Sunday, February 08, 2015


Greek: entheos - divinely inspired, possessed by a god
The enthusiasm with which many of us embraced blogging has dwindled with time, as most enthusiasms tend to do. No, I'll rephrase: it's not time which dilutes enthusiasm but one's own inability, or reluctance, or resistance, to maintaining an enthusiasm alive and fresh as it was when you first felt it, for something which lifted you up, moved and challenged your creativity. If boredom or disillusion sneaked in and you allowed them to stay, a chance to go much deeper into that enthousiasmos may well have been lost.

My own blogging enthusiasm, born in 2004, has indeed faded but it is by no means dead. One way the flame can be re-kindled is by the example of some bloggers who consistently, faithfully and skillfully plow their own patch of cyber-land and when a meeting with some of them in real life occasionally happens, it's a significant event. I am very fortunate that blogging has given me the gift of a few lasting friendships, subsequently reinforced by face to face encounters.

So it was that a few days ago I had the great pleasure of meeting Vincent, A Wayfarer's Notes and his wife Karleen. To have the two of them sitting at my table was as easy and natural as if we had known each other for years. When a blog is a reflection of a person's whole self, distilled and offered to the reader in thoughtfully wrought words (with or without pictures) then, if you meet in the real world, the artificiality of most social encounters is eliminated.

I only discovered Vincent's blog fairly recently, led there by some comments he had made elsewhere, and when I began to browse his archive, I was hooked. Something in his approach which particularly resonates with me is summarised in two brief quotes I've pulled out of two  separate posts:

I want to observe what goes on in my life, without tying it down into concepts; to talk about what happens, without naming.

When I sit at my desk trying to tell it how it is, words flee. Only when I look elsewhere, sniff the open air, read the book of Nature, catch the phrase someone utters, aloud or in a book, do I collect clues to define my true state.

During the too-short two hours that Karleen and Vincent spent at my place and through browsing attentively in my blog archive, he collected not only sufficient clues to write an insightful review of La Vie en Rosé but also of 'the true state' of my work in general.

If you haven't yet discovered Vincent's blog,discover it now.

Enthusiasm, enthousiasmus, entheus....welcome back!


Tom said...

Natalie, I endorse everything you say about Vincent's blog; always worth reading.

Tom said...

As a postscript to my earlier comment, I do wonder about this tailing off of enthusiasm for any activity, and what is the cause. Is it something in the activity itself? Is it a question of stamina? Is it a need for constant, if slow, change?

Of course, I still consider myself as something of 'the new kid on the block', having only posted about 95 times. Sometimes I have experienced a decrease in enthusiasm, but that has usually been linked to an inability to find something about which to write, or a need to re-gird-up my flagging energies. Yet, nevertheless, I find myself beginning to feel uncomfortable when I haven't posted for five or six days. Maybe it's a sense of loss that I don't like; I don't know. I certainly agree with your comment about Vincent's blog. Maybe it is really about renewed stimulation.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Tom, loss of enthusiasm...or a subject that I have always been concerned about, no doubt because of my own history of eagerly embraced then abandoned enthusiasms. As far as blogging is concerned, I think that for some it's the lack of - or dwindling of - comments which discourages from continuity. If one gives a lot of thought and care to blog-posts they become one's progeny, created objects, and if there's no feedback, no dialogue or only minimal response, then withdrawing seems the best option. Maybe FaceBook appeals to many, including ex-bloggers, because it's like walking into a cafe where you already know quite a few people and conversations are always going on which you can join (or not) and where your contributions will generally elicit at least a 'Like'. I can't get used to the FaceBook ambiance, I find it distracting. For me, blogging is an exercise in focusing on things that matter to me. The challenge is to focus more, focus better. It's a bonus and a huge boost when others respond, but if nobody does, I'm not going to leave the room. It's my room!

marja-leena said...

Love your title, heh, Natalie! Yes, us long-time bloggers do flag at times. Sometimes it feels like I'm just repeating myself. Now and then I go back to reading some of my early writings and think, why can't I write like that anymore?

Vincent's review is fantastic, so full of insights and understanding. How very fortunate you are to have met him. I will be checking out his blog further.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Marja-Leena, you are one of the bloggers whose continuity and fidelity I admire. What I mean by fidelity is being true to one's self but not in an egocentric way. You very simply present your view (and it is definitely, beautifully visual) of things. It is a particular view, noticing much that is often by-passed, and thus opening our eyes. I don't think you repeat yourself but if you do, what's wrong with repeating something worhwhile?

Vincent said...

Two minor corrections.

1)Karleen (spelling)

2) I can see how your mention of my post of December 2012 arose but your quote comes from another post, in that year called Art is more than Life.

I was writing about a movie (The Soloist) but there is another passage from that post which I think applies equally to your art:

“I’m with Joe [the film’s director]. Art is more than life. It is a mirror to show us what we cannot see unaided. Without reading, without movies, without life surrounding me doing its thing, without writing, I’d have a poorer idea of who I am. Wilful blindness hides awkward facts from us, but art is the mirror, the candid camera.”

Mirror, as in Augustine’s reflections, or Krishnamurti’s “mirror of relationships” . . .

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Vincent, my apologies to Karleen for the mis-spelling! Now corrected over here and will correct at Blaugustine HQ.
I did read your post about The Soloist and must have joined it with another one. There is much of interest to me in that post, including the quote you've chosen, as in so much more in Wayfarer.

Hattie said...

Blogging comes naturally to me. I am a loquacious writer. I also think it's fun to embed tweets, vids, photos, etc. It's a nice medium, I think. I never feel forced to come up with content. Au contraire. My problem is deciding what of the many many things going on in my mind to focus on.
I enjoy all the blogs on my blogroll, such as yours, Natalie, and just wish people would post more often.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hattie, it's precisely the fun factor which I miss and which I felt more strongly in those early blogging days. It was also about discovering the new technology and playing with it, doing things with Photoshop, making videos etc. I want to get back that fun factor. Bravo to you for keeping it alive!

Anonymous said...

Great post Natalie, thank you. Really enjoyed reading the review, Vincent captures the feelings i get when i look at your work so beautifully and it was great browsing through his archive on the Wayfarer too.
Also, reading the comments, I couldn’t agree more, if blogging isn’t fun I don’t think i would keep it up for long, i must keep reminding myself to have fun with it, that’s one thing blogging should be good for!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hi Phil, glad you're discovering Vincent's blog. The best thing about blogging is the unexpected islands which sometimes emerge out of that vast cybernetic ocean and beckon us ashore. Those of us who swim against the current most of the time need those oases to recharge our inner batteries!

Anonymous said...

I like the Tao Te Ching quote at the end of his post - "See the world as yourself.
Have faith in the way things are." I'm not a visual artist but I thought, hang on, isn't that what artists have to do?

I sometimes think blogging is on the wane - but then I look around and find that lots of people whose blogs I read are still hard at it, churning out the posts!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hi Dominic , somehow your comment appeared in triplicate, which is nice, but I think I've deleted the extra two.

Anyway, thanks, and I agree with you, that's what artists have to do. And yes, some of us are still marching, or limping, or dancingin the bloggers army.

Roderick Robinson said...

Don't fancy being possessed by any of the gods I'm familiar with - whatever the location, there's no more wretchedly whimsical, torturing, under-employed set of layabouts. Think of what they did to Troy. And why did Wotan lurch from crisis to crisis when he carried a stick (the name escapes me but it doesn't matter) which is said to be all-powerful, capable of resolving any problem? And wasn't the ring of fire a terrific bit of managerial thinking?

So you're "fading" but presumably this doesn't mean the creative well-springs are running dry. Blogging is writing and you've got the plastic arts to fall back on. Please tell me when you think I'm fading because all I'll have left is my belly-button. Mind you, I reserve the right to ignore your kind thoughts.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

In cinematic terms fading has options: fade in or fade out. I choose fading in and will restore my blogging enthusiasm without a push from mythological creatures, even if they are responsible for some of our vocabulary.

Glad to see you back here, Robbie! Your absence (and presence) is always recorded in the Big Book of Abstaining and Participating Commenters which all of us (admitted or not) keep in our heads, next to our computers.