Last time I blogged, I was engaged, and now I’m married. (And marriage is absolutely the best thing, by the way!) It’s been four months, and I could pretend the flurry of getting married is my excuse. I bet you’d believe me, too, but it’s actually not. The real reason I haven’t written a blog post in four months is because I haven’t known what to write.
At first, I really was busy. Keeping house for someone whose opinion of my housekeeping skills I value, and who I want to love through my homemaking efforts, takes a lot more time than “keeping house” for myself. It somehow doesn’t feel right to have cereal for dinner, and he sure won’t eat vegetables, which till four months ago were almost my entire diet. And there’s at least twice as much laundry to do. Etc., etc.
But then I started having a blog identity crisis. Since I had waited so long to write anything, the next post ought to be really good, I thought– some wise observations on new marriage, or something sage like that. But since I’m still newly married I don’t have anything sagacious about it to say, so I didn’t post anything. Then I started wondering, what is worth posting? There are so many blogs on the Internet; I can’t possibly think of anything unique. And that made me feel like I shouldn’t write at all till I had something unique to say.
But in the meantime, I was feeding my own blog-reading habit. I’m an aesthetic person, so I love planning my menu by following Pinterest links to food blogs, and looking at pretty food photos. I’m also prone to “everydayness” (more on that later) so I love reading blogs by busy women who share about their very real lives and homemaking efforts generally. Working girls who find time to try their hand at cake making or a new bread recipe, or just to faithfully document how they balance a busy life with the desire to eat whole, healthy foods, inspire me. It’s the desire and ability to draw out the beauty in normal life that I love, and each individual blogger does that differently.
It’s taken me until now to realize that if I blog thoughtfully, maybe I can do that for someone else. I’ve been so stuck on thinking that everything I have to write needs to “advance the story-” the curse of a reporter, I suppose. But my blog isn’t news. My blog is a progressive snapshot of my life and therefore, in its own small way, a story about living. It answers, a bit, a question Hamlet asks in Shakespeare’s play, “What should such fellows as I do, crawling between earth and heaven?” Why, go for a run. Read a book. Make biscotti. Have coffee with a friend. Those are the things I’ve been doing lately, and if sharing them shows how good and beautiful our brief sojourn on earth can be, then I’ve done a good thing in sharing.
I feel a bit like Innocent Smith in G.K. Chesterton’s story Manalive. This odd character always tries to see ordinary things as if for the first time in order to retain a sense of their sweetness. He enters his own house like a burglar, through the chimney, kissing his own wife like a stranger who has just seen her and fallen in love at first sight.
If Binx Bolling in Walker Percy’s novel The Moviegoer had such a keen sense of what it meant to be alive, he wouldn’t have needed a car accident to shake him out of what he calls “everydayness,” the ennui that comes from over-familiarity with life and everything in it. When you have once stood at the brink of death, then life becomes that much sweeter.
Well, I have stood at the brink of death, when it comes to it. And death of soul is much more dangerous than the death of my body, so my appreciation for life should be that much sweeter. But sometimes it takes sneaking into my own house the back way to remember that. And in that way, I think blogging is at least as good for me as it is for anyone else. There’s something about taking a picture of a delicious chocolate cake, served up on a pretty plate and awaiting dinner guests, that heightens my appreciation for the occasion. That is, dinner becomes an occasion, when it wasn’t before.
So in order to banish everydayness and document all my reasons for joy, and to have many more ‘occasions’ than mere dinners, I will keep blogging. You don’t even have to read; but should you run into me, I hope you will find a woman alive.