Five Years

I started writing this blog five years ago just before Easter week 2011.  That year Easter day was very late, close to the latest it can be.  Interestingly, this year Easter is close to the earliest it can be.  In between I’ve been writing, building things in my shop, aging and generally living life.

Writing has been a journey of discovery.  I started this blog with Easter week and the book, The Last Week by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan. The story of Jesus during Easter week has always been a strong interest of mine and more than any story from the Bible informs my faith and most important for me how it guides the way I behave and treat others.

Writing down these thoughts has always helped me better understand both the teachings and myself.  At first, exploring, researching and writing a few things here and there was helpful and got the writing wheels in my head moving.  Looking back, I wasn’t very consistent about writing and it was that lack of writing discipline that often frustrated me.

Often it’s adversity that becomes the catalyst for change.  In my case, just six months after I started writing I received the diagnosis of prostate cancer.  During the months of biopsies, treatment decision and starting treatments something changed in my writing brain.  I found the need to write about what was happening and for several months all I blogged about was how cancer was affecting my life.

As the treatments passed and cancer shifted my reality into new normals, so did my writing.  Being touched by something potentially life changing and life ending, changes a person.  For me it reminded me of my life long interest and desire to write and gave me the will to set about it in a disciplined way.  Since the radiation treatments have ended, I’ve done my best to maintain a weekly writing and blog posting schedule.

Something else interesting happened along the way.  Poetry.

I’ll have to admit that in younger years I didn’t have much of a taste for it and wrote very little poetry.  However, I do recall voices of teachers and others who said that some of my writing has a “lyrical quality.”  I guess some of it does.

One day a couple of years ago I sat down to write an essay.  Just a simple weekly writing for this blog and couldn’t do it.  Instead of the prose I normally wrote my brain just kept up a rhythm of words and what came out through my fingers was a poem.  Then another.

Then I decided that I needed to somehow write about my cancer experience.  It just didn’t work as prose and instead I ended up with a collection of poems.

I am in the final stages of editing that book of poetry on cancer.  I am down to just three poems to rewrite and then I’ll lay it down and move on to my next writing task.  The writing has taught me much about myself, how I write and importantly how I react to criticism.  (Yes, there is a whole month worth of blog posts on that last sentence  more on that another day.)

And still I write, create.  But from time to time we need pause and look back to see how far we’ve come before we gather our strength and move forward.  Today is one of those times when I looked at my blog stats and saw that this will be my 399th post and 948 followers will be notified that I’ve posted.  I’d like to think that means I’ve been somewhere.

It’s always difficult to say where I’ll be going with this blog and my writing.  I will get my poetry book into print and I’d like to write a novel.  Perhaps I’ll do more with this blog or perhaps I’ll do less so I can focus my creative energies elsewhere.  The journey’s end is always unclear until we’ve traveled the road.

All I know for sure is that there is life to live and words to write.

Till next time,
Andrew

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I work in the high tech world doing software release engineering Then I got prostate cancer Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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50 Responses to Five Years

  1. You really wrote an inspiring piece for both new and seasoned bloggers. Thank you Andrew. 🐞

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  2. Happy blogiversary, Andrew. That’s an impressive milestone. Hugs.

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  3. Hi Andrew. I just keep writing keeps me sane I love it as well! Thank you for liking my poem Sinkhole! Peace and Best Wishes. The Foureyed Poet.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glynis Jolly says:

    I’m overdue for a pause and reflection of my blog scribble. I can’t even remember what season I started this blog, let along the year or week.

    I haven’t written poetry since high school. Although I like free verse, the thought of writing it still doesn’t appeal to me. It’s amazing that your need for poetry as a form during your battle with cancer helped you express your experience.

    I like reading your essays, Andrew.

    Happy 5th! 😀

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  5. nimi naren says:

    Great milestone Andrew. Best wishes

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  6. Congratulations Andrew.

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  7. floridaborne says:

    I know the sentiment quite well. There are critics who don’t remember that poetry has morphed over the past few centuries and each person’s style is distinctly his/her own.

    Thank you for the great advice on how to get past writer’s block. I’ll be including a link to your blog when I take your advice. 🙂

    Happy blogaversary. May you always have words in your head, fingers to type them, and a coherent mind to connect the 2 together.

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  8. Baydreamer says:

    Congratulations on five years of blogging, and I hope the cancer is gone now, too. That’s a horrible way to begin the writing process, but we all have our own “beginnings” and some of them aren’t as happy. I wish you all the best in any writing adventure you choose from here on out!

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  9. mitchteemley says:

    Sorry you had to be inspired in that way, Andrew, but glad you were inspired, nevertheless! You’ve probably said elsewhere, but I trust you’re in remission?

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    • Inspiration comes from many places. Sometimes from places we don’t want. Yes, you may use the word remission as there is no sign the cancer is coming back.

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  10. Pingback: Another Return | K.J.Ottinger

  11. Congrats on reaching 5 years! You should celebrate.

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  12. PiedType says:

    Cancer certainly focuses your thinking, doesn’t it? All I did was spew more verbiage into a second blog. You actually turned to poetry. Congratulations, and here’s to another 5, or 20, or more years!

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  13. That was fascinating. You’re over five years past the cancer–did I calculate that right? So feeling pretty safe? I’m so glad that worked out for you. That sort of experience does change everything–I agree with that. Interesting that poetry popped into your mind’s radar. There’s so much about the brain we don’t understand. I think you’ll find a ready audience for your book. I personally know more than a handful of people struggling to understand ‘Why me?’

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    • Treatments end four years ago, and have every reason to expect that I’ll make five and beyond without difficulty. Why poetry is an interesting question. Part of it is that poetry is condensed language and cancer narrows your mind’s focus to now. Poetry has an immediacy that other writing forms don’t. Also, I think I had a bit of poetic in me before and this experience brought that to the surface.

      I hope that my little book will find people who need it.

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  14. Congrats Andrew. So many accomplishments. You have a gift with words, and I look forward to each time I am notified of your next post. 400, here we come!

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  15. Well said. As a fellow cancer survivor, I totally understand how life’s perspective changes. I wish you well with your poetry book and also that you will be blessed with much more “life to live and words to write.”

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  16. Congratulations, Andrew. I’m glad you found a silver lining in your cancer and that your treatments are over. Good lick with your poetry book.

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  17. One accomplishment after another.
    Congratulations on all of them!

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  18. restlessjo says:

    Yes to both of those, Andrew- the life to live and the words to share it with others. Congratulations on 5 years. 🙂 Criticism- now that’s where I start to have problems 🙂 🙂 Have a great week!

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  19. Annika Perry says:

    You’ve been on quite a journey these past five years, Andrew – discovering your poetry as a result of cancer, writing a book (!!😀😀), blogging. Congratulations! Wishing you well and looking forward to your posts for the next five years! (Ps. I didn’t even know blogging existed five years ago!!)

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  20. jfwknifton says:

    You’re doing a good job! Personally, I enjoy the woodworking because it is way beyond my skills and really interesting. I look forward to the next 399 posts!

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  21. How often do we view life as a myriad of choices, and turnings, and roads to travel? Turns out there is only one road and one journey. I wish your book the greatest success, and be assured there are many miles to go…

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  22. jennypellett says:

    A heartfelt post. Congratulations for five blogging years, that’s amazing! And good luck both with the poetry book and your writing journey.

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  23. Carrie Rubin says:

    I’d love to know when your poetry book on cancer is available. My mother is just starting down that road, and your poems would be interesting to read and share. Cancer is such a miserable beast. I hope most of your treatments are behind you now.

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  24. Congratulations on your 5 year of blogging and good luck with your book on cancer. I wish you every success.

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