Friday, July 17, 2009

To blog or not to blog: taking the plunge

“Blog” is such a funny word. Perhaps it’s the rhyme with “frog” and “bog” that makes me think of something fat and green, with bulgy eyes. Blog, as a verb, should mean to paddle forward at a slow pace, as though through yellow muck.

But of course that’s not at all how we use the word today (although parts of the image may match). And here I am, with my own blogspot—a sort of literary lily pad, ready to take the plunge.

To blog or not to blog—that has been the question for several years now. I’ve been reluctant. A writer all my life, I remember my first poem, at seven-years-old. I was sitting on the porch with a tablet and a pencil, copying my dad, doing what he spent so many hours doing, seeing if I could do it too. Writing.

Actually I was playing with words, enjoying their sounds, mixing and matching them, and then putting them down on paper. The result was a poem in which I go around murdering people in rhythm and rhyme. In spite of its strange content, it was not a morbid poem and did not frighten my parents, who praised my efforts. (The content came from the fact that the only word I could find to rhyme with my last name, Forsythe, was knife—and the poem ran off on its own volition, clutching that dangerous knife and dragging me along with it. At that time in my creative development, form obviously dominated meaning.)

That was the last murder poem I ever wrote, but it was certainly not the last poem. My adventure as a writer had begun and was greatly encouraged the following year by Mrs. King, my third grade teacher. The story has continued down through the years, taking me into a world of cross-cultural stories, publication, research and the privilege of encouraging writers in other countries. I’m now a young woman in her early 60s, still excited to be alive, still learning new stuff. And still writing it all down.

So—why blog? I’m a little nervous about sending this out into the void. I have a lot of questions about the value of blogging and about my own motivations. How is this to be like my personal journal (definitely not for publication) and how like a collection of articles? Can I consistently have something of substance to say, and can I consistently say it well? I don’t know.

The discipline required to do this and to do it well is one drawing reason. I need to grow in discipline. But I want to see that discipline as a channel for grace—not another burden to add to the pack.

Another reason to blog is the chance of finding conversation partners, people with the same passions and interests (or not), who will comment, encourage, challenge—in short, talk with me.

Another reason is the chance this gives us to keep in touch with family and friends when we are traveling and teaching in other countries. The “we” here is important, and I’m hoping both Hal and I will use this blogspot. I will probably write more frequently, but I love it when Hal writes.

Anyway, here goes….from the lily pad, into the lake. Plop.


  1. Go for it! I can hardly wait for your next installment. Your "voice" is incredible.


  2. "Blithe' would be as close? Anyway, rhyming works better in French, was never a suitable convention for English verse, although it's great when it works.

    Wood's also got "lithe, scythe, Smythe, tithe, withe & writhe" if you want to give it another try!

  3. Thanks, Forest. At seven-years-old those words were not yet in my memory-bank, but now I see new possibilities. One of the best things about growing up--whatever age you happen to be--is learning the words.

  4. My father had the rhyming dictionary around the place all along. So I could cheat when I wrote parodies (I was older than 7, I'm not so sure how much later.)

    I've been reading more here... I'm married to my best friend, too, though we'd both left inappropriate spice some years before we met.

    I've learned a lot from Jesus (and I'm sorry that reading what he said has so gone out of fashion, because we need that more than ever) but we'd probably argue if we met. His Old Man ain't so bad; at least has so far turned out much as Jesus said!

  5. hola Nancy! soy Escoses (Scottish) pero pase muchos anos en Espana y me pregunta si quieres
    communicar con migo en Espanol? A mi tambien me gusta mucho jugar con palabras, y verdad, que me gusta mucho mas el Espanol que el
    Frances (que es la lengua de mi casa en
    Francia). Entre muchas otras cosas, puede
    que tu, como yo, tienes experiencia en
    Quaker Meeting bilingue - o, trilingue! - me
    gustaria mucho compartir experiencias sobre
    esto y demas topicos,con amistad, Ali Reid
    (please excuse the lack of accents on my
    'typing' - I'm too lazy!)

  6. Welcome to the blogosphere, Nancy! As Publishers of Truth, many Friends before us shared their writings in the technology of the day.

    Y, como Ali escribió, si quieres escribir en español, es bueno conmigo.

    mil gracias - Esta es una frase tan bella.

  7. Scots y Raye,
    Que lindo poder charlar un poco en español. Aquí en Oregon, participo en una nueva congregación de inmigrantes, parte de la Junta Anual del Noroeste. La próxima semana mi esposo y yo viajamos a Costa Rica para unas clases en San José. Después vamos a Bolivia y al Perú para pasar tiempo con los Amigos allí. Somos una familia grande.

    Gracias por escribir.