A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Road Forward

Camino, Spain

A night full of talking that hurts, / my worst held-back secrets. Everything / has to do with loving and not loving. / This night will pass. / Then we have work to do. RUMI

I have a dose of blogger's block. But I'm not worried. Like an attack of mild depression, I know it will pass. I've been blogging regularly and intensively for several months. Now something's telling me to stand back a little and reflect on 'Life, the Universe and Everything.'  Besides, there's not a lot of point in blogging unless one has something to say and is eager to communicate it. Blogging is not a duty or an obligation. From my own point of view, blogging is an act of love and joy, a release of the self and from the self, a reciprocal process of giving and receiving, a freedom of expression, a glorious anarchy, a mysterious alchemy. A blog is not art, nor is it a journal or a column or a letter or a commonplace book; it's not a prose poem, nor a stream of consciousness, nor a means of therapy  - though it can contain elements of all these. But it can't be any of these things successfully if it's not done enthusiastically and fairly spontaneously. Blogs which are forced, or have ulterior motives, or want to sell you something, or don't tell the truth, or don't come from the heart, stick out a mile as not genuine, and no one wants to read them. 

Truth to tell, after several difficult and turbulent years - which saw the death of both my parents - this is a watershed year for my wife and I. Changes are happening and we want to embrace them. It's a year when we're making decisions rather than postponing them, when we're putting down roots rather than being blown about in the wind. After endless debates about whether to move house or not, and whether to go and live in France or Spain, we've decided to stay where we are. It's good here in the village. We're lucky to have a nice house and garden with the mortgage paid off. So why move? I think you have to have a compelling reason to do so. It can also be very expensive and stressful. So now we've plans to do stuff to our existing house and garden - to create a bigger and better vegetable plot for one thing, and to try and be more self-sufficient. I've embarked on a new career too. I'm starting a proofreading and copy-editing course soon, which will hopefully lead to plenty of freelance work. I've also got a new Roland keyboard, so I'm playing again. And, of course, all the great pleasures in my life - reading, writing, walking, blogging, eating Marmite - will continue. 

Looks like my blogger's block has been broken, doesn't it? Seems like I just can't keep quiet for long..!


Rachel Fox said...

I liked this post - a good overview... and you don't give away much personal stuff on here really as a rule so this post is quite different (I'm a demon for people's stories!).
Enjoy the putting down deeper roots, both of you. I am a bit of a rootless person... and it's not necessarily healthy, I don't think.

Ruth said...

Robert, I couldn't agree more with everything you said about blogging. Your walking series exploded like that. You have so much in you that wanted to be expressed about it. Then us receiving it could feel your passion with contagion. I have no idea how or why I have felt that same passion for five years. I have never once, seriously never, felt obligated to post anything at sync. It is "an act of love and joy, a release of the self and from the self . . . " etc., your words. I could just retype them all. George's current post with Frederick Buechner's passage about how art speaks about holy things really resonated too.

I like your process that you've shared about the decision to stay put. And so cool about your new venture into proofreading and copy editing! I can see myself doing something like that when I retire too. I'll be listening closely to what you have to say about it. All the best, and to your playing too. Maybe you can record yourself and post podcasts. See how much you have to blog about?

Ruth said...

I'd like to add, too, that if I hadn't felt the delight, joy and love to post at my blog, I wouldn't have!

Rachel Fox said...

Meant to say also... if some of the books I've read lately are anything to go by we need some good new proofreaders!

Bouncing Bertie said...

Just wanted you to know that, last night, for the first time in my life I entered an internet chat room, set up by a dog-blogging friend in South Africa. The discussion turned to the 'Camino' and I discovered that the other S. African lady 'present' was also a big fan of your blog!
Good luck with all the changes.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

So much of your description of what blogging is and isn't chimes with my unuttered take on the whole marvelous enterprise. Whether silently gathering yourself for more blog writing or in the full throes of a writing outburst, you are always a stimulating and dear blog friend, Robert. I celebrate your recent life decisions although let me just say, for totally selfish reasons, it would have been nice to have you here in Spain. Oh well, we'll have to do a camino some time. I believe you and George have on lined up for later this year in the UK. Perhaps after that one we could all plan one here.

Alan Sloman said...

Good luck with your new career Robert. It sounds a whole heap more satisfying than the old and a good way to enjoy what life should really be about.

George said...

Yes, Robert, your blogger's block has, indeed, been broken. What you say about blogging is absolutely on point and needed to be said. There are times when we have something to say every day or so; there are also times when we are in more of a listening mode, times when we need to rest in silence and empty ourselves. It makes absolutely no sense for any of us to post something just for the sake of posting. As you correctly note, the best postings are those that flow naturally from a passionate heart.

My wife and I have been engaged in the same "back and forth" about what direction to take in our lives in the coming years. At the top of the list is the issue of moving to a warmer climate in the southeast. Were it my decision alone, I would probably do what you and your wife have decided to do, i.e., stay put. As you are aware, however, these are always matters of negotiation in a marriage.

Again, thanks for what you said about blogging. I think everyone should read your statement before embarking on this entertaining and rewarding enterprise.

The Solitary Walker said...

Rachel - I still fell pretty restless and rootless myself, that's the paradox...

Ruth - your own blog is so much from the heart. As for a podcast of my playing, umm, I don't think the world is quite ready for that yet..!

BB - yes, emilene commented to me about that. Totally amazing! Thanks for reading, and continuing to read. It's so appreciated.

Lorenzo - thanks so much, my dear friend. A walking 3some or moresome in Spain next year sounds great to me.

Thanks, Alan - and George, your own postings are always from a passionate heart. Always. (Re. the location of your discussed 'move' - do you mean Florida? A difficult negotiation, or not?)

George said...

Not Florida. Most likely, South Carolina, but, as they say, there are "many a slip between cup and lip." A difficult negotiation? Given the fact that it's been going on for eight years. I would say yes. I look forward to the day when all of this is resolved.

Anonymous said...

Robert - Buen Camino y gracias


Raph G. Neckmann said...

This post sounds like a spring of joy, no blogger's block now!

(A bigger and better veg plot sounds good - hope you'll be growing plenty of sprouts!)

Friko said...

I'm so glad.
I was afraid you'd be saying how you needed a break from blogging, which many of us have said throughout our blogging careers at one time or another.

Every time I think I'm all talked out I start gabbling about something else.

It's good to stay where you are happy, where you know people and what life has in store. When that sort of thing is settled you can live your 'other' life, the one that happens inside you.

I am looking forward to many more insightful blog stories from a new friend.

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

To be honest, for selfish reasons, I don't mind if you take a break. I was away on holiday- well off the internet grid- and I haven't yet caught up with your walking reflections. The out-of-control garden has had to take precedence. But I will be onto the walking series sooooon!

Alive said...

Rewind,review,recapture,relocate and renewal.

Dominic Rivron said...

Moving has sometimes crossed my mind, but, as you suggest, it's not a thing to be taken lightly.

Have you read Lawrence D Hills' books on organic veg growing? Very readable - so much so, in fact, that little time is left for gardening.

Course sounds interesting. I casually mulled over index-compiling, a not unrelated area, I'd have thought.

The Solitary Walker said...

Andy - gracias tambien

Raph - sprouts will be de rigueur

Friko - thanks, my friend. So pleased I met you via Bonnie

Kiwi - our garden at present is not out-of-control but beyond-control (anyone know how to eradicate ground elder?)

Alive - and redream and redeem...

Dominic - books leave one very little time to do anything else. I never take them on long walks. (Love indexes! That's how irredeemably sad I am.)