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Strange Change

Strange Change

Nov 15, 2022

So a little while ago when I said that I was shutting down my blog for the foreseeable future, what I did not foresee was the generosity of my supporters here. I really thought everybody would be saying "Hey, he ain't writing, so I ain't contributing" — but instead I received unexpected grace. What I got was support for what I've done in the past, hope for what I might do in the future, and patience with me in the present. It has been a really special gift. I am so grateful to y'all.

Your unexpected support led to an unexpected result: I started blogging again, when I least expected to do so. And I know why I started blogging again: because I knew I didn't have to. Your generosity led to my freedom. (Funny how that works. Almost as though grace has that power whether extended by humans or by God.)

Learning to exercise that freedom is hard for me. When I do anything, I fall under the spell of obligation and duty — I think I have to do it consistently, even unfailingly, and when that appears impossible, I swing to the other extreme and shut down. I am thus prone to what Pascal called "the error of Stoicism": thinking that you can do always what you can only do sometimes. I also forget Chesterton's great maxim, "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly."

I wrote a very long post today about how I learned to live without a plan, without a strategy, for my career, and while I have indeed learned that, it runs strongly against my grain. (Warning: that post is about several other things as well.) My family tease me constantly about my obsessive orderliness, my need to know exactly what the drill is in any given circumstance, my panic at the thought of navigating by dead reckoning. That God would make me the poster child for not-having-a-plan — over the course of a writerly career anyway — is a good indication of the divine sense of humor.

So here's what I'm hoping for in the coming weeks and months: inconsistency. Yep, that's my goal. I want to write a lot one week and not at all the next. I want to go a long time without posting any photos to my micro.blog and then one day post about a dozen. I want to have no idea what's coming up. I want to surprise my readers and, even more, surprise myself. So off I go to put this whole new system in a spreadsheet!


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