them and putting them up in the cabins - don't know if he did!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Lucy! Seven years... the Age of Reason. But please don't be too reasonable, keep that wonderful capacity of yours for amazement. That is what makes us -me anyway- follow you. Many happy returns. Ken ur wech all ('until another time').

Beth said...

Dear Lucy, heartiest congratulations and more than that, a huge thank you for these 1000 posts and seven years of blogging companionship and beauty shared! You are one of the fellow-bloggers I'd most like to meet someday, along with that husband of yours. We go way back before the days of qarrtsiluni, but I think it was then when I realized what a fine photographer you are, with more of a unique eye than you give yourself credit for. I always feel renewed, enlightened and refreshed when I come here, and hope you will stick around for a good while to come. I too feel less compunction to record and share what I observe, and it's liberating as well as, I think, a step toward the relinquishment and simplicity that comes with age. However, what we do does matter to people; it's not just for ourselves, even if the comments don't always reinforce that the way they used to. xxoos.

Francesca said...

Lucy, your photographs are always excellent, and I really enjoy your effortless use of language, describing and revealing with such a light touch. x

Rouchswalwe said...

Lucy! Well, you're a tenth of a way to Banzai! I'm so happy I stumbled upon Box Elder after you commented on my newbie blog many years ago (I've just checked and it seems I'm at 931 -- heads up, dear Robbie!).

So I shall mix up a Dog's Nose cocktail forthwith and toast to your next thousand beautiful, colourful, boozy, heartfelt, unique, eye-opening, delightful, musical, poetic posts. Prost!

Lyse said...

Félicitations et bon Anniversaire à ton blog Lucy!
Continues de te faire plaisir , de NOUS faire plaisir. Partager ses joies et ses émotions n'est pas merveilleux ,??
Tu fais de bien jolies photos et tes reportages donnent envie d'aller vers les endroits que tu décris.
Je vois qu'il y a des orangers en Bretagne, j'ai moi-même un citronnier. Les fleurs de ricin sont en plein épanouissement
A Bientôt

Lucy said...

Thanks agan.

Setu, I feel your visits here are a great compliment. I've said before that your presence here always raises this above the level of a regulare cliché expat blog; that you are a Breton by birth, culture and language, and a highly cosmopolitan and cultured one, shows, I hope, that I'm doing something right!

Beth - Thanks so much, and for all the gentle encouragement and thoughtful and serious work you've don't at Cassandra's; you're one of the best!

Francesca - you're proof that one can go on finding new friends and their blogs, since we've only been visiting in the last year. Dracula brought us together!

RS - yes, I think I found you through Tristan, and what a good friend you've been. I shall look up a dog's nose(!) forthwith. (My posts are only occasionally boozy though... :~))

Lucy said...

Et Lyse aussi! Merci à toi, mon brave, faire ton connaissance ici à notre coin m'a fait un tel grand plaisir. À bientôt!

YourFireAnt said...

Your photos have been wonderfully important to me (especially one of them ;-) ), and the observations on the land and of your life there. I'm glad to know you will continue. People ask me now and then if I've given up blogging, and I tell them I haven't. I'm just on a long break.

I'll write you a nice long e.mail letter soon.


Lucy said...

T - thank you dear one! I shall look forward to that with great pleasure...

Crafty Green Poet said...

beautiful photos and congratulations. i think there are just so many other options about now - FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, photo sharing sites, Pinterest and people are feeling they're spreading their attention too thinly. Blogging is still my favourite form of online communication and i can't see myself giving up.

Unknown said...

It seems to me that blogging is like the old pun: Is life worth living? It depends on the liver.

Box Elder is a commentary seen through one pair of eyes on life in a beautiful and for many of us an exotic part of the world. Because of the truth and precision of its writing and its Images it extends without effort from the particular to the general. Montaigne would understand that.

This makes me wonder if there is need for the sort of exchange - you read my bog if I read yours - which seems to be implied in your account. Of course dialogue is necessary and stimulating. But in my view Box Elder stands alone for the quality of its creative input. No reflection on your commentators, their quality and insights.

Please keep it going for the satisfaction it gives you and the constant pleasure and enlightenment it gives others.

Quality is scarce in a hurried troubled world. We should all try to conserve it.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Lucy, I missed the date to congratulate you but here I am and my good wishes are still warm and toasty. I share in the praise so well expressed by your other commenters. Your blog is addictive, in a good way, and often resonates with me. I look forward to our meeting, whenever that may be, confirming what I already am sure of: we are friends, depuis toujours.
And by the way, what you wrote above about blogging is exactly how I am feeling re this subject.

Jeff S. said...

Congrats on seven years. I only recently discovered your blog (after, I believe, you discovered mine) and I'm greatly enjoying your take on France. As blogging has gotten "uncool," I've only become more intrigued by people who continue to do it anyway...

Fire Bird said...

Is that a chard leaf with the white veins and stem? Quite beautiful... Yeah, I can't believe how long we've been doing this!
I keep seeing FB in your post and comments, and thinking it refers to me (oh dear, narcissism reigns)

Fire Bird said...

no, not chard, too dense, some sort of cabbage??

Jean said...

Belatedly, warmest congratulations and thanks from me too, Lucy. Like Beth, I find your photos, as well as your verbal 'take' on things quite different from anyone else's and I can't imagine your gentle appetite for history, culture and beauty ever palling. Any creative project has its ebbs and flows, and, to me, is all the more engaging for that - whatever the internet pundits say.

Lucy said...

And again!

CGP - I'm always deeply impressed by the sheer number of high quality on-line things you keep up with, as well as having a very busy real life too. Glad to hear blogging has a special place in your heart and you will continue to do it.

Joe - I find it hard to imagine life now without some kind of exchange of words and thoughts with you, wherever and however it takes place. I'm glad I present this part of the world in a way that you enjoy.

Natalie - amen to that!

Jeff - so glad you surfaced here, I'd temporarily lost you! You are clearly a scholar and a gentleman, and your blog is a treasure!

FB - no, it's not a vegetable at all, but some kind of glossy ornamental in a municipal planting in Morlaix, something a bit like a canna, but not quite. Glad you're still at it too!

Jean - what a lovely comment, thank you. I suppose one of the beauties of this is that one can go in whichever direction one wishes, and not worry too much about belonging to any particular genre or stratum... I'm glad it seems to work, and I will try to keep finding more subject matter!

christopher said...

You're right about the prime force of blogging really being the writing, not the reading. Write for whom? My family doesn't care. My nearby friends do not blog, so that's all facebook and I don't really participate all that much there either. It's not a social thing with me. I don't like the publishing game either. But I want an exposure. Hence the blog. Perfect. Publishing without responsibility. I go to other sites for inspiration not for social reasons. This even though I love some of my blogging friends. That especially means you. And Tom. Thanks for connecting us.

Sheila said...

Wow, I picked a momentous time to check in and see what you have been up to. 1,000 posts! I can hardly imagine it....It made me check my own, and I'm at not even 400. I never had looked at that number before.

Oh, Lucy, I can't imagine not having your blog to come to, even though I haven't been as frequent as I once was. Many blogs I don't even look at anymore....and it is simply because time and energy are limited and needed elsewhere.

But I always find joy and beauty, whether you write or share photos. And I struggle too with the "anyone can take good pictures anymore;" even though I take a lot more photos now than I did twenty years ago, I take them less passionately than I did in the pre-digital world. It took some of the fun challenge out and added more computerishy challenges. I don't know 1/100th of what my new camera can do, because I am just less interested in it than I was my old SLR.

Anyway, I'm glad I found this, and I celebrate with you your 1,000! And I am thankful you are part of my world. Sending a hug and love and hoping for the day it isn't via a computer. :-)

Lucy said...

Thanks again.

Christopher - yes, well said.

Sheila - so glad you're still around; I like it that you take long breaks sometimes but still come back. Yes, I hope we meet for real one day too.

HKatz said...

Congratulations on seven years :) I love your blog and continue visiting it because of its beauty, visual and textual.

As I write for a living now, I find myself commenting less frequently on the blogs I read. I just want to give my fingers a rest.

Les said...

A belated congratulations on seven years and 1000 posts, Lucy! I've also vastly decreased my blogging and blog reading in recent years, also with less desire to share everything but also just less time to devote to it. My full-time job takes so much energy. But I do value the online friends I've made who continue to blog, however sporadically and share a bit of their world. I was an avid letter writer in my younger days (pre-blogs, pre-cheap long distance calling and Skype) and blogging often reminds me of letters shared with friends away over the summer or away at college, sharing bits of news.

Anyway, I love your blog here and appreciate the times you drop by and comment at mine. It's still a rewarding endeavor, as you say, changing the way one looks at the world whether you blog about it or not. Here's to many more years and posts!