Tuesday, July 17, 2007


There are a couple of people out there who faithfully correspond with me and often make my day with the things they say: wise, funny, insightful or just very, very human... in the best sense of that term. (The guy who was vile to a shop assistant yesterday was also being human, but in a less helpful mode). Anyway, when I read my friends' e-pistles, I often think, "I wish so-and-so could see that!" Of such things are blogs made. Well, the ones I bother with, anyway. But the people who have the best things to say are often the most nervous, diffident or unsure about actually doing so. Unlike those of us with unblessed assurance. So I'm going to post (below) my virtual advice to someone on the verge of possibly, maybe (who knows?) being tempted into the blogosphere - which Maggi Dawn tells me I am already a member of. And I trust her. She also has a good, first-base definition of blogging: "thinking out loud" about life as it is from where it comes to you.

I shall now email this link to the people concerned so they know it's them. (If it's not you, please don't be offended. I'm a bit absent-minded, as well as being a rubbish correspondent.)

You really should do a blog. In my humble opinion. You write very well, and it is a good way to develop thoughts which others will bless you for (and, given how you are, only curse you for if they are bitter and twisted - which is not your issue or responsibility). Of course it goes without saying that cyberspace is full of ego and nonsense. But there is real spiritual enrichment out there, too. Plus genuine laughter and insight. And we sorely need more of that. The thing is, if you are sharing thoughts and feelings with friends in correspondence and they tell you (like I am right now) that what you say is helpful.... well why not make this available a little more widely - or some of it, anyway? People often say "it seems a bit egocentric to have a blog". True. But it could also be selfish not having one, by the same token. Things are a little more complicated (and a lot easier!) than we sometimes think. Even Buddha non-exists in cyber.

I stress that 'some of it', however. Because I think the contemporary trend to evacuate the vulnerability of the private into a welter of self-justifying public rhetoric (and surface-surfing neuroses) is a disturbing one. We are all threatened by the aloneness that is part of the human condition - and which is the only way we come into and go out of this world. In the cyber-age it is easy to expunge this, to mask it, or to project it onto others without realising. A blog can also be a way of negotiating that personal challenge, interestingly. Not an unimportant task, since much of the shittiness of the world is about people being unable to negotiate their boundaries or do anything other than punish others for their own fear and (or of) failure. This is a chance to turn that stuff into a positive, and to release the creativity and hopefulness which is also often denied, dear friend.

But I'm getting too heavy. None of this means that this there isn't a place for living in the sheer playfulness of the moment. or the ecstasy of the fleeting. Rowan Williams has said that prayer is wasting time with God. Go waste, profligately. Likewise, some of the silliness of the web is just fab. And I greatly admired Davina Macall's wry comment when being interviewed on TV about
Big Brother: "The thing with me is that there really aren't that many hidden depths - but there are still loads of still-to-be explored superficialities!" I'm quoting from memory... but going around thinking you need to get points for being 'deep' is the most pathetic thing of all.

As with blogs, one of the reasons
I like Facebook (apart from the fact that, it seems, I'm basically a cyberslut) is the fact that you get to see the daft or trivial side of some "serious" people. And vice versa. This is what we rightly call their "human" dimension - since to be human is inherently daft, messy, glorious and weighty: all at the same time. And the blogosphere can hold those together in ways that other media lack. What Simone Weil calls gravity and grace. Though she struggled to reverse those two.

Anyway, if you did decide to dip your toe into blogworld I would happily recommend and link yours to other people I love, enjoy and value. And remember, it doesn't have to be a chore. You can decide to blog regularly (like my friend
Johan Maurer's excellent 'Thursday commentaries') You can work it into your routine (like I do, though of 'routine' there is not nearly enough), or you can use it as an occasional cipher and not feel any responsibility for regularity - or lack of it. Not caring too much is an importnat and learnable skill. Blogging is about not being a sausage. Except when you need to be. Or you're a weary pilgrim. Above all, have fun - grow - share - laugh... and discover. Something like that. OK, off for a cuppa. Hope I haven't put you off. Just write the darned thing, OK?!

Now, what was I supposed to be doing? Ah yes...

PS. When I got my first laptop, Carla J Roth - who I have the immense good fortune to be married to - tellingly observed: "Darling, that's marvellous - you never need have another unpublished thought again!" Though I think she borrowed it from Joe Orton, or someone equally droll... I only mention this because she will hate me mentioning it (though not too much). And because she doesn't read this stuff. Do you, dear?

PPS. None of this means that you couldn't be doing something far more useful with your life. But it sure beats shopping.

PPPS. No, of course, I'm not saying that private correspondence should give way to blogging. Heaven forfend! But it's not a zero-sum game. Plus the public can be more personal and the personal more public than we sometimes realise... Both/and. Yes.

1 comment:

Doug said...


Thanks for the comments on blogging. I hae been encouraged by your writing - and your connections to lots of interesting theology - particularly Nicholas Lash's latest works.

I can be found (hopefully) at SubversiveVoices