Betty Duffy

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog?

Is blogging an addiction for me? In complete honesty, yes it is. If we know a disorder by what it replaces, I admit, it has at times replaced my prayer life, at times, spending time with my kids. I have at times replaced the thought of pleasing God with the thought of pleasing whomever may happen across my blog.

But it has replaced another aspect of my life as well: All the empty hours of pining for fulfillment as a writer. I have known since I was about eleven that I would write when I grew up. Any career I might have chosen was a side note. The main course would be my writing. When I do not write, I am a miserable person.

I’ve tried not writing before, when I was a co-worker with Regnum Christi (an apostolic movement in the Church) before I was married. At that time, all my writing took place on paper, but it was equally addictive, and I would take my notebooks into the chapel to do my writing (instead of prayer) because it was the only time during the day in which I might do that and look like I was writing down my examinations of conscience to reserve for Confession. Well, the guilt was overwhelming then, living in what amounted to a convent. When all the temptations of the outside world were removed from my life, it was harder to sin, and yet any minor deception took on an elevated significance, because I didn’t have grave sin to overshadow it. So I made an attempt then to remove this evil writing temptation from my life—and that was precisely when my restlessness and dissatisfaction with what I was doing that year for the Church began. I longed for home. I did shoddy work on my apostolate. And when I finally told my Spiritual Director what was behind my antipathy, she scolded me.

Writing is not a sin. It is not an evil. It’s possible that God made me to write, as much as he made me to be a mother. And I have to honor that impulse (which back in the day meant discussing options with my Spiritual Director for putting writing into my daily schedule). And likewise, I have to ask God to temper it so that it doesn't replace my first purpose here on earth, to live in the light of God. Purifying my own intention is not something I am capable of doing. I don’t have the power to absolve myself from sin, and I don’t have the ability to purify myself. I keep forgetting that purity is a gift from God that I have to request, and I’m glad I went to this retreat so that I can remember now to ask for it.

But another reason I am glad for this blog is that it does provide what every writer ultimately hopes for when they write, and that is a readership, no matter how large or small. Blogging has replaced what amounted to despair for getting my words in print. Being a mom of many kids, I don’t have the time to send out numerous rounds of submissions, keep track of everything, and proliferate that cycle until some journal has mercy on me. Yes, I’ll keep sending my stories and poems out there when I can, but blogging alleviates a bit of the paranoia that I’m wasting my writing impulse by hording thoughts in a drawer. Granted, this is a different genre altogether than the ones in which I’ve previously invested, but for everything, a season. Apparently, it’s blogging season.


Duffy said...

Answer: Blog just don't let it take over. If you're putting off TV blogging is probably a good distraction. If you're putting off calling the fire department because your kitchen is aflame you may want to reprioritize. Just my $.02

I've found that blogging is a good way to work out things that are bothering me, things I'm thinking about, forming a (hopefully) coherent argument and can even be a good substitute for email to let people know what's going on in your life beyond the surface level.

John said...

St. Thomas Aquinas: "Contemplate and give to others the fruit of your contemplation."
--some saintly justification [or just rationalization] for blogging?

Emily said...

Came across this in Mother Teresa's Come be my Light: "My God -- give me your light and your love to be able to write the things to Thy honor and glory. Don't let my ignorance prevent me from doing your Will perfectly. Supply for what is wanting in me."

Write on. In fact, you're making me think about starting a blog too. I want an audience also!