Isn’t that extraordinary? I know there are bloggers out there who’ve been doing it since we left the garden of Eden, and people who do it twice a day every day—but it still seems worthy of a little celebration to have arrived at this event.
Here’s a quick historical recap:
It all began, of course, with our Shedders project to create a house and a lifestyle together. Over the course of several years, the six of us did that, and it went swimmingly. There I was, sitting with all that retirement time on my hands, so I decided to write a book about it. (Well, housemate Eve decided for me but that’s another story.)
The writing project went well but I had a lot to learn about bringing a true story back to life, so I stuck into revision with a vengeance. The editing process was daunting as I saw the gap between what I had and what I wanted, and at times my courage flailed. Then one day I had the thought: why don’t I create a blog and post a chapter each week while I’m revising? That will motivate me to stay on track and within half a year I’ll have the whole thing done. And people can be reading it, in the way of serialised stories, and can provide me with feedback. In hindsight, it was an excellent idea, as it placed me out there in the real world.
So I dived in, worked hard, and then one day the job was done. I downed tools and sat back. But blog followers said, don’t stop; we’re curious about how the experiment is working out—and it did feel like there was more to say. So I began writing about our day-to-day Shedders adventures and the kinds of things we encountered in this unusual process of living close together.
Somewhere along this road I became inspired to research and write about co-housing and cooperative households. That played out for awhile, but I decided that, while living collectively was indeed a strong interest of mine, I was not driven to become an expert and a mouthpiece for the movement.
What I really was interested in, always, was relationships, and how we make meaningful connections with each other, and how we can live together well—whether we’re in a communal household or on the opposite sides of the planet. I’ve taken to ranging far and wide with that theme.
So this Shedders blog has wandered all over the map—and I want to thank those of you who’ve been patiently following it. I appreciate you all—those of you who make regular comments, those who send me supportive emails, those who don’t know me from Eve but have found something in the blog that appeals anyway. Spending five or ten minutes every week is no small commitment; I know this from the handful of blogs I subscribe to myself. I feel like there is no end of fellow travellers out there, and my world is richer for connecting with you all.
Speaking of thanks, special mention to Rick, who every week puts up with the last-minute flurries and then the inevitable request to read my draft and sort it out. “Tell me what I’m trying to say,” I might ask him. Or “I’ve got no idea how to end this.” And he interrupts whatever he’s doing and sorts it out (sometimes just by saying, “It’s perfect, couldn’t be better, don’t change a word,” which works too.)
It’s been quite a learning curve. When I began personal writing (as opposed to marketing material and instructional manuals) several years ago, I used the mantra, “My writing reveals me.” As an essentially private person, the hardest part has been exposing myself—talking about the things that most trouble and most delight me. So it’s always been a blog about me, as well as about relationship and communal living and world issues. On the other hand, this business of revealing myself to you, of being vulnerable, has been the most rewarding part.
So—what’s next? I reckon I’ll just keep writing and wandering. A friend in my writers’ group wrote yesterday and said, “Really, the national newspapers should give you a weekly column.” I enjoyed the acknowledgement but couldn’t begin to imagine dealing with the pressure. Can you picture the commitment? the responsibility? working to a real deadline? I’m not a nicely organised blogger with several posts waiting in draft in the queue. Most of the time I don’t have any idea what I’m going to write about until my self-imposed deadline starts to press upon me. I’d have trouble selling that concept to a national newspaper.
Deadlines and fame notwithstanding, there is another very good thing about continuing this blog: I will keep on learning. There’s still more to say, and I learn a lot every time I try to figure out how to say something. I’ll keep learning about blogging, and social media, and what makes the world work.
Stephanie Burns, well-known Australian educator, once told the story about how she got her PhD, as an adult with a high school diploma. “Ten years ago,” she said, “I realised that in seven years time, I could have a PhD. Or I could not have one. And I wanted one, so I enrolled and the rest is history.”
Myself, I’m quite amazed—and very happy—to have 100 posts under my belt, and with it, new friends, new followers and a head-full of new ideas. I’m grateful I started when I did, and grateful to you for keeping the path open.