Today A Leap of Faith turns three! Though WordPress removed my original blog without warning after 6 months, I was cited as pornographic for this post. Then I lost my words, took 10 months away in the middle, so I may feel a bit of a fraud for celebrating my blogging anniversary. However, it is three years since the task was set and I created this space: My library of thought.
I was looking forward to reflecting on the years that have passed, but following on from my New Years Eve post I thought maybe it was a bit soon. It didn’t feel right to me, filling your emails with more of the same. The ideas in my head jump around, a lot. It is why I need a planner, to keep track of the random threads! Anyway, I found myself on a reflective mood, and though this piece is likely to be rambling and varied, I’d love you to stick with me.
Follow me as I walk between the shelves in my library of thought…
If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll know that I enjoy participating in memes. This is a great way to meet fellow bloggers, and gain inspiration. One meme that I participate in fairly regularly is Wicked Wednesday, and the theme this week is Library. I couldn’t quite work out where it would fit in with what I was writing, if at all, but I love libraries, and books. Well, perhaps just the written word in general.
In recent years I have struggled to motivate myself to read books, I believe it is part of my depression. Like so many of those with struggles in this area, I find focussing on words, particularly for long periods, a challenge when I am low. Last year I resolved to read 12 books. It didn’t matter how long they were, as long as I tried. In the second half of the year I surprised myself by joining up with a book club. Posy Churchgate hosts The SafeworD/s Book club; a monthly online meetup where discussions on the previous months book take place. I have added a further 4 books to my tally for last year, mostly books which I would have been unlikely to choose for myself. Reading a total of 13 in 2020, I beat my target. Above and beyond, always! But that is a tale for another day.
Today I want to think about my library of thought, and how it came to be…
I’ve started the year with Venus in Furs. The chosen book for January has been on my bookshelf waiting to be read. The other book I have on the go is Margaret Atwood’s “On Writers and Writing.” When I started this the concern was that it would be a little dry. Certainly, I found the first couple of chapters hard work. As the book goes on though, I find myself drawn into her style and am skipping through the pages with glee. The book is her committing a series of lectures to paper, expanding on points and sharing all with the wider world.
In this book she discusses (among other things) the relationship between the writer and the reader. To illustrate her point she takes a trip down memory lane to her time at Brownies, a group for little girls, much like boy scouts. I laughed along as she spoke about how she liked to gain badges. My time as a Girl Guide was dominated by the desire to fill my sash with little fabric badges, representing my hard work and determination to succeed.
The badge that will always be my favourite was the librarian badge.
In order to achieve this one I volunteered in my local library. I thought that working there one afternoon a week for three months sounded rather fun. After school, of course! I learnt so much, and found such joy in amongst the shelves. Learning to stamp the books in and out, sorting returns, finding editions that customers couldn’t. It is fair to say that I loved it all. This was in no small part linked to my love of books, of reading, and of writing. Being in the company of so many books… that was heaven for the young lady (I was 13 or 14 at the time) who spent her indoors time exploring fantasy realms.
The badge that stood out for her was the Creative Writing badge. To gain this one she cut paper to size, stitched it together and stuck in writings and pictures. Once complete, she handed them over to Brown Owl, the leader of the Brownies. There is a heart-warming tale of the books being returned some 50 years later, and Atwood uses her example to talk about the writer-reader relationship, and WHO the writer is writing for. She explains that everyone has their own Brown Owl. One person to whom their writing is intrinsically linked.
But who is my Brown Owl?
It won’t come as surprise, I’m sure, that my Brown Owl is Sir.
I’ve spoken before about how our email exchanges encouraged me to open up, to him as well as myself. Through him I was able to reclaim my words, to allow them to flow from me. There was never any shame associated with sharing the contents of my mind with him. Not in the early days, certainly not now. But he has plans for me, and learning what those plans are is a slow process. Sometimes he gives me a wider view, but for the most part I am only to see the next step, so I can plot my own course to achieve it.
“You trust, I’ll keep you safe”
Because that foundation of trust is there, and I’m able to give myself to him entirely, I will happily follow his lead. Safe in the knowledge that he won’t lead me somewhere that puts me at risk. The things I have discovered about myself under his demanding yet caring control, I can’t imagine having explored without him. He instilled the self worth required to continue on my path when he is away. Though I must be the one creating a route map at these times. Before he set me the task of creating my blog I had very little idea of what was involved.
But he gave me a reason to create my own library of thoughts.
This corroborates the realisation she comes to in the book; not only is the author writing for someone external- in my case, Sir- but they write for “I” too. And just like her, I also write for me. He set me the challenge of starting this blog, and I continue it, to the best of my ability, even in his absence. I write for me because I feel comfortable in amongst the words. I enjoy many creative pursuits, but writing is the one that I have returned to over and over again. My mainstay. I feel at ease emptying my brain in this way.
Sharing, over-sharing… reflecting, creating, reviewing…
And so it is, A Leap of Faith has been in existence for three years. However, it is only recently that I have started to learn about SEOs, keywords, site security, domain authority, image sizing, readability, spam scores… All of the technical, behind-the-scenes jobs which are so important. As I mentioned above, regarding my reading target for 2020, I like to go above and beyond. Armed with a basic understanding of what is missing I’ve set to work making the site work better. By the time my fourth blogging anniversary comes around, if all goes to plan, I shall have made huge improvements in these areas. There is so much work to do! But something I have learnt through submission, and Sir’s goals, is that I don’t need to do it all at once.