Irish Papist

Irish Papist
Statute of the Blessed Virgin in Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Church, UCD Belfield

Monday, February 10, 2014

To Blog or not to Blog

Yes, it's been a long time since I updated this blog. The truth is, I spent a long time mulling over whether I should keep going with it. It's been going for a good few years now and its readership has remained at the same level for a lot of that time. Very few other blogs or websites link to it (though I don't actively canvas these). I do have a lot of fun-- an enormous amount of fun-- writing it, but that's not all a good thing as I am tempted to put too much energy into it, to the detriment of other important things. The GK Chesterton Society has been on ice for far too long now, and the success of the Belloc Society has shown me what is possible in that regard (and I do think such Societies are important).

I also had a personal tragedy in my own life recently, which has obviously taken my attention off other things.

I told my wife Michelle that I was thinking of giving up the blog, and she counselled me very strongly to keep it up. So that's what I'll do. (My wife has an uncanny knack of giving the best advice.)

I also learned this week (and not for the first time) that the blog is read more widely than I suspected. Readership statistics and volume of comments don't paint a full picture, as I realize from time to time but always seem to forget. I appreciate everyone who reads, and I pray for them.

So, this is just to let the world know that this blog is not a dead blog. There's life in the old blog yet, to misquote an Irish song. But it will probably take me a little while to get back into the swing of things.

(Incidentally, I have been rediscovering Chesterton. I've noticed a regular pattern whereby, every once in a while, I begin to find his idiosyncrasies and hobby-horses and mannerisms irritating, and stop reading him. Then I pick up a Chesterton book and all the love and affection and gratitude I feel for him comes flooding back. I was reading the Autobiography recently-- a book he finished weeks before he died-- which I'm beginning to think is even better than Orthodoxy, which I've long considered not only my favourite Chesterton book, but my favourite book of all time. The Autobiography is more intimate and mellow-- all the enfant terrible provocativeness of Orthodoxy has been left behind. In fact, I find later Chesterton much mellower and generous and deeper than early Chesterton, despite the common claim that he was a shadow of his former self after his breakdown during World War One.

Why are an old man's reminiscences considered to be so proverbially dull? To me, nothing is more exciting than to hear an old man reminisce. I love to listen to my own father's memories. I guess it has to do with our lack of appreciation for old age. Rather than valuing old age, we try to deny it. Why should sixty be "the new forty"? What's so wrong with being sixty? Or seventy? Or eighty?)

19 comments:

  1. delighted to hear that you'll keep going ... & sorry to hear about your personal tragedy.

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  2. Thanks for both those sentiments, Father!

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  3. How lovely to find a new post from you... I was hoping you hadn't given up. Prayers for you and yours.

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  4. Keep on blogging you write well, post interesting blogs and serve to remind people that not everyone in ireland has abandoned the faith. Agree with you about Chesterton he can be tiring but then just when you are about to write him off you realise just how much of a prophet he was

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  5. Also sorry to hear about your loss, losing someone you care for is always tough.

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  6. Thanks for those kind words and for your commiserations. It's good to hear that other people feel the same way about Chesterton. Sometimes I feel Chesterton fandom degenerates into Chesterton idolisation and I think that does both Chesterton and the Faith a deep disservice.

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  7. Maolsheachlann,

    Just to jump straight in with my tuppence-worth to say that I think your wife is completely right, and that I really hope that you won’t leave this blog aside (and am glad that you have decided not to!). I wrote in with a comment at Christmas, saying how much I enjoyed your writing, and must admit I have missed my regular dose. I am one of those people who can’t influence the statistics very much because I tend generally not to comment (except for emergencies like this!), but I can’t really think of any blog that I have enjoyed, or am confident of enjoying, as much as yours.

    In your first post you wrote of the need to speak up for the Church in the face of the ‘unprecedented media and popular attack’ of recent years. I don’t think that that need has diminished very much since 2011. But almost as important for me is the kind of surprising and thoughtful comments that you make (interspersed with surprising and thoughtful poetry) about everyday life, books and things generally unnoticed, and the memorable images and thoughts that have struck me, like the caboose, the gable-wall or the gentleman shaking hands at the bus-stop. You provide the sort of gentle literature (and traditional and characterful) that are hard to find among living writers, and almost banished from television. I feel rather as if you haven’t finished your blog yet. Certainly I had been looking forward to the rest of ‘The Bard’s Apprentice’. I would find it an awful shame if there were to be no more of these things and if you were to leave the slings and arrows of outrageous web-space to it! (On the other hand, if you were to put these things into a book...).

    Of course your judgement, the writer’s, is foremost. I am also very sorry to hear about the personal tragedy that you have suffered. I don’t want to oblige you to write, but I suppose I am rather surprised that you had even considered giving it up!

    Dominic.

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  8. Hi Dominic, I do (of course) remember your comment and how much it encouraged me. I'm very happy you liked my posts so much especially the non-controversial stuff. I am by no means unwilling to jump into controversy and I even enjoy it. But controversy seems like a relatively small part of life to me and I don't think much of a philosophy of life that has nothing to say once the adrenalin of adversity is missing.

    And I'm pleasantly amazed that someone else wants to read The Bard's Apprentice. I will have to dust it off, and try to iron out little details like characters appearing unannounced into the narrative...

    Anyway, I was only contemplating giving up the blog. I've changed my mind! I felt the hiatus had to be explained.

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  9. What Dominic said. Great to see you back

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  10. Finally you're back. We missed you so much, don't give up!

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  11. Great to see you back!

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  12. Looks like I'm late again.

    I'm glad you decided not to stop blogging. I enjoy the mix of Catholicism and worldly things you write about in this blog Maolsheachlann. I'm very sorry to hear about your tragedy.

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  13. Thanks so much Antaine, I appreciate those kind words.

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  14. It's so very good to see you back at it! Thanks for giving the old blog another chance. (And thanks to Michelle, too!) God bless. --Molly

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  15. Thanks Molly! I hope 2014 is going well for you!

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