Since my oldest son persuaded me to start writing a blog on 5th December last year, I’ve reached the milestone (or mill stone) of 100 posts, which means I’ve written more than 50,000 words. My excuse is that if you ‘take in’ a lot of reading, you risk mental congestion, even gridlock, unless you ‘give out’ a bit of talking or writing. Well, my days of public speaking are over but, despite a touch of arthritis, my fingers can still find their way across a keyboard, though not always as accurately as they once could.
I’m reminded of the now distant years in which I used to write two sermons or more each week, as a ‘preacher of the word’. There were times when it was a struggle to get my pen to write, and other times when it was difficult for my fingers to catch up with it, as the thoughts and feelings flowed. That hasn’t changed.
Why did I bother? One reason was to make some meaningful use of the winter ‘lockdown’. Another was because I think I can acceptably say that I’m ‘good at writing’, and enjoy doing so, in the same way as other people are ‘good at’ cooking meals, arranging flowers, playing musical instruments, writing poems, doing jigsaws and cartwheels (but not both at once), singing and dancing, painting and decorating, repairing washing machines. clearing blocked drains – the list is endless.
One of my favourite authors, Joseph Campbell, used to say, “Follow your bliss”. If you’re good at something, then do it – for its own sake, for your own sake, and for the sake of others, even if it only gives a few of them some interest, pleasure, or benefit.
When I was a preacher, it was never my aim to ‘prove anything’, nor to impress anyone, with displays of contrived rhetoric or tedious erudition, but to say things straightforwardly and understandably, and with practical everyday relevance. Since I consistently spoke to a well filled church when many others were half empty, I seemed to manage to do that reasonably well. I hope I haven’t yet lost that aim and ability.
So, thank you to all followers, visitors, viewers and ‘likers’. If I haven’t liked your posts in return, it may well be that I just couldn’t find the right button to click. But when all’s said and done, it’s the ‘baking of the cakes’ that matters most, though any bits of ‘icing’ supplied by readers are always welcome and appreciated.
Now that summer’s coming and, hopefully, some lockdown easing, will there be another 100? Possibly not, since I plan to let my writing drop down a gear. Since Aberdeen is a coastal city, perhaps, like TS Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock, ‘I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach, and hear the mermaids singing, each to each‘. Hmm! on second thoughts, perhaps not, since ‘drowning‘, so we’re told, is not the most agreeable of departures.
But whatever happens, or doesn’t, if you’ll allow me to resurrect my long distant, but not forgotten, Biblical Hebrew days : שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם – shalom aleichem – peace be upon you.