Thank You, Dear Readers

OK­, I’ve been putting this off long enough. My ride on the merry-go-round of blogging is coming to an end – I’ve felt it slowing down for some time now – and just like the kid on his favorite wooden horse, that sense has brought me mixed feelings. It’s been great fun – and really served me well in this phase of my life – certainly one needs an activity which will keep one’s mind at work. And if you’re going to look for something to meet that criterion, why not combine a few of your life joys – in my case, food and writing – it’s been wonderful.

But that same sense also brings a real sadness – no one can just stop doing something they love and still escape a feeling of sadness – I think it’s one of the paradoxes of happiness; one never comes without the other.

Yes, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I’m comfortable with my decision. And I wanted to share that rationale with you – hey, we’ve got a mutual investment here – don’t we? Sure we do. And as I’ve said several times before in these pages, if I was ever to give this up, I’d at least leave a note explaining why – to me, that’s part of the deal.

I’m not a ‘bucket list’ kind of guy – not that I’m against goal setting as a part of life – but to me, it’s a little sad to wait until the time when you know it’s coming to an end to do something you should have been doing all along – to me, the bucket list is a part of life, maybe with a different name. But then, anyone with a basic understanding of strategic planning would feel the same. Even so, the advent of my retirement brought with it an opportunity to do things that had here-to-fore not been possible – and yes, I made a mental list of those things I’d now be able to do. Is that a bucket list? OK – whatever.

High on my list was an effort to perfect my bread-making skills, although I suspected that no baker would ever feel as if they had ‘perfected’ their skills – but I knew I could get better with experience. I also planned to begin to work my way through my collection of cookbooks, with the intent of using them in the daily preparation of the evening’s meal. Both of those goals have played out successfully, even if I probably cheat most of the time by using the internet to flesh out the details for our meals, rather than taking on the ofttimes laborious task of searching through my own cookbooks for the same. (Yeah, I know Glenda has a great program/service which provides a search index of her own cookbooks – and if that was a free service, I’d use it!)

I also had hundreds of other things I intended to spend time at – lots of travel, for one, but we soon discovered that requires a lot more money than we had available. And then there was all that experimental horticulture stuff I wanted to do, a la Luther Burbank (one of my heroes), and I suppose there is some of that I do engage in – but the science often alludes me. And then there was the nature stuff – the trips to the woods to hike, and gather wild foods, or just to absorb the mystic – or to the beach to do the same. But those 5 and 10 mile hikes on wild woodland trails never did materialize. In fact, few of my assumptions about how I’d use my freed up retirement time actually panned out – it was the accidental and surprise activities that took up most of my time – and chief among those was blogging itself.

I don’t remember including blogging in my initial activity plans, but I did want to do some writing – and I thought I’d like to get paid for doing that! Hey, why not. In my career work I was doing a lot of writing and I sure as hell was getting paid for that – so, why not?

I began making inquiries to the obvious online sources and soon learned that if I were to write for pay, I’d have to adjust my writing style – to a more journalistic form rather than the laid-back discussion style I was using. At one point, one of my potential editors suggested that my writing style was more appropriate for blogging than for formal writing. It was only then that I began investigating what blogging was all about – and it wasn’t long before I started thinking, ‘If this is my comfortable style of writing, than maybe I should be blogging.’

Over the past 4 years, I’ve averaged better than a blog post a week – I think that’s a pretty good rate – but it’s also one that exacts a price. Not that there isn’t a whole lot of satisfaction – yes, there is. There is something about the act of expressing oneself that is cathartic, resulting in feelings of great satisfaction, and even liberation. I think it’s a secondary human need, and perhaps shared universally by all – although perhaps not to the same driving emotional force for everyone – especially at those times when the downside begins to play out.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here – every fellow blogger knows exactly what I’m saying – and I suspect that almost all readers of this post will also be bloggers themselves. Still, this is essentially the emotion that has been working at me for the better part of the last year, and I cannot let the opportunity pass without giving voice to it – and for just the reasons I have expressed above.

There is a rule of life that came late to me – essentially, that the degree of satisfaction we receive from any endeavor is roughly equal to the amount of physical and emotional investment we are willing to put into it. Simple enough – and I’m sure most of us would readily agree. But I think this simple rule may be the essence of maturity – and no one ever said I matured early. And it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about one’s career, or that same person’s leisure time activities – the rule still applies. And it surely applies to blogging!

As I look back on my early blogging days, I can see that I tripped over this rule time and time again. I overemphasized the joy of expressing myself and discounted my contingent responsibilities. Sooner or later, it dawns on you as a blogger that you owe something to your potential reader – even if you don’t have, or ever will have, any potential readers! Yeah, the early days of a blog are tough – you pour yourself into every post, and you have absolutely no idea if anyone is even seeing it. Yeah, WordPress is good at telling you how many ‘hits’ your post has had, but you still don’t know if those were intentional or just accidental drive-by’s and spammers. And then comes the day when you get your first comment (I mean of course, your first comment from a non-relation!), and your education into what readers are looking for really begins.

But even now, after almost 5 years of steady blogging, I’m sure my brand of food-blogging is only attractive to a very small, distinct audience of readers – and I think most of those ‘regulars’ keep reappearing in the Comments section because they’ve become friends – and this is one of the by-products of blogging that I didn’t consider when starting. But it is one of the elements of blogging that keep you going – it keeps you invested and rewarded too. And it is this ‘friendship’ part that gives me pause when I begin to consider giving up blogging – but then I realize that almost every one of my blogging ‘friends’ are themselves a blogger, and our contacts will stay alive through their own posts and comment discussions.

So, what is it that I won’t miss about blogging? Not a hard question – more than anything, I won’t miss the photos. Have I ever told you how I hated having to take pics of the stuff in my posts? I really did. Not so much the bread posts – ’cause you can take a bread shot anytime, unless you too quickly eat it! But the shots of dinner always gave me trouble – what I discovered was that you could either get some good dinner shots, or you could enjoy a hot meal – not both! And those shots of dinner are easily the most difficult of all food photos to take – and some of my blogging friends were taking shots with cell phones that made my stuff look lame. I tried, but I just never caught on to the photo part of blogging.

Have you noticed yet that there are no pics on this post? A new first for me – and a belated celebration of sorts – humor me.

I won’t miss having to worry about not having an idea for the next post. Every blogger knows this is not because you don’t have a list of ready topics for your next post – we all have one. But food bloggers don’t do posts from lists, they do posts from inspiration – and once your inspiration wanes, you need to be looking for a new muse.

I also won’t miss having to try to rescue a poorly written post – every writer knows the feeling – and it’s always the stuff which was so hard to get out the first time – and when it’s done, you let it sit for awhile, and then you read it again – and you know. It’s just not good writing. Can it be redone? Often, the only reason why we think it can is because it was so damn hard to get done the first time! If our writing head is on straight, we know the right thing to do is to simply toss it, and start all over again – or go do something else while we wait for the next influx of inspiration. Nope, I won’t be missing that.

And for those many times when I couldn’t bring myself to listen to my own inner voice of common sense, and I put out a post that never should have been made public, please dear reader, forgive.

There isn’t much more I can add – except to say a heartfelt Thank You to all my blogging friends who so faithfully tagged along week after week, and most importantly, engaged in a follow-along discussion – often when one was not even worthy. I look forward to keeping in touch via your own continuing efforts.

Now, another one of my lists awaits the newly freed up time I am creating; my list of books I’ve not yet read – I used to have such a reading list, and I really enjoyed pecking away at it. But when blogging came along, I just didn’t have the time to invest in continuing my reading list. So, I’m eager to restart that effort. I guess you could say that’s my bucket list – or as close to one as I’m going to get.

Now dear reader, stay well, try to live a simple life, and work hard at being happy. And thanks for being a part of my world.
Doc

 

About drfugawe

I'm a guy with enough time to do as I please, and that my resources allow. The problem(s) are: I have 100s of interests; I have a short attention span; I have instant expectations; I'm lazy; and I'm broke. But I'm OK with all that, 'cause otherwise I'd be so busy, I'd be dead in a year.
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18 Responses to Thank You, Dear Readers

  1. Glenda says:

    Hiya Doc So you have pulled the plug…. blogging does take a lot of time and, as you say, it is at the expense of other hobbies. I often wonder whether it is worth it. For me though, it is the photography that is the fun bit, the writing is the add on bit that I don’t really like. I am no great shakes at writing.

    I hope you consider me a friend, I sure do think of you that way. As you know, I used to read your posts at work long before I started blogging. I twigged to your politics, like minds as they say ….
    I am off on a six week holiday to Dubai, Lebanon (all going well with the Syrian crisis) and Portugal. I hope we keep in touch when I get back, I will be disappointed if we don’t. All the best to you and Sandee. Lots and lots of love, Glenda

    • drfugawe says:

      Oh my dear, you are the best of blogging friends – I have enjoyed our discussions – and those times when we communicated without having to say anything – thanks for all of that. And we hope you thoroughly enjoy your adventures in a part of the world of which we know nothing (except the negative news!) – can’t wait to hear the reports.

  2. Misky says:

    Enjoy your books, Doc, and keep yourself well and happy.

  3. roodonfood says:

    I’ve enjoyed your blog. Best of luck on your future plans. Cheers!

  4. bidness44 says:

    Will miss your posts…but totally understand! Have fun going forward!!

    PS: Will we still be able to come and view the past posts, or will that go away sometime soon? Just a’wonderin’! :-)

    • drfugawe says:

      Thanks for the good vibes! No, I have no plans to shut down the site, but I have no idea how WordPress handles an inactive blog (It is their blog, since I’ve never paid a penny on it!). I suspect they won’t leave it up forever.

      Be well my friend.

  5. Pingback: Farewell and Bon Voyage | Passion Fruit Garden

  6. Joanna says:

    I understand and respect and think you are great for giving such a good and moving explanation of your blogging rationale and where you are going in life right now. Your bloggly companionship has been a wonderful thing and I have enjoyed all your posts over the years and all good things come to an end as they say. I have a list of books too and a pile unread and am all too aware that that part of my life is neglected. Enjoy what is to come and have a warm and happy summer! Lots of love to you and Sandee xx Joanna

    • drfugawe says:

      Our blogging friendship has been the best kind, hasn’t it! I’ve often felt you were writing just to me, but I’m sure that’s due to your style rather than intent – however, it’s a damn good style. I thank you, Jo, for the many times that you’ve chosen to ‘push’ the discussion well beyond the essence of the post itself – I think that’s the most meaningful part of blogging, and a part all too many bloggers ignore.

      Thanks for being a great blogging partner, Jo – and of course you know that I shall always be there in the shadows for as long as you choose to keep up your wonderful writing (and pictures!), I’ve really enjoyed it all.
      doc

  7. Take care, Doc. All the very best to you and Sandee! Keep in touch! :) xx

    • drfugawe says:

      Celia,
      A very special thank you for the many discussions we’ve had over the years! Many blog authors miss that part, but I congratulate you for doing a super job of responding to each and every commenter, even when your post was over-whelmed with comments. I’ve always enjoyed that, even when we couldn’t find agreement – often that’s when we learn the most.

      Now, keep up your good work as a successful Mom – I’m sure the family Mom, the chicken Mom, and the garden Mom will do her best to meet the needs of all.

      Thanks Celia

  8. Doc, I know I’m late to this party, but I was just going back and looking at my blog posts and comments from my first year, 2010, and you were one of the commenters. You commented on my spoon rolls post.

    I read this post with care because all blogs eventually come to an end. I’m not close yet, but I can’t quite believe I’ve been at this for 4 years and 3 months now! I post just once a week, knowing before I even started that to do more than that was something I couldn’t continue for very long.

    Tell us how about your first year of NOT blogging went. Was there a withdrawal period? Have you missed it at all? I’d like to know what to expect when the time comes! I imagine, like you, I’ll get more reading done!

    If you’re still into bread, do visit my blog. I’m a breadaholic and keep making and posting bread! And I do the occasional giveaway; this week it’s a set of four Le Creuset enameled cast iron mini cocottes, the cutest things! (Of course, I don’t make bread in those; I use the 5.5-quart “maxi” for that!)

    I’m so glad you left the site up AND posted such a lovely farewell post rather than just dropping out. May you continue to enjoy your retirement!

    • drfugawe says:

      Jean, Please forgive me for my tardy reply – I’m sure I intended to immediately answer your posting, but it’s so easy to put it off for a day or so – you know… Sincere congrats on your blogging longevity – I remember seeing somewhere that the average age of a blog is something like 3 mos – I’m envious.

      As to whether I met my goals/plans for my blog afterlife, no, I’ve not done well, at least as regards the ‘reading’ – I did well at the start, but soon found that except for the doldrums of the Oregon winter, there was always something more exciting or demanding, to do instead – so reading soon took a backseat once again – Oh well.

      And I’ve also not done well on keeping contact with my old blogging cohorts – and that’s sort of a mystery since I often miss the opportunity to share thoughts with others – another of my failings in a life filled with them I’m afraid. But I have kept up my baking activities, even if at a slower pace (now we eat less bread but throw away less too) – I’m doing more ‘bread trials’, involving long slow pre-ferments with a goal of finding a standard loaf that will become my go-to bread – but I fear that the trials are the heart of the fun, and may never end!

      But I will promise to make my presence known on your site in a more irregular manner from this date – and thank you for your prompting.

      Be well Jean – talk to you soon.
      doc

  9. Bree says:

    Just wanted to stop by and say that I really enjoy reading your blogs. I started reading them last summer around Chanterelle season. Little did I know that I would enjoy all the things you wrote about. Very fascinating.

    Keep up the awesomeness.
    You are an inspiration to how I want to live. :D

    -Bree
    (Portland, OR)

    • drfugawe says:

      Bree, Many thanks for your kind words – you remind me that the chant season is upon us; only the return of the rain keeps us from our return to the forest – and this year, I shall be using my new canoe (new at least to me) to gather up some dungeness as well – I’m looking forward to creating some new dishes joining those two delicacies!

      Luv your city – when we tire of the fog and wind down here, we venture forth for another visit to our fav food city, Portland – perhaps you could share one of two of your favorite restaurants for our next adventure – yes?

      Thanks again Bree,
      doc

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