Thursday, June 25, 2015


My last post opened with a rather shamefaced apologia for writing yet again about cycling and wildflowers. "Defaulting to the easiest topics", I called it, while bemoaning the general crowdedness of life that kept me from writing "something more". I felt, you see, that I was somehow settling for second-best by posting so often about things I enjoy.

But since then I've been asking myself: why shouldn't I write repeatedly about the things that give me joy? Why should a post seem inferior or less thoughtful because the subject matter is not new? Does quality require novelty?

In this age of perpetual distraction, some might answer "yes". But I tend to disagree. Many of my favourite authors write what is essentially the same book again and again, and I enjoy them for their very reliability. The same holds true for many blogs that I follow.

To take it a step further: do we blog for ourselves, or for others? I suspect that for most of us, it's both. If for ourselves, what could be more natural than to focus on what we love? If for others, then again - what could be more natural than wanting to share the funny, the beautiful, the interesting, with our friends? If that which we find lovely or amusing tends to follow a certain pattern, our friends are aware of it, and like us in spite of it (or perhaps because of it).

In Dorothy L. Sayers's Gaudy Night, the protagonist Harriet Vane is a writer grappling with conflicting desires. Emotionally scarred, precariously self-reliant, she finds herself drawn towards a new love, but distrusts her own motives. Desperately wanting to be sincere to herself, to her work, and to the man in question, fearful of making a wrong decision, she asks an acquaintance: "How is one to know which things are really of overmastering importance?"

"We can only know that," says the acquaintance, "when they have overmastered us."

Harriet reflects on this. Was there anything at all that had stood firm in the midst of her indecisions? Well, yes; she had stuck to her work.... She had written what she felt herself called upon to write; and, though she was beginning to feel that she might perhaps do this thing better, she had no doubt that the thing itself was the right thing for her. It had overmastered her without her knowledge or notice, and that was the proof of its mastery.

When I started this blog I had no idea that along the way (and due in part to the kind influence of blogging friends) I would re-kindle an old love for cycling, or discover in myself an absorbing fascination with the natural world in general, and wildflowers in particular. But it has happened. And now, as long as ever I am able to get out-of-doors, to walk on two feet or ride on two wheels, I will be watching sky and earth, noticing trees and flowers, wanting to record their beauty and learn their various names. As long as I have a camera and access to a computer, I will be wanting to share these delights with my friends (that means you). To quote Miss Sayers, these things have overmastered me without my knowledge or notice - and that is the proof of their mastery.

So I'm beginning to realise that when life gets crowded, and I find myself posting largely about rides and flowers (or in cooler weather, walks and trees) - and spending precious time researching those flowers or trees in order to get their names right - it is not, as I feared, a settling for second-best, or a falling-back on the safe and predictable.

Instead it's a sifting, a getting down to essentials. It's a laying aside of the things I'd like to write about (if time allowed) in favour of the things I must write about (whether I have the time or not). It is writing what I feel myself called upon to write.

More than once I've said to a blogging friend, "It's your blog - write what you want!" Seems I need to learn to take my own advice. The recipes and patterns will keep, after all. Today it's the flowers that matter.

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Do you blog, or post photos on Instagram or Facebook? Do you strive for variety, or can you happily post whatever you want, whenever you want?

Do tell. :)

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  1. I thoroughly agree. My blog is mine, I write about what interests me and what I'm doing. If that's boring to other people so be it. I really enjoy your wildflower blogs and bike rides. I wish it were not so hot here I'd think about bike riding again.

  2. Mrs M - you write about whatever makes you happy. No apologies necessary. I actually love your bike ride posts. Our family used to take vacations in Wisconsin when I was little and it's so nice to see pictures of that lovely area again.

  3. Don't change a thing. Write about what you want to write about!

    This topic would make a great philosophy class discussion. I have a science background. Sometimes I feel like I'm writing to myself. (A good thing in itself because I get to practice writing, something I need to practice!) However, stats tell me differently.

    Simplistically, without damaging too many brain cells, I would have to sum it as sharing personal life experiences that feel important at the time. We're social creatures with a new collective tool. I quit blogging once. Now I'm back at it and I can't give you a very solid why.

  4. My husband recently asked me to not blog so much about our two dogs. I wanted to tell him to write his own blog!! Maybe I should have done that, but instead I have let him take over some of the dogsitting chores. That keeps him off my back, heehee. Whatever you blog about is good for me. I can't (or won't) bike, so I enjoy your rides. I let you identify the "weeds" I pull out of my flowerbeds. You always teach me new crochet tricks, and I feel privileged to know someone who invents/designs crochet patterns and has them published. Thanks for blogging whatever your heart desires. I'll be following you--Linda@Wetcreek Blog

  5. Yep, I blog and post things on FB and just recently have added a few more things to IG. I actually just photograph and post whatever I fancy. I guess if people like my sharings, good, but if not.. well.. it is what it is. I like your biking trips and flower fotos. I think if a person likes you they'll like whatever you want to talk to us about. And I like you. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  6. I enjoy looking at things on facebook and have followed a cal or two on there and have enjoyed it but I rarely post myself. I do post the odd picture onto instagram. I suppose you have to decide just what type of blog you are aiming for, for me it's a type of diary I suppose of places I visit and of things I make, I like to share with other bloggers but I know that not everyone will be interested and that's ok because I'm not interested in everything that everyone else writes either. I do enjoy looking at photo's and find yours very interesting and love it when you post about your rides and what you have encountered along the way. Sometimes I haven't got the time to comment but I never miss a post. :)

  7. I love to read your posts about your rides and all the wildflowers you find on your way. You should write about the things that warm your heart and lift up your spirits. It is the only way to write authentically. I just write about the things I want to write, I have no person other person except myself in mind when writing my posts. Have a nice upcoming weekend, Viola

  8. I for one agree totally with your admission. Why would one not enjoy the beautiful wildflowers, the translucent blue sky and of course barns. Useful structures that once dotted the rural landscape and even what we now refer to as suburbia, their purpose part of our history and our lives... Barns once housed cows, chickens, sheep, grain, fruit, from where we got our food, or fabric, our livelihood.
    To meander down a path or a roadway, hear the shrill cry of a hawk overhead, the buzzing of a bee, smell the fragrance of fresh tilled soil or a field full of buttercups could be compared to heaven on earth.
    All those gals out there that prefer shopping for shoes, new outfits or planning their next exotic vacation it is great to realize in this obsessive consumerism in which we dwell there is still beauty unsurpassed by anything we can purchase that is free. One needs only venture out into Nature and partake of its pleasure.
    You keep on posting about all that beauty and just like Tallulah I'll be along for the ride...
    Susan x

  9. I don't use Instagram and rarely look at Facebook. But I love blogging and reading other blogs. I try to keep my posts about crochet, knitting or sewing. I used to have a garden blog which I kept going for a couple of years until I realised that I was repeating myself as the seasons returned. I'm happier with my craft blog as it is as varied as I want it to be.

  10. I worry that I'll lose readers, but I realize I have a nice little group that I follow and that follow me. MY favorite part of a day is reading into your lives. We have ordinary lives, but they matter. I am inspired by your bike rides. I think of YOU and this BLOG when I make my self get on and ride. kind of annoys me. I use it once in awhile. best for getting up to date news fast

    Blogs are the BEST!! For inspiration, for there there's and for knowing wonderful knitters

  11. Such an interesting insight into what you have been mulling over Sue, and I think you have hit the nail on the head....all that you have said is spot-on and I think applies to me too. I have endless lists of (hopefully) interesting things that could be blogged about but often end up blogging about what is most important to me (i.e. being outdoors with the family and the odd bit of sewing) the other posts pop up every now and then when I'm feeling particularly energetic or in control of my life!
    I love what you blog about and can really feel your passion for cycling, walking and the natural history you see when you're out. Juliex

  12. Yea! You say so many true things here in this post. Pictures of flowers and nature and even little bits of people's home life all make me appreciate the small beauties in every day life that the big rumpus of LIFE distracts me from and leaves me drained. Looking at blogs often makes me gasp and smile with pleasure. I find blogs refuel me. Reading them made me want to write one. And even though I thought I would start out with a thematic approach, I found that a willy-nilly un-themed one was more fun.
    My twitter account is strictly for teaching. My facebook account is only for people I really actually know and would talk to if I met up with them face-to-face (but no people from work). My blog is totally open, but also totally private. My family knows I have it, but I have not shared it with anyone else in my real actual world. Weird maybe, but it works for me.

  13. There you have it then, post what you want to write about, you know that I will always read you even if don't always comment. I don't post much to Facebook and haven't yet worked out how to use IG with my new tablet thingie (or even the camera on that) but I will work it out eventually.

  14. Brilliant post Sue, every word rang true with me. I think I blog to connect, so for me and for my readers. But I wouldn't blog if there weren't lots of people reading, the effort rquired to put a polished post online would just seem pointess.

    I'm hoping to revisit

  15. You also mustn't forget that you kindly answer questions posed on other people's blogs!
    Thanks for the "postlude"!
    I seem to be a bit shy on my blog. I notice that I am more of myself when I answer my comments...but when I write a post, I feel as if I am standing on a stage again as a 6 year old and everyone is looking at me!
    I realize that like you, I find myself noticing wildflowers more and more and I am thinking I might not have done so had it not been for my blog. And I love all my blogging friends, like you!

  16. You post what you like...and we'll love it. At least I will. My life has a "sameness" to it day by day so the readers of my blog get the same old, same old whenever they visit me. I blog to communicate with my friends out there in cyberspace, and you are one of them. I enjoy "riding" along with you and seeing your beautiful countryside.

  17. Yes you should listen to your own advice and post about what you want, what interests you and what you feel is important to document. That is what a blog is about, a personal blog anyway. Your blog is beautiful, the bike rides are gorgeous and educational too. Don't change a thing my friend.

  18. Well I for one Sue love your posts just add they are. I love reading and seeing photos of your seasons changing. It's so very different to ours that I find it fascinating.
    p's I was so excited to see the mag with your pattern in it in my local newsagents. They don't normally stock American mags. I decided that it was a sign that I was to do your lovely shawl and snapped it up.

  19. Yes. You should write about the things you enjoy. What about Peanuts? Can you write about them? They are enjoyable. :)

  20. Wow! You got more words out of The Lizard with this post than I get out of him in a whole week!!! :)

    I agree with everything he said. I started blogging because I thought it would be a better, easier and more attractive way to stay in touch with family. Only one family member (besides The Lizard) reads my blog. I kept trying to please people who weren't even looking and who weren't even complaining that I didn't stuff their inboxes anymore.

    Now I write for me. Sometimes I write for specific friends, like you and Marigold. Sometimes for Lizard. But mostly, it's the journalist in me begging to be let out to play.

    I love your blog, and I think you should blog about whatever you love. That's why we all keep coming back. Heavenly only knows you stimulate so much more conversation than any other blogger I know!!!

  21. I say never apologize. I would imagine those who return to your blog time and time again have become friends and are happy that you've posted anything at all. Life is filled with many wonderful things to share. Your bike rides are awesome. Inspiring that you get out there for so long and are able to take photographs along the way and then identify what you've seen. That all takes a lot of time and effort. I for one enjoy nature and would be out there every single day if only our weather would allow it. I post whatever I want, whenever I want, even on Instagram (though I don't do selfies or faces) and I always try to be positive and uplifting. Sometimes I think, who cares about any of this ... but then I remember that everyone else is doing it too (and some are posting stuff they shouldn't be), so I post because there's always someone who does care or will get something from it. I'm not looking to sell anything or promote myself. We all have our little niche in this world. No need to explain. Just be you, be real, honest, down to earth. That's what keeps folks coming back Best wishes, Tammy

  22. Well said, Sue. New is not necessarily better. Wildflowers and cycling are two of my favorite things also.

  23. I post when inspiration hits, and use my blog (as I always have, before Ravelry came along) as a scrapbook for projects and things that inspire me, and sometimes a slice of life. Now, I am no longer posting daily, and usually set out to do just a "photo dump" of what's on my phone or stand alone camera, and before I know it, those photo dumps turn into a rambling blog post.

    I wouldn't (and don't!) feel guilty or weird or any negative attachment to posting about things that inspire me or bring me joy. If things don't bring you joy, what is the point of it? Life is too short not to focus in on those things that make us happy.

  24. Well, I somehow missed this post. I read your posts because they reflect who you are and what you are interested in, which is often something I find interesting. I admire your writing, humor, photos, crocheting, bicycle riding, and care for those you love. Thanks so much for making time to publish your posts and giving me the chance to know you through them, Sue. :) xx

  25. I agree! I received a veiled criticism of my blog recently - along the lines of lovely photos but too much nature and not enough crochet. Hmmm. Crochet takes time, something I've had very little of recently. You keep posting what I like, I'll certainly keep visiting, though sometimes I do neglect to leave a comment - sorry about that - they take time too!

  26. I am so behind here, but I do want to say how beautifully you have expressed yourself here, Sue. I think writing about what brings you joy is important, for it cannot help but magnify one's joy. I am a firm believer that acknowledging joy and expressing that joyousness is a way of giving is truly a prayerful way of offering up deep appreciation for the gift of life.
    I so enjoy reading about your rides and the small and big things you see.
    Love, Ellen.


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