Monday, January 4, 2010

Confession Tis Good For The Soul

I come from an age when good Catholic kids were expected to show up at their parish church every Saturday to make their confession. It was more or less required. You may not go every week, but it was almost mandatory that you go once a month.

So, Dad made sure I met the requirement. Even though he was a little less stringent with me in terms of weekly confession, I absolutely had to go to church every Sunday unless I was dead, or half dead. He also made sure I went once a month to Confession. He'd predictably say, "Better pack a lunch; you'll be in there awhile." Very funny, Daddy...

In retrospect, I have always found the notion of the Confessional with children as counter-intuitive. I mean, what does a child really have in the way of sin? I often found myself actually committing a sin while in the confessional, telling a lie, fabricating some small transgression, in order to make the session in the dark, incensed cloaked box with my favorite priest worth his time. Crazy. To that end, I've stolen thousands of phantom apples in my life, even though I'm not that fond of them. And, even though I've never stolen an apple or anything in my life.

No, check that; I just told you a lie. I stole fake fingernails from Woolworth's. Don't ask me why. I was so guilty and felt so bad about it, I tossed them in the trash bin on the street when I got out the door. So, maybe the whole Confessional thing works to develop a conscience more than do much good in terms of the actual visit.

"Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been a week/month since my last confession. I talked back to my father one time. I got mad at Nanny, The World's Meanest Woman (who could make a saint mad, but I digress,) five times. I stole an apple. I said a swear word. I took the Lord's name in vain, and Nanny washed out my mouth with soap so I don't know if it's still a sin...." and that was pretty much the extent of the week.

I still know the benefit of confession, or as it is called now, The Act of Reconciliation. It is good for the soul because it liberates you and sets you free. It's like a deep cleansing breath. So it's time for me to make a confession to you all. And, reconcile with myself. May as well start the New Year off in a good direction.

For some time now, you've noticed I haven't been posting much. Awhile back I made some cryptic comments about my thoughts about the direction of this blog and such. Then I remained silent. Why? I'm not really, truly, absolutely sure. Except that I've reached a cross roads of sorts.

"Bless me Father Blog, for I have sinned. It's been a long time since my last post. I've been less than forth-right in my sharing of thoughts. I've been evasive and uninspired."

Here's the thing: I don't know what to do with this thing I've created, or where to go, or how to manage it any more. In a nutshell, it's become a lot of mental work. And, most days, I don't have the energy to gather my thoughts that swirl around like dry leaves in a wind storm. Not only that, but honest to gawd, I just don't have a fascinating thought to share every day! No one is inspired every day.

But, the real reason I've been so dodgy lately is that I cannot give less than my best. And, what I wasn't prepared for is, not how much time it takes to make a post, since I'm gifted with writing and that comes very quickly when I decide to post. No, my problem is you; it's really your fault.

It's really a problem about giving all of you less than 100 per cent. I've become so close with many of you and your work. But it takes HOURS a day to read your postings. I don't have hours. Just don't. So I feel guilty. Who knew there could be so many fascinating blogs out there? I feel like a person who has 20 magazines coming in a month. I want them, but I don't have time to read them all! And they pile up taunting me and my inability to keep up.

What I didn't know about blogging is how it's very much like a high school clique. And, you have to work very hard to maintain your status; keep your readership numbers up, if you want to be seen as successful. I thought it would be a case of, "I'll write well, and of things that are interesting, and the comments will start and the readers will come."

Uumm, not really. In order to have followers, you have to cultivate them, and the only way to do that is by following their blogs, too. And commenting. Sharing. Letting them know what you think about what they had to say.

My problem? I can't phone it in. Just can't. I won't disrespect your energy and effort like that. So I can't just speed read through your post and leave some less than full comment just so you'll come and visit with me. In my humble opinion, that's what a lot of blog writers do. You can tell by the depth of the comment. However, I refuse to to that.

Also, I've lost some of my original blog friends who have packed it up and said, "adieu" to the whole thing. When you read why, it's basically because they realize they've allowed their real life to go on hold while they sit at the computer for hours making the rounds. I admire them for deciding that life is more interesting than blogging. But, I'm jealous of them too. Because I've not had the courage to let it go. I just want to let go of the hours of obligation to make the rounds.

I miss my friends who I first made who have gone on to other things. Kavindra, Mel, Tessa and Toni. Some of them are beginning to write again, so that's a good thing as I'm thrilled they're back, but it adds to the stress because now the blog reading list has gotten longer!! What's a girl to do?! I'm rambling because my thoughts just don't seem to want to cooperate on this topic.

I've decided: I will not post every day. And, on the days when I don't post, I will be reading the blogs that I find fascinating. I will continue to give myself the liberty of not commenting every time I stop by. However, you can bet I will comment when I have something to tell you about what you shared.

I promise you, I will not be speed reading through your post. I will not leave a comment just so you feel obligated to come to read my stuff. Come visit with me when you really want to, not because you're being polite about this whole thing. I'm going to give you the gift of some time, at least when it comes to Your Mother Knows.

I am not staying on the blog merry go round; I'm getting off.

I'm certain my decision will impact my numbers. I'm certain that many of the followers have decreased because I'm not playing the game anymore. But, the way I see it is...I really only want people who find my work, authentic, worthy, and interesting in its own right, not because I'm part of a fraternity.

I want my readers to get something worth their time. I want this to be worth my time and not feel like a thousand pound gorilla. I want to keep writing a blog that makes those readers say to those they care about, "Hey, you need to go read Your Mother Knows, because she's a good writer," and that's getting me back to my original intention.

And, having said all this out loud, I'm feeling much less conflicted about the whole blogging situation. I'm Human enough to worry that my confession here will make my followers dwindle to nothing. But, that will be as it will.

Meantime, I start the new year getting back to the original intention of blogging. For me, by me, with truth and a journey toward better understanding of the world around me. Oh, and one more thing; sorry I had to go back to word verification. I have been spammed by Butt Munches who insist on telling me how to get a bigger penis. Yeah, I'm very happy about that.

Father Blog says, "Your sins have been forgiven; go forth and write in the truth; sin no more."

Amen. I have to go do my penance now. Talk with you again soon!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka The Truth Teller


Rocky Creek Scotties and Java said...

And how many "Hail Mary's" should you do?? ZERO - blogging is like any other fun habit or hobby - there comes a time when you either don't have the time or it ceases to be fun.

I'm glad I met you and I love your blog but I totally respect your space and your decisions.

The strange thing is that I just came by to let you know that I'd left an award for you on my blog - but it's up to you whether you pick it up, comment or just go on with life. Either way, we'll still be friends.


Sarah said...

Whoot good for you hon..seriously..good for you.

I have struggled with this for several months now. I had to let go of some things too. I did and felt sooooo very much better. The blog I will keep. But even there I realized some folks that were dear to me were not getting my full attention when I visited I reordered my priorities there as well. I don't like to speed read through post either..I want to leave a heartfelt response or none at all.

So Holly..bless have chosen well my friend. I for one will be looking for your posts no matter how often you post. I won't be leaving you hon! This should be fun and a joy..not a chore.
Hugs and love, Sarah

insomniac ellen said...

HAVING. MAJOR, FLASHBACKS.... 12 years of catholic school in the days things were hardcore will do that to a girl.

Holly--a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. I'll still stop by as often as I can--and yo do the same. No harm, no foul.

Chester said...

I know EXACTLY what you're saying Holly. I HATE not being able to visit all the other outstanding blogs out there. I rarely find one that doesn't catch my eye and it is impossible to keep up. I'm not worrying about the amount of blog comments on ours anymore. I do what I can, put out there what I can, visit as much as I can and not worry about the rest. True friends understand.
All that to say, Chester and I value every time you stop by and every comment you've made. We completely understand when you don't. You keep the west end of PA up and running and we'll keep the middle together. I'm sure there is a blog out there in the eastern part of the country to handle that. Take care! Best wishes on making this work!

Chester & Mom ;0=)

*So glad you got to take such a nice trip to see Evan too.

Not So Glamorous Housewife said...

I think most bloggers go through this. I get on a roll, then get off of a roll, then back. Life can't be interesting EVERY day right? Those who say it is are probably embellishing and need to confess anyway. As for word verification....hmph. Ever since that jerko told me to quit eating doughnuts on one of my rants about a workout video I was doing I have forced people to become members in order to comment. Seriously, imagine not eating doughnuts. RIDICULOUS! I'm glad your my blogger friend and I will read once a week, once a month, whatever comes. Always interesting, always thought provoking. Much love your way.

Marlene said...

I don't think you will lose many followers..if like me I enjoy your wrting and perspective on life..I find myself connecting with the messages you leave..and that is why I visit..I have been a follower for some time, you have never commented on my blog,nor did I expect it...I just stopped by because..what you said made me laugh, feel good.. or thoughtful! So I think you will continue to have people stop bye..jsut becasue its you! :-)

Karen D said...

I am feeling this also, there is just so many hours in a day. I do not speed read through any posts, though my comments may not be lengthy or profund when i leave a comment you can be sure i have read through the post.
I am still fairly new to blogging, only a few months in and I have already been feeling this stress that you speak of. Someone once told me when I first started blogging that it can;t be for others it has to be for yourself, write for yourself, what you want to hear or just what you need to put out there for that moment and that is what I am trying to do because I really don;t like that high school clique feeling..

Suzie said...

Holly, when it comes to reading your blog, I've always looked at it as quality over quantity, and will patiently wait until your Muse sings, to read what you have to share.

And I agree fully with your views on leaving comments. Obviously, I have a difficult time leaving a brief few words. lol But I like it to be more of an interaction between people, not just a obligatory acknowledgement that I was there.

I actually am SO relieved to see you here! I had been concerned that perhaps you, or one of your loved ones were having health issues, or some other problem that was keeping you away.

Now that I know your concerns, I can understand your reasons, and believe me, they are much easier to live with!

You are worth waiting for, my dear!!


Diva Kreszl said...

Well your post today had me running the full gamut of emotions, I remembered my younger days in the confessional trying to come up with some sin worthy of our priest. You tugged at my heart when you spoke of not enough time to read all the blogs you follow (I often feel the same way) and it certainly hit home when you mentioned not feeling inspired to right every day. So many of your observations have been my own and yet I am not ready to give this up. I have 'met' so many wonderful women (and some men), been inspired by their words, their art and even their soul searching. I often feel that I have gone too long between posts and that I will lose followers but then I realize it is not the numbers that make my writing worthwhile but rather what it does for me and if by chance I happen to reach another of God's children across the globe then that is His will. I am so glad to hear that you will continue to post as I love your writing and your words have always given me much to think about!

clairedulalune said...

Happy New Year to you Holly! Blogging can do that to all of us I think. I know I have had similar thoughts. I loved and of course still do love the wee blog community created around me and made me feel so welcome, but it was getting immense!I really didnt think that many people blogged! So many people, writing such good content but I could not read them all, missed posts and began to feel guilty. I was also posting for the sake of posting at times. Just in case. But now, I post things I would want to read myself,when I can know I will catch up with you all soon and enjoy a good ole read with a cup of tea and no interuptions. So much better! Oh and Missus, you are giving me severe flash backs of Belfast and a weekly confession. I was reading from script at times at mine. I am giggling at the memories. So Holly, I will see you, when I see you and enjoy those reads! Blessings to you!

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Hi Holly-

There is so much truth in what you have written here. I think it is EXTREMELY valid that none of us have time to read all the blogs we want. I literally can't do it. I stop when a subject line hits this one....finding that we both grew up Catholic and the whole confessional thing.

What is important here, for me, is that you have touched on something that my friend/mentor Lexi has said too....I can't sit for hours in front of the computer and do something blog wise or social network wise and actually get my work done. So I don't and I haven't.

I write on my blogs (yep, plural) when I have something meaningful to say ... at least that is my hope.

Thanks for this. Happy New Year. I'm glad I discovered you in 2009 and happy to call you a friend.

:) Kathleen

Renee said...

We always got three hail marys.

Good post and yes it can take a lot of time. For me blogging is my two pack a day habit. It would be hard to quit.

I like your idea and am glad that you will not be leaving the blogs.

Renee xoxo

beth said...

I understand, for the most part, how you're feeling as blogging can feel overwhelming at times if you feel that people are waiting on you to post something new and exciting...

but the other way to think of it is as an online journal of sorts, just for yourself....I suck at regular journaling and wish that I didn't, so blogging takes the place of that for me...

I know my blog is something that will always be there...where I can go back and see what I was doing or feeling on a certain day or see how my writing or my photography has changed or grown.

so don't worry about your followers, or how often you post....just post from your heart and you'll be on the right path.


clairedulalune said...

PS: I just read the comment you left for me. Write this down in your diary for today please. You made someone smile today and you made their day. I am chuffed and honoured, Thank you!

Sara said...

Oh Holly... I know how you feel. Before the holidays I almost closed my blog because I felt too busy to give it my all. Luckily my online friends gathered around me and lifted me up with their love and understanding. I decided to continue blogging, with the knowledge that I can not post rubbage, even if it means posting less often. I must give 100%, like yourself. And though I thought I might lose followers, I actually kept most of them and have gained some. Go figure.

I look forward to reading more from you, even if it isn't as often as before. Your words are dear to me and live in my heart and mind long after I read them.


Big Pissy said...

I must say, Miss Holly, that I was beginning to wonder what was going on with you and the not posting every day. Very unlike you. ;-)

I think your decision to not post everyday, but use the off days to visit other blogs is a great one!

It's obvious that you put a lot in to your posts and that you have a talent for writing. I always love what you have to say.

hugs to you and Rory!


Karen D said...

PS: I just wanted to add that I will keep checking in here, your won't lose me as a reader if you slow down your posts, I really enjoy reading what you have to say!

Kyddryn said...

Oh, Mizz Holly - I feel you.

I decided at the end of the year that I would no longer post every day...for much the same reason you've come to. For what it's worth, I'll be reading you when you post and happy to see you if you make by my place and feel moved to comment.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K (who never went to confession, and would likely have sent the priest to sleep if she did)

Ribbon said...

Oh Holly thanks for the flashback... I too was educated as a Catholic :)

I'm delighted for you that you are putting your mind at ease about blogging and it's imagined obligations.
I believe that the first obligation starts with yourself... and any emotions surrounding the experience also start with yourself and therefore it is a wonderful learning tool.

Also I'm very happy to read that you're not giving it away. I would miss you.

big love to you...
Ribbon :)

PS... without life beyond blogging there is no quality blog (in my opinion)

I too am experiencing spam and followers with pornographic blogs... for the first time I have had to block followers :(

cinner said...

Holly, glad your back, understandable you feel that way.There is never enough time in blogland. I came to your blog for your writing and your opinions that to me were from someone who spoke their mind....example the eyelish thickener...also for the kindness you shared when my Dad died. Sometimes I feel like I say to much from my heart...being somewhat sentimental...but that is who I am. As for the porn yes I too have had comments about eating donuts and then about heart can't take that crap in the middle of the night...really anytime of the day...those are people with too much time on their when you can, when it feels right. AND just do it for you. as for confession I have not been in years, but that is for another day. Hugs to you.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I hear you sister! There are only so many hours in a day and even if there were MORE, I still shouldn't spend them all in front of the computer.

I read a lot of blogs but recently I dropped more than 80 from my list-- yes 80! Now it's far more manageable and only blogs I truly enjoy. In the coming months I hope to shave the list down even more.

My recent unexpected trip to Israel, which kept me 100% offline for a week, was a real wake-up call. After the first 48 hours of stress about not checking my blog, I just let it go and focused on my family. Two weeks later and I still feel like I'm "behind" in my reading but haven't stressed out about it at all. I check my handful of daily "must reads" for updated posts-- including YOU, and get to reading everyone else when I have time to enjoy them.

And with all due respect.... I thought a "hail Mary" was a football term :-)

You know I'll be writing whatever and whenever you post. I'm your biggest fan!

Love you,

Jules said...

Wonderful Ms. Holly! This is exactly why people read your posts, no matter how often they are posted. You are authentic and a breath of fresh air. Your writing portrays your big heart and being true to who you are. When I first started reading your blog, I read old archives of how this all got started. These are the things my Mom knows but would never share. I use my Google Reader to skim through many blogs and post when I am moved...You just move me alot!
Reading your blog is like reading a favorite author to me. I will wait months for the next book to come out because it is always meaningful!
THANK YOU for your honesty!

Kavindra said...

Exactly! As always, perfectly said.

And I laughed at the confessional - it was such a big deal telling the priest you ate 3 oreos when your mom said to have one. Sheesh. (Tho later, alot more things than fake fingernails disappeared from our local Woolworths - cough, ahem, shuffle...)

Anonymous said...

Holly, I love your honesty! I am in a similar position - finding time is impossible in this bloggyland. I think it should be obligatory to recieve at least an extra three hours a day when you sign up to blogger. Most companies give you free gifts when you sign up - I think it's only fair!

I hope that you can remember the fun aspect of blogging and worry less about getting round to see us all. I promise I will not be offended if I don't see you for a while :0)

I hope it all goes well,

Alix said...

Holly, you and I are on the same train, sweetie. Although I do not consider myself in your league, I share your concerns, lack of time {and I don't work outside the home} and desire to be pure to my intentions. Which kind of brings us back to why we began blogging in the first place.

Clique is right! And yet, there are those rare blogs out there that attract Followers like crazy regardless of whether the authors choose to even acknowledge them.

it's funny that we all, sooner or later, come full circle. We begin a blog for us, then evolve and gain readers and do it for them, then maybe lose a bit of the joy because it becomes a task, and finally we reassess and get back to our roots.

You writing is delightful and amazing. It is most lovely when you write deeply from the heart, pleasing that internal/eternal need of expression. To do it for any other reason is to cheat yourself. We, your Followers, on the other hand are never cheated, so you can just cross that right off your worry list, Missy.

Write what you want when you want. We're not going anywhere.

Much love and wishes for only good things in 2010!

Casa Hice ♥'s you!

Dreamwriter said...

Too funny! I agree! When I went to confession - I actually lied in order to *Confess.*

Great post as always, missed you :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Holly,
I agree with everything you said, I started following not only your blog (my first blog) but 98 others, first, I started reading the ones you suggested and then reading the ones they suggested and from there, I ended with 99 blogs. It would take all day and since I don't have a computer at home, I would read all the blogs at work in my spare time....and, one would say, as a state employee, you have plenty of spare time...that's not the case anymore. My spare time is not as it use to be and most of my blogs are only visited once or twice a month or every other month and some of them, I have to go back to see what I missed...yes, it took a long time when perhaps, I could of been getting some fresh air or visiting my colleagues or, should I say, finding something else to do for the work never ends. So, I am glad you are slowing down for I was one of those followers who visited everyday and then it all had to stop when I got so busy that I didn't even have time to eat my lunch.

This way, when I do visit once or twice a month, I can catch up pretty quickly so I know what I missed in less time or should I say fewer words.....

YOU know, I didn't even know Toni stopped her blog until the end of October when I stopped in for a visit and was surprised that she was no long there....

Take care my friend; it's still fun to see what you are up too or what you will write about what's currently happening in the world today.

Happy New Year,

gayle said...

I am just reading this at 7:30 on Tuesday night ...that is how far behind I am..Several blogs that I read have posts very similar to it is a real problem in the blogging community. This reading and following is fairly new to me but I do agree with you. I do not post everyday ...full time job and other things. I also follow lots of blogs but only comment when I have something to say. My biggest problem is because of my personality I have to check them all out and read just about all of them...that's why I am still working on yesterdays!! You are a great writer so I am sure you will not lose important followers...maybe the ones that just follow blogs to be following to get followers and that's really not a big deal.

Oh..I remember "Bless me Father.....I talked back to my mom 3 times, talked in church 4 times etc etc. Thanks for a great post.

Joanna said...

For me, there are a few coincidences with your entry. First, I in fact received the Sacrament of Reconciliation today, and as an adult, have come to know its depth and the gorgeousness of bringing me closer to the good God. Second, I began my own blog yesterday, in part due to the wonderful impressions I have of the blogs I follow, yours included. Just making the very short entries I did took me hours. I couldn't stop revising. If you think your blog is owning you, then you should do what you have to do in order to get control. I'll continue to receive your feed and look forward to them, whenever they arrive. Love and Happy New Year!

spottedwolf said...

In the beginning Holly, most have a lot to say...and spend a lot of time saying it....but....the point of writing for some is to vent all the thoughts they have because their day to day just doesn't seem to allow for it. Most of us tend to live in small 'sheltered valleys' keeping to ourselves and generally feeling quite alone. I write for reasons I believe are important to many more than just myself....and I think that is nearer to why you write than a 'vent' or for peer recognition. We live in a society of separationists,if you will...where we have lost true touch with our root tribal nature through the ardent escapism industrialism has created. In this effort to escape the 'risk' of life we have over used and abused our world in a desperate attempt to abolish our fear of death. Those of us who seek 'truth' for all its worth approach this medium again and again in life and as we gain understanding of the 'light of infinite love' that shines extant we find there exists very little in life which is as important as sharing what we find. That is why you much you write is unimportant...

sema said...

Hi Holly,
I was missing you at your blog and at mine!
You have become a dear friend who inspires me and I understand your feelings.You have taught me a lesson in this post too! To slow down and enjoy my blog experience without taxing myself.
Happy new year and I am there for you always!
Blessings for abundance,

miss*R said...

this year dear Holly, I decided to visit only those blogs that I really and truly love... and read with my full attention. Because those bloggers are my friends and that is what I do for my friends here in 'real' life.. yes I will lose readers as well ..
I am the same with comments.. I can always see shallow comments and those from the heart and yours my dear friend have always, always helped me..

love you as always ~ xoxo

Marisa @ Getting Back To Basics said...

Holly, like you I have been feeling stressed and time pressed concerning this blogging thing...actually feeling guilty because I haven't been posting or following other blogs as I should. In fact, today is the first time in about two months I've actually sat down to catch up on what my favorite bloggers have been up to while I've been slack...your's being the first on my list to revisit...and I find your wonderful insights reflecting exactly what I've been feeling. Thanks again for lifting my spirits.

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