Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bye for now

I think the time's come to bow out here, at least for a while.

I didn't think I'd do this, that I'd presumably do what so many old friends and better bloggers have done before, simply fade away without a fuss, occasionally dropping back to leave a word or a picture, but I think I need to make some kind of a clear decision, say it out loud and stick to it. It's not easy and feels a bit dramatic and portentous; Box Elder has been my companion and an important dimension of my life, for over ten years now, even as my relationship with it and the people who come here has changed and evolved.

The reasons are several. This blog used to serve as a means for friends and family to keep up with our news, which I don't get the impression it is any more. From a creative point of view, I rather sense I've run out of steam; the drive to write to make poems and take photos finally faded away a couple of years ago, but perhaps that doesn't matter too much, and needn't stop me posting in a chatty way. The sometimes almost oppressive need to 'feed the blog monster' which was part of the activity in early days hasn't had any real hold for a long time, though there is always the slight nagging 'I haven't blogged lately, I suppose I should...'. But it's not much trouble to post something now and then, I hope in a reasonably well-written and amusing way, about Elfie or knitting or what we've had to eat, but my doubts as to whether there's any point in doing so have reached a critical point, and that's the chief rub.

Repetition always stalked this medium; whatever you blog about, after a time there's a limit to what you can post on that you haven't before, especially when it's mostly the domestic detail. But also I'm afraid I'm giving in, at least for the moment, to the weight and darkness of the world outside. I feel somewhat uncomfortable writing like this, which is another indication that I think I'd prefer to shut up for a while; it seems to me that the world events of the last year, and even more those which I fear are to come, need a response I find myself unable to give them, at least not here. Fluffy stuff won't do any more, and I can't get away from a sense that in more and more places I go on-line there is spreading toxicity, anger, mistrust, self-importance and bitterness that are leaving me feeling depressed and powerless either to heal or to ignore. There may well be good and brave and healthy things afoot too, and I wish well to those who are at work on them. I suppose it is a kind of spasm the world is going through, something inevitable, needful even, but I feel I have to detach from it. It may be copping out, the sin of despair, being a precious snowflake, whatever, but to avoid the damage I feel it's doing, and just to be useful to myself and the people I care about, I need to back away.

That said, I trust I'll keep such friendships as want to be kept; I intend to go on frequenting other blogs and showing up in comments boxes sometimes; in truth I've felt for a while now that what I've written in the comments threads of one or two other people's blogs has been of more worth and interest than most of what I put here, which might say something of the unsatisfactory relationship between me and my blog these days. (In fact, I'll probably spend a bit of time hanging out here in the archives, some of the stuff I've done wasn't half-bad...). I'll go on using and visiting other on-line places like Ravelry, Pinterest, the épagneul breton discussion forum...  But perhaps I need to redirect my time and energies somewhat.

Since the fire I've felt a great need to make changes; this has been put on hold rather over this period of winter suspension, but simply on a personal level I know the coming time is going to place a lot of demands, mental, physical and spiritual, if you will. We have been made vulnerable and aware of the contingent and fragile nature of our being here. This isn't necessarily any bad thing, but combined with the sense of foreboding that world events are imposing, it takes its toll and has to be managed. There are things I can't afford.

The changes can be positive too, though. I'm quite interested to know what it will be like no longer to be a person who has a sense of obligation to blog. I hope that in a year or two, the plans I feel I need to concentrate on will be coming to fruition, perhaps even the world will look like a somewhat brighter and less threatening place, who knows, and I may feel like writing and photographing and making something of life again through this medium. I won't make the mistake of saying I'm stopping for good. I may also feel moved to share things from elsewhere here, since I don't do facebook or google plus or anything, but we'll see.

I can't express enough how much I've appreciated everything that blogging has brought, the joy and catharsis of posting and even more the friendship and support I've had from you who come and read and comment, in good times and bad; how comforting you've been in the loss of loved ones, times of illness and anxiety, how helpful it has been to write about the things like the fire and to receive your kindness and sympathy and useful responses; I can't imagine having been through those experiences without them. And indeed, the encouragement and praise and joy when I've produced something good here. Thanks and thanks again.

So, simply, bye for now, not for ever.


the polish chick said...

lucy, you will be missed. i do hope we'll keep in touch via the occasional email! but i do understand, and in fact i've been feeling this way myself of late. this bit, especially, resonated:

"It may be copping out, the sin of despair, being a precious snowflake, whatever, but to avoid the damage I feel it's doing, and just to be useful to myself and the people I care about, I need to back away."

i also feel like i use my blog as free therapy and it's started to feel old and heavy and i don't want to be burdening others with my mental health issues when there are, like you said, bigger things afoot.

i think you should take whatever time you need without any guilt about "copping out". this should, after all, be a joyful endeavour, or at least a meaningful one. when it becomes drudgery or takes away from your energy to live IRL, as the kids say, then you are right to walk away.

as i aid before, your musings about domesticity and dogs, meals and trips, were always welcome in my feed, but i wholly support you (not that you need me to) and wish you well in the times ahead. (i almost wrote "hard times" but we don't really know, do we?)

Les said...

Good luck, Lucy. I recently gave up trying to maintain my blog as well. I copied all my posts into words docs for posterity, stopped monthly TypePad payments, and will close the blog down when I get a chance (currently reverted to a nonpaid template).

I've enjoyed your lovely blog, but understand and share many of your feelings about it and the world right now. Keeping up with many people on Facebook, though I know some people will never be on it. Not the creative medium of blogging, but at least keeps me in touch. And I do follow a few blogs still that are active, plus some posting photos on Instagram and Flickr.

Take care and take heart. We went to an enormous rally in Boston yesterday, 175,000 people. So much bad in the world, but so many determined to counter it.


Zhoen said...

I'll miss you so.

Funny, my blog never, or never for long, felt a burden. It was always a source of creative joy. And now more than ever. Never had any expectations, not even readers. And it's been a useful searchable memory storage system. But that's just me, and I've always been comfortable mixing the deadly serious with the utterly frivolous. I could no more stop blogging than you could stop knitting.

See you on the flipside.

marja-leena said...

I am sad to read this but understand fully. Your blog has been on my favourite top ten for as long as I can remember - will miss you! I wish you well with the upcoming changes and demands in your living situation and hope you will find joy and comfort.

I am in that borderline now as well, questioning my own commitment as I post less and less frequently yet not wanting to quit. It is partly laziness, partly the feeling of repeating myself. I am not into social media so will probably keep the blog up just for the sake of the "gallery". This sad crazy world must not shut our creative voices.

Thank you for your lovely blog and for your friendship. Take care of yourselves.

Catalyst said...

Lucy, I know just how you feel.

Though at most times I am probably less worried about the world and its new masters (monsters), I can understand how so many of my favorite people feel this dread.

I also have been feeling this sense of "I've said it all . . blogged it all . . posted all of the photos." SWMBO often tells me that no one really cares what we eat.

So, though I will miss your deep thoughts and beautiful photos, I'm wondering if I may not follow you. I have found in my later years that silence has great value.

So, ta-ta for now and I hope to read you again when you feel the muse beckoning.

Love and life.

Beth said...

Lucy, I will miss Box Elder, but hope we can keep in touch. The most important thing is to take care of yourselves, and I can well imagine that the fire was a catalyst for change and reassessment. "Making things" can be knitting, it doesn't have to be blogging or photography. However, I do feel you have a special and unique voice in both words and pictures, and I for one have always loved the glimpses of your life that you've shared. Take good care, and I hope to stay in touch.

Sabine said...

Lucy, this is sad news. I respect your decision, yes, and I do understand. But I will miss your writing and your photography. Please at least keep this blog site and who knows, one day you may feel like writing again.

I hope you will stay in touch and find your way into the comments from time to time. Take care, may everything work out well for you.

Dale said...

Lots of love, dear Lucy. I feel much the same way and may close up shop soon too. Thank you so much for all you've given us.

HKatz said...

I wish you well and understand a lot of what you're saying here and your reasons for needing a break. Whatever you choose to do, I hope it works out for the best. (Yours is definitely one of the places on the web where there isn't the spreading pettiness/cynicism/toxicity, so at least the archives will be here to look through.)

Roderick Robinson said...

Whatever I say will appear selfish, even if reduced simply to "You've helped me as a writer and a person. You will be missed." But I'll do that at least.

Ezra Pound: “And if you ask how I regret that parting? It is like the flowers falling at spring’s end, confused, whirled in a tangle. What is the use of talking! And there is no end of talking — There is no end of things in the heart.”

Avus said...

I have enjoyed our blog companionship for, what, it must be 10 years now, Lucy. But I understand your thoughts and feelings. Probably I shall soon go the same way myself. Blogging was an early 21st century phenomenon. Other stuff has come along and will, no doubt blossom and flourish, but then wither and perish. I shall miss it when I do decide to go.

My good wishes to you, Tom and Elfie. Keep safe.

Lucy said...

Thanks all. Feeling rather wobbly and tearful but I think I've done the right thing and hope I can find a clearer path now.

PC - cheers, and good luck. Your stuff never seemed like a burden, but we have to do what feels right (she says with breathtaking depth and originality).

Leslee - your blog was lovely, warm and bright and human, but you've probably done the sensible thing letting it fade away without a fuss. A pity if it disappears though, I feel these pages should be allowed to continue as a record. All the best.

Z - the aide-memoir thing has been useful, if I hadn't blogged about something directly I could usually link it to something else that happened at the same time and check back. Only works when you keep it up regularly though. Glad you're still enjoying it.

ML - yes, you were one of my first visitors and have always been a dear and welcome friend. I've no intention of closing or deleting the blog, and nor should you yours, as an archival store it is important. My creative voice has been getting quieter anyway.

Cat - you too were a very early friend, and I've always appreciated your gentle, loyal company here and at yours.'I have found in my later years that silence has great value', I agree and feel I need to work on this. I'd like to come and sit in you lovely home in the sun and eat one of your lovely dinners, and just be quiet together.

Beth - thanks, staying in touch would be nice. I don't make any claims for knitting, at least as I do it, as a genuinely creative, meaningful activity, but it pleases me and provides gifts and a point of contact sometimes.

Sabine - I certainly won't make the blog disappear, and will keep it open indefinitely. I'll also be around at yours, your courage and style are unique and inspiring.

Dale - I know, dear, and I am sorry. Thanks to you too, your poems have been the best, and your soul is great!

Hkatz - bless you, I've appreciated your friendship, your blog always seemed to me in a class of its own, and rather under-frequented, that you seem modest and not inclined to shout about yourself and wear your formidable intelligence and observational powers very lightly. I hope you go on doing what you do.

Robbie - stop making me cry. Really. We've spoken about changes and much else, as you know, this is just the logical next thing, I think. Yours is one blog I won't desert, one comments box where I have felt very happy to express myself freely and one friendship I can't imagine not having,. We will e-mail and stay very much in touch too, for all love! Thanks for so much, but as far as you're concerned I'm not going away.

Avus - Yes, you were a very early visitor, through Herhimnbryn, who remains a friend despite having quit the blogosphere long ago, so it can be done! Again, I have always appreciated your loyalty, courtesy and friendliness. I think I have your e-mail somewhere?

Val said...

Darn it...I just find your blog and you are off
I appreciate your feelings and reasons and hope all goes well for you.
I'm a dreadfully erratic blogger but love bumping into people and getting a glimpse at their lives. Hopefully I'll still bump into you!
all the best Valx

Lucy said...

Val, yes, I know, I only added yours to the sidebar a couple of weeks ago, and thought that even though mine was waning at least I was still finding new ones and new friends. I'll still visit yours, and I still owe you a Rav message!

alisonmiller said...

Lucy, I came to reading your lovely Blog via Joe Hyam and his via Clare Grant/Law and her inspiring Three Beautiful Things. Hers also led me to the beautiful Elspeth Thompson's writings on gardening... I once told Joe H. that reading these blogs and feeling inspired by them was as near to Morning Prayer as I could get. Yours is the last to end. But like a very good book I feel I mourned for you over Mollie, felt reticence with you when you took on Elfie, shed a tear when she alerted you to the fire and now feel happy to leave you three, bonded and contented with one another whatever else is going on in the world. Thankyou so much for all the effort and thought you put into Box Elder. I shall miss it but know that that all good things must come to an end. Take Care, Alison

Lucy said...

Alison, thank you so much, I feel so surprised and moved by that, I never knew. Montaigne, one of the many marvels Joe introduced me to, said we should practise how to die, this feels a little like what I'm doing now, or being present at my own funeral!

I didn't know Elspeth, but knew how well loved she was and of her sad taking of her own life; I knitted jumpers for Clare's children and hugged her and walked through Tunbridge Wells after Joe's funeral. These have been such times. Bless you and thanks again.

marly said...

Lucy, I don't have as much time for drifting about to blogs as I should like, but I always liked my vicarious travels and jaunts with you. And I have no doubts at all that where you go (even without my little bit of knowing) will be interesting, and that curiosity about and love for many things will continue to be your good guides. Much joy to you along the way....

Lucy said...

Marly - thank you, it's been a privilege to have your friendship. I was looking around me and thinking how much of the stuff around me, the fabric of my life books, art, even knitting wool, has come to me through blogging contacts, not least your novels and books of poems. I wish you all the success you deserve. See you around.

Jeff said...

Wishing you well, Lucy. Glad I got to know you a bit in the past year. In the year ahead, when the time comes, there will be a copy of my calendar-poem book with your name on it.

Lynn said...

I'll miss you--I've enjoyed reading about your piece of the world. I came to your blog through fiber arts but found so much more there. But I get it. I recently resurrected my blog and am, also, struggling with what direction it should go given the troubling times.

Rouchswalwe said...

Sweet Lucy! I hear what you're saying and am sending a big hug. Thank you for keeping Box Elder up. I will enjoy looking back and seeing what I might have missed the first time through.

Not quite a decade ago, you were one of the first to leave a comment on my young little blog. I hope from the heart you'll drop in sometimes in 2017 and beyond. My pace has slowed in the past few years, but I'll keep the words flowing and perhaps dust off my camera again. You inspire me.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Lucy, I've only just caught up with these sad news and I want to cry out: Don't go! But I completely understand and feel much the same though I think I'll keep on blogging until I just stop.

The way you respond to life, your daily life, has kept me coming back and always feeling refreshed when I leave. I will certainly miss your particular observations and style of being and writing. But it does seem that most of us long-term bloggers are feeling....what? Weariness or disillusion with the medium and perhaps its irrelevance in the face of what's happening in the world? Relevance is something I'm constantly questioning myself about. Anyway, please keep in touch personally and I'm counting on seeing you and Tom again, somehow, somewhere this year. xxx

Lucy said...

And again.

Jeff - likewise. Finding your blog seemed to me evidence that there were still wonderful things to be found out in the blogosphere: fascinating subject matter, fine poetry, formidable learning worn lightly and personal warmth and charm. I look forward very much to my calendar poem.

Lynn - thanks for coming back to say that, it's gracious of you; I feel I rounded on you a little for being brave enough to raise a very mild objection, and perhaps now I understand a little better where you were coming from. Your woolly work looks beautiful, and your life interesting and original. I shall be over to yours anon!

R - I'm so glad I did. I shall indeed look in sometimes. Be well, much love.

Natalie - and yet I understand a lot of you earlier bloggers started up in response to the Iraq war and other world events? I hope you do go on as you are and don't ever quite stop; I feel you state your views and feelings, indeed see things, in a clear, calm strong way, without being bullying or strident or egotistical. And your art is always a wonder, I'm sure there's enough there to share for several more lifetimes! Your friendship is treasured.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Sorry to see you stop blogging, though sometimes it just comes to the point of feeling it's come to an end. I definitely felt that with Bolts of Silk (the poetry journal blog i used to run) but Crafty Green Poet still has plenty of life in it yet i think. I'll miss visiting here!

Pam said...

Oh Lucy, I'm so sorry to hear that. You write so beautifully. So many bloggers are giving up. I too understand this to some extent - I often blog about my grandchildren now and am aware that other people's children aren't that interesting... and my own life isn't that interesting either, But I'm a compulsive blogger like Zhoen.

I'll miss you and your life and your knitting and your dog. All the best! If you ever come back, leave me a comment (if it occurs to you) so that I'll know!

Lucy said...

CGP - I'm glad you're keeping going; your blog always seems a kind of practical working space, serving as a record and logging your many activities; activist, conscientious, diverse in its interests and not ego-driven, like its writer. Thanks for your visits over the years.

Pam - I still think of you as Isabelle! Of course I would let you know if I restart, thank you for asking. I'm not ruling it out, though often in my experience resurrected (zombie?!) blogs are shadows of their former selves and don't live very long. But life will change and I may decide to launch back in, who knows? Never worry that your blog or your life lacks interest, I think there's nothing more worthwhile that keeping a record of the changes and growth of family and children, and in your case your character and intelligence shines through, as does the loveliness of your family. I shall continue to visit, don't worry!

Anonymous said...

And so it is.....
Keep in touch dear heart
Love Susan HHB xxx

Lucy said...

Thanks so much Susan, we will keep in touch.

Lynn, my mistake, I took you for another...

Soize said...

Allons bon...en voilà une nouvelle ! mais tu as raison, ça fait du bien de prendre le large de temps en temps, le tout étant de réussir a ne pas se couper du monde complètement.
Je ne comprenais pas tout sur ton blog mais tes photos parlaient d'elles-même. ;-)

Lucy said...

Soize, t'es gentille! C'est peut-etre dommage mais j'ai de moins en moins d'envie de m'exprimer ici, et je trouve que meme l'appareil photo ne m'occupe plus beaucoup. Tant pis.

Mais je suis tres reconnaissante que j'ai trouvé mes amies de QQT a cause de nos blogs. Heureusement, on se voit en personne assez souvent!

WM said...

Late to see this as ever, I'm sorry. Your reasoning made me cry a little, so understandable and yet so indicative that the world badly needs Lucy and any others like her, and that those small bright dots of blogs with integrity and unusual sensitivty many be the illumination we all hope for in these dark times. Let's walk together (I mean literally) and mull over those liberty/suppression themes so fundamental to dogs of a certain type. Was thinking the very same thoughts this afternoon about my border terrier. Please don't disappear, Lucy.

Lucy said...

Wendy, thanks, that's a lovely comment. Two months on and I must say I am appreciating being blog-free; the oppressiveness of the times is getting to me less now, though little has changed for the better, and I get twinges of guilt sometimes when I realise I've not done the rounds and visited others' blogs who are still keeping it up.

I can't remember if I first came across you through blogging then discovered your books, or the other way around, but certainly the one enriched the other, and I have always been glad of it; I am very much enjoying your 'Spirit of Place' book. I would love to walk with you one day. We are quite seriously on with our plans to move to the Rance valley area, and feeling quite excited and hopeful about it, although it has the downside of taking us further from Finistère. But not too much further. We'll see. And I won't disappear.

christopher said...

Lucy, I don't know if you noticed, but I faded last year and oddly found the reason to be frivolous just now, posting a drivel about the dentist. So I understand. Possibly you won't even get this.

You were one of the first I was sent to when I first started blogging. Walt and Robin sent me and I have ever been grateful to be in your following. I loved stories of Molly and I even hung out with Tom for a bit.

And in truth I don't know if or when I will be back either. All my puter time is Facebook these days because I have local friends but don't get out much anymore. That is not a complaint. I don't mind.

Lucy said...

Christopher, hi, thanks so much for stopping by, I still get the comments by e-mail so I wouldn't have missed it. We had noticed and wondered about your absence, and it's good to know you're still about. I'm glad you have local friends, and I think we all must end up doing what we need to. Things are moving here and we're optimistic for ourselves howsoever the world goes. I've been looking around and seeing much of beauty and interest, but feel little urge to photograph it now I'm not blogging about it, which is a bit sad but in fact I rather appreciate having my hands free, literally and figuratively, just now.

These have been good times haven't they? Best love to you, take care.

Bro. Bartleby said...

Where have all the Bloggers Gone?

Long time passing
it was as though
the Santa Ana winds
came suddenly
in the night
so that in the morning
I sneezed
and again
the warm air
now alive
and whatever
yet the
stilled air
the mountains
one of those
super realism paintings
the spine of LA
with the march of peaks
holding back
the onslaught of sand
the Mojave beyond
we nestled on this side
the Pacific
holding us at bay
and all those writers
poets and artists
for years at the break
of dawn
tapping their hearts out
filling their blogs
for who?
they only hoped
an audience?
awaiting the words
to spill over
as the coffee brewed
we had our favorites
always open for
just one more
the mundane
made holy
as minds reached out
for kindred spirits
to share the moment
a place in time
this time
our time
on this mote
of rock
we call Earth
then someone blinked
who? I don’t know
but time caught up
with some
as if a cane
excused one so
others never held
onto anything for long
so letting go
for them
was as natural
as it is
for me
to hold on tight.

Lucy said...

Gentle brother, religious or magus, strange enigmatic figure passing through from time to time, your monk's hood always pulled over your maybe smiling, maybe sorrowing face. I thank you.

marly youmans said...

Hope all is well with you, months later. And thank you for the good wish! I'm very glad to think that, in some sense, I reside in your house--at least some of my words on your shelves. <3

Lucy said...

Hi Marly! Things are tentatively looking well; our house plans are moving fast, and changing rapidly, I often reflect on how at one time I would have felt moved to report on such progress here, but in truth I have sense of having my hands free which I'm quite glad of. But I still check up on the sidebar feed from time to time and keep an eye on my blogging friends! Also feeling glad, heartened and lightened by the turn of political events in France, and motivated to get on with my citizenship claim.

Best love to you, old friend!

Dick Jones said...

Farewell again, Lucy...

Lucy said...

Cheers Dick, I am faring well, I think. All the best to you and yours.

The Crow said...

This morning I washed my socks, those incredible works of art and friendship you knit for me so many months ago, and was stung to my core with longing to see how things are for you, Tom and Elfie.

I sure do miss you, Lucy. Hope all is well with you three.


Lucy said...

Martha my dear, we are well, moved house, still knitting socks!

I'll e-mail very soon, promise.

Dick said...

Long after the boat has left the quay..! You and I lost contact after so long an ongoing across-the-blogs link. It happened principally because 'feeding the monster' of the Patteran Pages was simply too demanding an obligation during a very difficult time and so the vehicles whereby we kept in touch became uncoupled. I valued our to-ing and fro-ing greatly and regretted that dislocation.

I'm writing now - no doubt into radio silence - to say that, without really trying, I've slipped back into blogging. Dissatisfaction with the 'here-today-gone-today' format of Facebook (where I maintain, nonetheless, a happy presence) had me shifting longer-scale material into a new blog. There was no particular notion of firing up again: it's a different world from the one that I guess the likes of you and I pioneered in the early 2000s. Fast food has replaced the slow oven bake. But I'm happy to have drifted back into the format, albeit in a much more leisurely manner.

And (point of story) I hope that you might do so too. My new address is: I hope that all’s well with you both. It would be good to hear from you at some time.

The Crow said...

In case my email didn't get through (trouble on this end, I fear), let me wish again a very happy birthday to you!

tristan said...

was delivering in royal tunbridge wells town centre last week and wondered if mount sion might be re-named mount olympus in joe's honour ?

Lucy said...

Crow - replied by e-mail, much love.

Tristan - big smile.

YourFireAnt said...

Lucy, do I have your e.mail addess? I don't want to lose touch with you.

I'll never forget your generosity in giving me the cover photo of my book before last.

Please keep in touch.


Teresa [a.k.a. fireant ]

Beth said...

Lucy, are you still seeing comments here? I noticed you had visited my blog and thought, gosh, it's been absolutely ages since we've talked, and then I came here and re-read this last post of yours. I wonder how you are. If you want, please send me an email -- and I'll write. xo Beth

Lucy said...

Beth, how lovely of you! Yes, I'm fine, still receiving comments and still occasionally drifting through the blogosphere, though not really engaging to comment or anything. I will email you very soon!