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.