Well, this is special. You are, for some strange reason, reading my 1,000th post at this blog. I started blogging many moons ago and now have a garage-full of posts to be half-embarrassed and half-proud of. OK, maybe not half and half. I’ll leave it up to you which is more likely, the pride, or embarrassment. I have always struggled between those two things, really. I aim to be neither. I want to be humbly happy about what I’m good at (it’s a gift of God) and none too devastated by my many inadequacies (God is rich in mercy), but I regularly buy the lie that it’s all me. In moments of sanity I see this and I am asking God to give me more and more of those moments.
This blog has been more and more short on originality as I’ve put more effort into other endeavors (family, church, [paying]work, novels, Story Warren, Rabbit Room, West Virginia and Liverpool sports). But there’s the occasional worthwhile essay here and there and everyone needs a laugh now and then. I wish I could stroll through the archives and post some highlights, but I don’t feel I have time for the look back. Onward, Christian Soldiers and all that.
My original goals for blogging included “practicing” writing (for the real thing of novels, etc.) and sharing things directly with a willing audience. In the days before blogging, I would do that annoying thing where I’d pass on interesting articles, or book recommendations via email. Not “E-mail Forwards,” just stuff I had read elsewhere, or thought of, that I thought might be worth passing on. But I always hated putting people on the spot with that. When I learned about blogging, I thought it was perfect because it had an easy opt-in/opt-out feature. Now, I suppose Facebook and Twitter are the primary methods for sharing things and I use them now too, as well as e-mail. But blogging still feels less intrusive. People still have to make the choice to go to your blog and read it if they want to. I like that about it. (Of course, FB and Twitter are good places to share blog posts and so it’s all very confusing.)
Though I once did (and sometimes still do) look at blogging as a way to “practice” writing, that’s sort of a silly notion. Thousands of people have read my “practice” writing and, I’m not sure how many, but far fewer have read any of my published short fiction and almost no one has read my novels (as yet unpublished). It’s interesting how much of our lives are made up of touching people (for good or ill) while we are merely practicing for what we suppose will be more important in the future.
I have also been blogging because I’ve wanted to “find my audience.” The theory being that if you are a creative type person (bear with me), and you have “something to say,” or worthwhile work to share, there exists (somewhere) an audience for that work. Part of your job is working hard to create content they will be engaged by and perhaps, hopefully later buy. And another part is finding them and making it easy for them to find you. I am aiming for that with blogging. Part of this gig has been about connection. But that always makes me feel a little weird. As a Christian, I’d add the important note that my heart is to love and serve that “audience,” and to see them as fellows, not “followers.” Fellows, not followers. That might make a good post.
I am still working on fiction and am eager to see some of that work in print again, especially novels (which I’ve never yet had published). I’m thrilled with what is happening at Story Warren and am eager to see that grow and deepen. Part of that avenue is about my desire to focus energy on something I’m passionate about, which keeps me from my natural tendency to fracture my focus. Some of you readers who have been here from the beginning (hi Mom!) have heard me say “I’m hoping for a novel out soon!” many times. Sorry about that. But guess what. (Oh, yeah. It was an easy guess.) Look for a novel to come out soon! Maybe this year? I know, I know. You’ve been burned before. 🙂
Forgive my rambling, I beg.
I have learned a lot and benefited greatly from this “practice,” and “connection.” Especially the connection part. I have met so many wonderful people and received so much benefit from these associations. I have been built up. I can think of many faces of friends (many of whom I have met in person now) whose feedback to me has been soul-affirming, and life-enriching.
I want to thank you for investing the time you have in reading my blog. I am deeply grateful to you. I hope, somewhere along the way, it has served you in some small way. At least I hope something has made you laugh.
Finally, it’s my prayer that this blog brings God glory, in every joke, essay, or quotation. I hope it has sometimes been a place of Kingdom anticipation and occasionally pointed its crooked finger to the true New World.