I've gotten many kind e-mails from people who have wondered why I've not been blogging as much lately. Are you shutting it down? they've asked. Is something wrong?
(By the way, thank you to those of you who have asked. I'm amazed and flattered that anyone would even wonder.)
No, I'm not shutting it down, and no, nothing is wrong. On the contrary, things feel very right right now, as I've wandered through a sweet period of reflecting and wrestling and breathing and re-evaluating what my place should (and shouldn't) be in this curious on-line world.
I've wondered if I should articulate some of things I'm learning and realizing. I have now officially started and then deleted eight posts on the subject. It's the quintessential dilemma for a good Southern girl–balancing one's need to offer an explanation without presuming that anybody really requires one. Not to mention, one of the most convicting realizations I've come to is that blogging may just fuel in us (and by "us", of course, I mean "me") a need to articulate everything. I wonder sometimes if our culture is veering away from the very fine art of simply keeping some things to ourselves. Sometimes the best words are the ones we don't say.
(In other words, I think writing a 47-part blogging series about Why We Probably Shouldn't Be Blogging So Much might be a little disingenous, don't you think?)
In a nutshell, I entered the Lenten season several weeks ago in a state of burn-out and exhaustion–all of it entirely of my own making. The reflectiveness and quiet of Lent helped me get a fresh perspective on a few things–things in both my on-line world and in the real one. I'm coming more and more to the conclusion that we (I) seem to be operating in a fog of sensory overload. We blog and Twitter and Facebook. We have cell phones and multiple e-mail addresses. We're so plugged in we're almost motorized, and it's exhausting.
I have (and please, insert giant flashing lights here, because I want to be sure I make this clear) been able to witness some beautiful, even life-changing things happen as a direct result of blogging. There's plenty of good in it, and I would be remiss not to point that out.
But there is undendiable part of blogging that feeds a part of us (me) that is, perhaps, not the most sensible part: the part that craves to "measure" ourselves, the part that is naturally drawn to a false sense of urgency, the part that needs to be heard even when there's not really anything to say.
In other words, I've spent a little time evaluating (unpleasantly, at times) whether I was not only affected by this problem, but maybe I was also part of it.
Despite a very sweet time of feeling refreshed and reflective, I can't say that I've come to any brilliant conclusions. I do not think that blogging is pure evil and must be avoided or society will surely fail. But I also think that I've probably let myself go a little off-course, when I reflect back to why I started doing this in the first place. I look back and wonder if I've contributed to the "noise level" that seems to be wearing out me and so many of the women I know. I think I have, at times, and I'm sorry.
What I do know is that I want to keep at this, but in a way different than I've done it before. It's almost become something of a personal exercise, seeing if I can navigate this peculiar world in a way that is more balanced. A very dear friend (and brilliant writer) reminded me recently that the best words are the ones that are punctuated with enough silence between them.
As evidenced by the rambly length of this post, I clearly do not have much of a track record with silence.
But I'm working on it, and this, for now, is my little workshop.