Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Friday, December 9, 2016


Writing is about the reader. Blogging is about the blogger.

The following is not writing, it is a self-indulgent piece of blogging. As such, I advise you against wasting your time reading it.

Helen said yesterday, “But I thought you had quit writing, but there is still stuff appearing in CIW.” Well, yes, I said that, because it is true. There is a difference between writing and blogging.

When I started CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter [1], I thought of it as an old-fashioned newspaper column, because I grew up in the days of newspapers. Editors who wrote columns were considered real writers, even those, perhaps especially those, of small town papers who wrote whimsical columns about small town life. Newspaper editors/columnists like William Allen White of the Emporia, Kansas Gazette, were also crusaders for justice. White almost single-handedly wrote the KKK out of Kansas. I wanted to do that kind of writing.

Writers have to think about readers. In CIW, I could not just toss out any piece of personal confetti, as bloggers do, and call it writing. I had to think, find the right angle that might open up faith to a better light, use the best words to communicate a particular idea, and not just whatever came into my mind. I had to proof-read, for heaven’s sake!

I realized that my writing had grown irrelevant. There was no longer a reason to do it. I’m not the only old person writing for other old people, and others write so much better about age and faith than I can. People should use their time reading those others, not me.

Also, there is pressure in writing. If you are arrogant enough to call yourself a writer, you have to produce something worthwhile for others to read. I had enough pressure from other sources. Blogging has no pressure. If you think of something to put into your blog, you do it. If you don’t think of anything worthwhile, you put something down anyway. The only pressure is on the poor reader.

Besides, writing is no longer the way communication takes place. It’s Twitter and podcasts and YouTube and things I don’t even know the names of. [And on any of those, they don’t care if you end a sentence with a preposition, the way I just did.] Words on a line is not “dope” at all. [2]

And the poems, so-called. Good grief! No one should have to read one of my poems, not if Billy Collins or William Stafford or Marianne Moore is available. But I write a “poem” each morning as a discipline/devotional. I don’t think about which words to use or where to break lines; I just jot. But every once in a while, one of those jottings yearns to get onto the net. It’s not fair to call that writing.

However, I cannot think without putting it into words on a line, and I’m still able to think once in a while, and since CIW was still available online, I started putting those words down here, without trying to find the best words or proof-reading. Nothing that might be worthwhile to anyone else, just indulging myself. I was blogging!

This blogging is not worthy of the title CHRIST IN WINTER, but CIW is already in place, so I’m using this outlet. Read at your own peril. Strangely, though, now that I am blogging instead of writing, the stats Google supplies say that there are twice as many readers each day. Who wooda thunk?


1] The sub-title was originally “From a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter” since we lived in Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, following the grandchildren there, where winter is 13 months long each year. When we moved to Bloomington, IN I dropped the “Place of Winter.”

2] I was recently at a “LIDS” store. I couldn’t figure out how to use my new credit card, where you stick it in your ear and say the magic words and the receipt appears on the back of your eyeballs, or in the cloud, or something like that. So I pointed at a bunch of caps that said “DOPE” on them and said, “I’m so dumb I should wear one of those.” “Oh, no,” the young man waiting on me assured me, “DOPE is good.”  Who wooda thunk? Certainly not an old line-writer like me.

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