Leaving

There are so many ways of leaving, of ending things, aren’t there?

Paul Simon sang of fifty.

Which reminds me of ‘Still Crazy After All These Years.’

Which reminds me of a sad end to a strange relationship. But that’s by the by – and I won’t be writing about it. Ever.

Anyway.

When I say ways of leaving, I mean more than just the means, but the tone, the demeanour, the…

Oh, hell, let’s get on with it.

I began blogging in 2012. In 2013 I wrote a post about ageing, make-up, invisibility. The way women vanish into nana-hood, whether or not they’re nanas, as they pass through the middle years.

As I was packing for a trip to see family in Texas I received an email.

That post had been ‘Freshly Pressed’ by WordPress.

In a state of slight shock and suppressed excitement I endured the contorted, 20 hour voyage to Austin.

I’ve always loved this, taken in Rippy’s feed store in Dripping Springs, Texas, not too far from Austin, so mildly relevant

On arrival I checked my emails. Responses poured in. Ten, thirty, fifty – and counting.

The tally of my followers leapt from twelve into the hundreds.

It kept on rising slowly – and still ticks up. Though, unlike one of my favourite bloggers, Heide, I can’t number my followers in tens of thousands, just one thousand and seven hundred.

But 1700’s not bad, I tell myself, for a moody nonentity with a penchant for writing what she wants, when she wants, not playing by the blogging ‘rules’.

And so I had an audience.

I was part of a community.

Then the ‘leavings’ began. And I don’t mean what you might think.

It started with Australian blogger, ‘Tess,’ on her ‘Journey Called Life.’ We developed a real friendship, had much in common.

A week after a road trip ended there were, unusually, no new posts. No reply to my contacts. I rootled around, found a Facebook page. An announcement from her husband.

She’d died, after a one-week illness.

Another ‘friend’ who lived in the Philippines – we’d wave at each other across the globe –   vanished, though she’s still, in theory, a follower. I just don’t know what happened to her.

And then, there are those, still following, who’ve found better things to occupy their time. Or don’t enjoy my new directions.

Well, we all change. Our interests change.

Politics to nature. Ranting to creating. Memoir to miscellania. We may not enjoy those changes, stop reading.

And yet. I still felt part of a community.

Alone as I am, much of the time, I thought of the handful of you –  out of 1700 – who comment and like, whose blogs I read when I can, as my friends. My workmates.

And there was still the original motivation, to record some personal stuff so that, one day, family members who’d forgotten or never knew what I’d done –  or, like my sister*  got the stories wrong – could read my versions of events.

*(She argued – with me – that I’d been dumped by a long-term boyfriend in Swaziland. It was the other way round. You can find the real, bizarre story in instalments here.)

Swaziland. Me, taking a break and reading Brideshead Revisited

BUT.

As Christmas approached, this year, I’d begun to write my annual seasonal stories, when …

Slam!

That’s how it felt.

An email from one of my (comparatively rare) male followers. Telling me not to waste my time writing for ‘Husk’. Because you lot are, he reckoned, a ‘limited’ and ‘not really interested’ community.

I fumed, but only at his insensitivity. It didn’t bother me, otherwise, and I blithely carried on writing part 2 of my seasonal tale.

That evening, I read it aloud to the prof, at his request, when he came home from work.

I was floating on a fuzzy cloud of unusually high morale at the time, only enhanced by his ecstatic (by his standards) response.

Then he said, ‘You can’t post them online, now.’

‘Why?’

‘It’s too good, you really need to get these published properly.’

Now, if I was a child in one of those marshmallow experiments where you get rewarded for waiting, not eating your allotted sweets, I’d be the one who ate them almost straight away. (And I’d probably have cried when the other, more patient types got their bonus marshmallows.)

Not marshmallows. Flying saucers from our local newsagents. 3 pence each.

Not put them online? Wait? Be patient?

I plummeted to earth. Beyond, actually. Bit of a pit.

Had a bad night’s sleep, thinking uncomfortable thoughts.

Joining some dots.

For example: I’d been reading a draft of a novel written by a fellow blogger and follower, surprised at how good it was (forgive me if you’re reading this). Her blog posts had not led me to believe… well, let’s leave it there.

Which made me think. Had I been doing this all wrong? Expending my energies in the wrong place?

There was more. The dispiriting lack of response to certain posts, for example. But I won’t go on, it sounds too petty.

These dots began to form a picture as I applied the pencil of 3 am thinking.

I’ve been expending much of my creative energy on something that brings me some joy and a small but kind audience. That helps me reduce my buzz of thoughts to a manageable din.

But it’s also frustrating. I write what I think is a piece of great prose, a justified rant. Recount a lovely nature walk. Tell a great story.

Tens of people view it. Three people like it.

And everyone is so busy. So many demands on our time, attention, resources – of all kinds.

‘Real’ friends who don’t actually follow me tell me in Christmas cards, or by email, that they read my posts, but most of them never comment, or otherwise engage.

Yes, I’ve benefited hugely from honing my craft. From stepping out of the shadows. But it’s begun replacing other things I could – and should – be doing.

It’s become an obligation to an indefinable something.

And it’s time to let it go.

So…

Thank you, everyone who’s bothered to comment, converse, share, or even, on occasion, send me real things in the post.

I’m leaving the archive here. The URL will be converted to memoirsofahusk.wordpress.com in a few months’ time.

Meanwhile, I plan to do more posts on maidinbritain.com where I write about what is (or was) made and done in these wonderful islands – wonderful, despite the depressing, distressing state of our politics.

So, if you who enjoy my posts about history, printing, making, manufacturing, doing, conserving or excavating, please pop over there and follow me.  And if you see maidinbritain  following you, that’ll be me (it’s the nickname ‘Still Crazy’ man gave me) .

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for six years of your company. For keeping me  somewhat sane.

I wish you all the best for 2019 – and always.

And plan to carry on being:

This entry was posted in Thinking, or ranting, or both, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Leaving

  1. hughcurtler says:

    I know exactly how you feel! Fare thee well.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Larry Barham says:

    Enjoyed the ride, thank you.
    L

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ann says:

    That’s sad, I love your blogs and the photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Over to maidinbritain it is then….
    Blogging is interesting in that people kind enough to read what I post often don’t resonate on the same string as myself, but overall stay on for the ride – though the circus comes less often to town these days thanks to other imperatives.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was wondering how you are as I wrote this, how things are with politics, electrical appliances and Leo. Will pop over soon and see if I have missed a post (I seem to be off the email list again of all sorts of people, sigh)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not much recently…I had to go to England as my mother was ill and it took an age to gee up the necessary services. Then returned to the usual chaos as Leo’s carer very kindly puts everything away in my absence, so neither time nor inclination to blog, priority being given to grinding of teeth, raking through cupboards, chasing up the U.K. via e mails and ‘phone calls, not to speak of the daily gubbins of life including one of the big dogs being bitten by a very poisonous snake,so a mad dash to the vet for serum, antibiotics, water pills and cortisone tablets.
        I m only just catching up with blogs I follow….and realising how many people have disappeared onto blasted Facebook.
        Thinking of bloggers who have left us, i still miss Rough Seas in the Med. Literate, opiniated and true to herself.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A restlessness means time to move on – new explorations.
    Many of us are feeling it – and it’s not just the looming massive WP update – it’s just life is out there
    Have enjoyed your posts and have bookmarked the other place and hopefully will remember to wander there.
    So many have left the community – burned out, decided blogging has taken too much of their lives and energy, left this world – and finally realized that blogging can be a creative drain for an other with works in progress.
    You are right to not post gems in progress.( Look, that male reader is either having a bad day, jealous, or turned into one of those vicious annoying trolls who can only get attention/blog hits by insulting and destroying people until they strike back. Totally ignore that and do not let him plaster doubt in you of your ability)
    May the winds of creativity carry you as far as you can see and beyond!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thanks, Karen, thoughtful as always. I hope we keep in touch. I always think swings when I think of you now:
      Up in the air I go flying again,
      Up in the air and down!
      The pleasantest thing indeed.
      Yes, I think the ‘community’ has become so vast it is no longer a thing to enjoy and savour but a duty and a responsibility made worse by technical ‘enhancements’ not to mention pricey policy updates.
      Wishing you wind in your sails too! Mary

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Christa says:

    Well, Mary, as one of those real friends….. I am so sorry you are giving up here, but I am certain your talent and creativity will emerge in ways more satisfactory to you. I look forward to hearing – and reading – more! Onwards and upwards!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Judy Barnes says:

    Keep talking Mary, you have such a lot to say that is interesting and informative.Im sorry it seems such a lonely path along the way at times but the most creative minds are so often the most tortured and searching.You are not alone on your journey however.Thank you for all that you’ve shared and all that I’ve read since knowing you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry that you will not be posting on this blog anymore, I always looked forward to your posts and words, enjoying your good writing and your take on life and events. I can understand why though and I look forward to reading your work on the printed page instead. Thank you for all your posts and keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thel says:

    Another door opens! I’ve enjoyed reading Husk, but I’ll be following you through that door. Who knows the places you’ll go?
    Mary, all the best!💜

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fine… go then 🙃
    I completely understand. Blog life vs real life -as writer, reader, both- isn’t an always an easy balance, speaking from experience. I think I follow maidinbritain.com, however i will check, and your absence here may be incentive for me to pop onto Twitter from time to time.
    I am glad you wrote us this last note, thank you. Take care ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rosemary Reader and Writer says:

    We will miss you Memoirs of a Husk, Mary, but we will drop by on Maid in Britain.
    I have thought a lot about this post. I think you’re right about all blogs reaching their sell-by date eventually. When writing, you live one project for a period of time and then feel a definite need to move on.
    Your blog has attracted online attention, in a way most of us can only dream about, even though you may have lost a few people along the way. Also you take the trouble to interact with bloggers who interact with you.
    Good luck with everything you do.
    Happy Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Alison Parry says:

    I too am sorry but COMPLETELY understand why you’re stopping.
    Larry hit the nail on the head! Your wonderful energies will be better expended elsewhere.
    Like so many others, I rarely made the time to post comments, although your nature epistles were brilliant!
    Hoping to meet up again in 2019 with more time to catch up…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have always enjoyed your forthright conversations, Mary, and look forward to stopping by to see how you’re doing at Maid in Britain. Life is so busy for all of us and prioritizing our time with the things that make the most sense is really tough, sometimes monstrously conflicting, but I find it’s really rewarding now that I’m spending more focused time online. My oasis (lol and hubby) is jealous of Achilles but I’m happy with my switch. Hope you’ll be happy with your new direction, too! Happy New Year and Happy New You! xoxoxo Kathleen Aisha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kathleen good to hear form you. Popped over to look at Achilles – wow! Will take a look at the book and see if I can afford it this month, if not, it goes on the list! I had no idea it was such a full bodied project! Happy New Year to you too, may you and your ‘oasis’ prosper and flourish xxx

      Like

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