Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blog Block

Entry for 16 September 2008:

I’ve found writing my blog increasingly difficult over the past few months. This blog started small, really at the request of my kids, who said to me two years ago, as we were leaving Toledo to move to Scotland, “Dad, you’ve got to start a blog, so we can keep up with what you and mom and doing!” So I started writing, for them, about our daily adventures fitting into our new life in Scotland, including our practice of Saturday Adventures. (To this day, my mom is my most faithful reader. Hi, Mom!)

Then, because a large part of the adventure and the strangeness was my work, I began to write out that as well. Somehow, word got out to my colleagues that I was keeping a blog (probably I told them), so some of them started reading the blog also. At some point, I told my students about the blog, so some of them started following it also, especially the entries about my adventures teaching, which were many and various. From time to time, a stranger, or an anonymous acquaintance posts a comment, when a search leads them to some relevant entry of mine. (Early on, I had to start moderating comments to prevent spammers form posting ads or garbage.) Finally, I began writing about the politics of Person-Centred/Experiential therapy in Scotland and the UK, and an even larger readership emerged.

Over time, however, with the accumulating, diverse audience and various things that came up, it has become increasingly complicated to write the blog. When I started to see clients, a year ago, a big portion of my creative energy got steered back to my client work, where I have, among other things, been developing ideas about working with social anxiety and couples work. Of course, it’s really difficult to write safe blogs about clinical work while protecting clients’ confidentiality, and it’s also possible one of my clients will read an entry about themselves or another client. So that had to go underground. Furthermore, not everyone has been happy about what I have written in the blog, and a couple of people have complained about what they read there. Blogs are supposed to be an informal, personal and spontaneous communication medium, but it’s so new that the social norms and etiquette are still emerging. The result was that some toes got stepped on, and more and more things haven’t felt safe to write about. With this, the blog has become less and less fun to do, because I have had to be more and more careful what I say. Instead of a creative outlet, I’ve felt squelched and have found it more and more difficult to write. One result is the safe little pieces about my publications, for example.

Hence, my relative silence over the past month, while various significant things have gone unmentioned: During our 4-week visit to the US, my mom fell and broke her foot while we were visiting her in Murray Creek. I flew to Boston for the Humanistic Psychology conference and American Psychological Association conference, where I received the Carl Rogers Award for Contributions to Humanistic Psychology and had a lovely, memorable visit with my famous, fun cousin Courtenay Harding. We moved Kenneth back to his dorm and said goodbye to Brendan and Mayumi as they prepared to leave Cleveland and move to Seattle, Washington. And we brought Diane’s mom, Gladys back to Glasgow with us for a two-week visit. Things started off intensely at work, which huge piles of work waiting for me, papers to grade, exam board, clients, students, ever-mounting pile of email, job interviews, courses starting in new configurations, various crises etc etc.

Part of the issue is that I’ve been run too ragged to write about it, but it is more than that: it wasn’t fun, and I didn’t have any long, unstructured trips during which to just sit and see what comes. I miss that. It's probably inevitable, but it does feel a bit like my running: If I'm too busy to carry on with it, then it means that my life is too busy and something needs to give, period!

1 comment:

Marie said...

Wow! Congratulations on the award!! I hope your Mom is doing well and that Brendan and Mayumi are getting happily settled in Seattle.