Last weekend we bundled ourselves up in our warmest woolies to head up to Montsalvat and watch the winter solstice bonfire they were putting on for the community. Considering the bohemian, almost medieval setting, I remarked to a friend as we stood there, among the stalls, in our muddy boots, that I wondered if this had any parallels at all to such events put on in yesteryears; that we, as guests, were there at the invitation of the higher (richer) classes. I’m not sure how the residents felt either about the experience; at one point, I was told someone had accidentally peeped into a window to find a person at dinner, alone, reading at the table with a glass of wine. Did they also come out and watch the fire spark and blaze or enjoy the antics of the fire twirlers?
It was this ‘come enjoy the spectacle’ with the ‘spectators as visitors; non-belongers’ mishmash that kept me thinking, long after the embers stopped singeing our coats, after we trudged back to the car. I couldn’t help again comparing it to blogging.
(I do do this metaphoring thing a bit, I realise.)
Earlier this week I was asked to answer some questions about ‘mummy blogging’. I can’t tell you how much that phrase is starting to exhaust me. I have nothing against it at all, but it has become a sort of spectacle, or the arena to facilitate the spectacle, perhaps. The term has become a fiery (pun intended) vehicle to discuss such subjects as money and politics – but then again it always had been. There’s no re-invention of the wheel here, just some people (and the media) have been slower on the uptake.
What’s frustrating for me is that blogging has become less about the storytelling and more about the telling. The broadcasting. The ‘expertism’ of its players. The ‘What You Can and Can’t Dos’ as opposed to ‘Opportunities’. I’m not wishing back to simpler times; the complexity of this sphere now is one of its defining attributes. But it is louder, and there’s distractions aplenty. It’s slicker, less tolerant. Impatient. Entitled.
I’ve been thinking about what I’ve been doing lately, here on the blog, and off it. I’m observing more, reading less blogs (funny how that’s the first sacrifice I made) and taking stock. I’m taking inspiration from the people who get out there, do the work, stack their own wood, and then, once the pyre is ready, invite others to participate in the occasion. They strike the match, and let it burn. They’re probably aware of risks, but also of the successes.
That’s pretty inspiring, and I don’t know about you, but I could do with as much of it as possible these days.
* Quote being the last line in Robert Frost’s ‘The Bonfire’. It’s quite an extraordinary poem, one of his lesser known ones, about the lure of fire and malevolence of war. You can read it here.