How does your garden grow?
So I started a blog. Not a huge deal in the great scheme of things, but a big deal to me as it got me communicating again. Funny how communicating turns out to be a reciprocal thing. You give it a go and hey! People respond.
It's been a very gentle process. I needed it to be that way.
My blog is like an allotment. Allotments are really taking off again in the UK. Small patches of land away from the hubub of daily life, where you can go and grow things and reflect. My blog is where I go when I need time out. I tend it with the love I would pour into an allotment if I had the strength to garden.
Sometimes there are other 'allotment holders' to pass the odd comment with, whilst gazing vaguely at the virtual sky. Of course, I hasten to add, their allotments are often far busier and more exciting than mine. And I know a few of the people who pop by my 'allotment' may not appreciate the analogy. They are way too cool. But it's not all about flat caps and little potting sheds.
Blogging is about creating something, then nurturing it. A space to be tended as and when you feel the need. A place where you can find like-minded souls, and equally not so like-minded souls who can prove very fascinating.
It can feel like a solitary pursuit at times, but as you water and nourish and plan and expand your little site, it really can grow. And what starts out as a quiet corner with just you can turn into a regular turning over of more than just the basic earth. Ideas are formed, words are carefully trained, observations recorded and theories take root. There are appreciative exchanges, nods of recognition. On a busy day you may uncover as fierce a debate as you've seen anywhere.
Of course in moments of impulsivity, some people dig the whole thing up and start over. And some people stop tending their allotments, because it can be hard work at times. You can hit a difficult patch, weeds take hold, things don't grow as you'd hoped and it all starts to feel more like hard work than an escape.
But most people I know keep at it, and the rewards are many. A daily round of blogs can show you more of life in an hour than you can get in any other form of communication. Riots of colour sit alongside quiet, reflective corners. Neat orderly rows can be found next to rambling, chaotic wildernesses.
It's the personal touch I like, the willingness to invite others in. The feeling that being outside mainstream sources of opinion, away from it all, is all about doing it differently, and better.
The beauty about blogging is you start with a bare patch of earth, like every gardener. It's entirely up to you what you do with it.
I've loved my time helping to tend the Ouch weblog, and I know I'm leaving a really rich allotment. But all things considered, this is more of a collective, a shared space, a community garden. And it's felt really good to be part of it.
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