Reflections on a year of blogging.
Well then, a year ago this week we turned our mostly static website into a blog. And now, 190 posts later I’m here to ask the question, so what? What has been the effect of all this writing? Of posts covering the spectrum from sweets in the 1960s to getting the truth about Hillsborough. From entertaining, to emotional and back again. Who knows?
Certainly a lot of the writing has been read. On the old website a top day, and there weren’t many of them, would see 30 views. Views on here currently stand at 24,000. This makes me bizarrely happy. But why? What’s been changed by all this?
Well, bloggers and their blogs can change the world. Campaign against iniquities, challenge public policies. But this one? Well you’ll know my opinions about austerity, empty homes, the preciousness of public libraries and the war on the working classes. But I doubt that David Cameron anxiously flicks through his iPad muttering ‘I wonder what a sense of place think about these benefits changes?’ (Purely vindictive political acts, thanks for asking, David.)
And blogs can change how people view the world and live their lives. But that’s not this one’s aim. Though you can probably pick up a fair bit about the way we live from reading it, there’s no way we would ever have the arrogance to suggest you live like us. How you live your life is a personal choice, for you, for all of us. New Age know-all evangelists we are not.
No, mainly this blog’s been good for me. I do most of the writing and I’ve loved doing it. Out on a run or a walk a possible subject area will occur to me, and a couple of hours later, often as not, a finished piece will be published. Yes, I don’t labour over them for hours, it’s a blog not a book. If I can manage some balance of informing, entertaining, commenting and questioning in a thousand words and a few photographs, then I’m happy.
In fact, yes, I am happy and doing this has helped. There are times in all of our lives when times are hard, for all the miscellaneous reasons of illness, vicissitudes and unhappiness. And for me this constant and conscious reflecting and writing has helped me get to the realisation of this moment. That I am happy.
Generally happy. Also happy about being so regularly read and commented on. I enjoy the writing, but I’m always glad when it’s read. So thank you to all of you who read and mostly say nothing, I’m glad to have you read what I say. And thank you to those of you who do comment, for the world wide conversations we have. I enjoy our Twitter conversations and those directly on here too. Sometimes it’s good to have more than 140 characters to play with.
And I’m loving having this richly illustrated way to get involved in things. Empty Homes campaigns, a film and food festival, saving every library, the Calderstones Mansion House, and our communal joy at the late but welcome arrival of one more Spring. These things are the stuff of life. My life, our lives. This ever evolving collage of stories, experiences and opinions.
And the future? There will be no grand plan. No over eager gurning about ‘coming up you should look forward to…’ How should I know? It’s life and I will continue to meander around it, camera in hand, looking for things that interest me enough to write about them. For the sheer joy of doing so, sure. But also in the sincere hope that some of it, at least, will continue to be interesting enough for you to read.
And talking of the arrival of one more Spring, Sarah and I have just been for a walk in the perfect light of a Spring Friday evening. So let’s celebrate what we saw.
And top blog posts? I’m not going to bore you with figures, but merely observe that Sarah’s gentle observation of the ‘Pollen loads of the honey bee’ is read by at least several people every day. A cause for quiet celebration, I think.