I started my blog 5 years ago to the day (Friday, 08 April 2011) and I remember the day clearly. Judy was visiting and was watching telly with Peter in the tv lounge while I was working on my blog at the computer in the adjacent office nook (this was before I got my trusty laptop and could write anywhere). I changed the post about a hundred times, reading it out to them after each edit. I was dithering about so much, hesitating about pressing the publish button, that Judy eventually exclaimed that I was behaving like what her father used to call a virgin on the verge – will she or won’t she? It made me laugh and I realised that, as usual, I was taking myself far too seriously. I thought of my own father who would have said, “What’s the worst that can happen?” and with the words of both Ted and Roy ringing in my ears, I published my first post. (I have to say that after 5 years it still hasn’t got any easier clicking that publish button.)
I decided to start a blog after having lived on my own at the farm for just over a year. Whenever I returned to Durban, which was quite frequently back then, people asked me what it was like living in the country; did I feel safe on my own, what did I do all day, what was growing in the allotment, did I miss the city lights, where did I shop etc? So I thought I could write about my move to the country and that it would help me to stay in touch with family and friends. And it has done that and more, inasmuch as I have made new friends and reconnected with old friends through my blog. In those early years when I often felt quite isolated here, blogging also helped to give me a much needed sense of connection with “the outside world”.
Quite a few years prior to moving to the country I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and I began writing what she calls “Morning Pages”.
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.
Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
I find it easier to understand things if I write them down. I’m not good at “thinking on my feet” as it were – I need to mull things over, weigh up the pros and cons and often, even then, I have a tendency to be indecisive. I find that writing is like housework for the mind; it clears away the clutter and helps me to think in a more focussed way. By writing my Pages and subsequently my blog, I have been able to work through many difficulties and resolve countless dilemmas. Of course there is still a ton of shit I haven’t sorted out but life is a work in progress.
So what began as a peek at life in the country, has become a vehicle for some of my soul searching as well. And I would like to thank you all for your incredible support and encouragement. I wouldn’t write a blog if no-one read it, so you have all contributed to my understanding of this wonderful world as I journey through it and for that I am most grateful.