Friday, January 6, 2017

The New "And Sometimes Tea"

Welcome to the new And Sometimes Tea blog!

Why a new blog, you might ask?

To be honest, I've been planning this for some time, as those who have faithfully continued to follow the old blog know. I was actually intending to move to a different platform altogether, and have been working on a whole new blog at a different site. But the frustrations mounted, as I grappled with difficult coding and unnecessarily complex layouts and the site's charming tendency to reset to defaults just as I got things looking sort of-almost-the way I wanted them to.

Last night I'd finally had enough, and deleted the whole thing. I almost gave up on the idea of a new blog; blogs are practically dead anyway, so what did it matter? Then in the way that only blindingly obvious ideas can, it hit me: I could just create a new version of And Sometimes Tea right here at Blogger, which for all of its occasional frustrations has still tended to be more or less predictable and not too hard for a non-tech person like myself to use.

But to get back to the question: why a new blog at all? Why not just keep sporadically posting at the old And Sometimes Tea on the occasions when a bit of online journaling felt like a good idea?

The truth is that so much has changed since I started blogging ten years ago. (Yes, I started blogging in January of 2007!) And while ten years' worth of archived posts make a sort of neat diary of my past decade, I felt like it was time to move on, to start with a clean slate, so to speak. Most of us aren't exactly the person we were ten years ago, and change can be a good thing.

Ten years ago, for instance, I was still actively homeschooling children who were still in grade school, and a fair number of my early posts were homeschooling related ones. Now I have finished homeschooling all three daughters through high school, my girls are all in college, and homeschooling itself has changed a good deal. I'm not saying I'll never write about homeschooling anymore, but these days any posts along those lines would be more likely to be encouragement and support directed at you brave people still teaching young ones at home instead of any actual advice.

Ten years ago I was also a lot more politically-minded. I'm still quite issue-minded, but I no longer think that political parties and leaders can or will or even want to provide real solutions. Ten years ago, for instance, I was writing that gay marriage would be legalized (to the detriment of the natural family and religious freedom) and that the push to eradicate heteronormativity would be next. All of that came true, but I was naive ago back then to think that at least one political party sort of wanted to stop it.

Ten years ago I was an aspiring writer, a dabbler in children's fiction that I hoped to publish one day. Last year I published my sixth children's book, and if all goes well 2017 will see at least three more books published (and three new ones written). Which means I may start writing more about writing, and especially about writing fiction, than I used to.

Of course, some things haven't changed. I am still a Catholic who is interested in writing and talking about the Church, both in her spiritual and mystical reality (though I'm not really qualified to delve too deeply into theological matters) and in the everyday nitty-gritty Catholic life, the good, the bad, and the felt banners. I am also still a political conservative for the most part, though I think it's sort of important to figure out what we are conserving and to avoid conflating godless and unbridled capitalism of the stock-market kind with anything that is actually conservative. And even though my daughters are wonderful and amazing adults now, and are rapidly reaching the ages where they will begin their own independent adventures, I will always be a mom, and always concerned about what our society and culture is doing to our children generally.

Is it worth it to start a new blog when most blogs and blogging have quietly disappeared? Way back when I started my first blog, my whole goal was to have a place to write, a way to put down in words those random thoughts and ideas that drift into my mind. I figured that family members might check in occasionally, that real-life friends might read a post or two--but I didn't have any delusions of grandeur. The fact that people I didn't know at all were reading my posts was an honor, and some of you became friends along the way, which was even more amazing. Yet even if the only person who reads this blog is me, it's still worth writing here just to have a dedicated place to put those random thoughts and ideas; otherwise, when I'm in "fiction-writing mode," I get distracted by wondering just how distributism would work in a late-stage technological economy, or whether the U.S. Military is going to force Muslim chaplains to officiate at gay weddings, or similar musings. Better to write it all down and move on than get stuck in Mason Cooley's " of repetitions."

The one thing I am changing to go along with the times is this: I'm not enabling comments. Honestly, most people don't comment on little blogs like this one anymore; if I actually write anything worth talking about, people seem to share the post on Facebook or other social media and talk about it there. And I don't really have time (who does?) to wade through "comments" that are really thinly-disguised spam ads for psychic robotic vacuum cleaners (which would actually be awesome, come to think of it).

Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll check back in!