The last few days have been rainy. There is a whole different set of colors in the environment. At night it gets quite cold here in Jerusalem. That too brings a different mood to the environment. I have just re-commissioned the heaters. And last night there was a short electrical failure, that plunged our neighborhood, and the next one over, into darkness. We sat by the light of candles for a while. It brought back memories of years past. But it also brought a different atmosphere into the house. I started thinking about how to share the feelings and the look of the change of seasons on the blog, and found myself thinking about one of my difficulties in blogging.
As I learned to appreciate blogging; both reading the blogs of others, and writing my own; I began to see the blog as a creative art form. Of course, it can be a lot of other things too. I learn about new cameras and photographic tools from blogs, and am a regular reader of a blog that discusses philosophical questions related to religion, and there are some interesting blogs that feature political commentary. There are art blogs, where works of art are presented without much narrative, and there are personal blogs which describe feelings and personal experiences that are very much like a private journal. Each according to his ability, and from each according to his interest. There are those who employ themselves in order to earn a living of sorts… and there are artists who work for the sake of art. There are originators, and there are imitators. And some write for a very few, and some write for many.
It occurred to me that the blogs I liked most were those that presented a personal journey; a type of traveling diary… and on numerous occasions, I tried this effect myself, relating my adventures at the very time I was going through them. There was this sense of immediacy, all the greater because of the other aspect of blogging that I admire so much, which is the ability to write to the blog writer in response, whether by email or by comments on most blogs. I remembered reading the journal of John Muir many years ago, when I was a young man, as I hiked through the high mountains of the Sierra Nevada. Were I to write such a journal today myself, I would be able to find comments the next day on my blog and in my inbox, from the people who were reading and sharing my adventure. Of course, it was not only the lack of technology that restrained me from writing to John Muir. He was already long dead when I read his journal as I followed his footsteps.
Still, there is another problem. And that is a problem that involves the nature of how I relate to art. I could take snapshots along the way, and present them as illustrations along with the writing. I could tell of what is happening as I travel, and let my writing be a sort of reportage of my personal experience. But I have found that my own way of producing art is the way of fermentation. Like with the bread that has to wait and rise, and be pounded back and rise again with the activities of the yeast, or like the wine which attracts the yeast and undergoes an internal change in quality until it turns from the innocence of freshly harvested grapes to the sophistication of something else… so my ideas have to sit in my head for a while until they learn from all the experiences that I’ve gone through, and are tempered by my thoughts and meditation, and slowly evolve. And the images too, no matter how they’re seen, and whether they are sketched, or captured by way of the camera, are not really ‘ready’ in my mind until I’ve lived with them for a while, and worked with them, and only then do they represent me in the way that art becomes a very personal representation of the encounter between the world and the artist.
And so, even if I’m able to create the illusion of an instantaneous production on the web page, I know in my heart that it is either, off the cuff… a snapshot or a letter to a friend, or a work of art. And if it is art, it is not from today. It can happen on those rare moments of grace. But it can’t be counted upon. That could only happen if I were to bring forth on my blog, works that I had completed in the past. That too would be worth while, but it would not be immediate. And so, today, you will just have to trust me that I am totally immersed in the spirit of the new winter, that has risen around me, and is discovering its power… that knows it can change and shake the world, like a young man or woman who has just joined the community of men and wants to change everything. Ah the winter, how she roars.