Thank You

I think my existential ‘crisis’ is over. Yes, really! My last post was nearly a month ago and that was merely a reblog of an earlier post, with some added words to put it into current context. I raised the question about why we blog, and whether it was worth it. I said that I was working on a full post to share all of my reasoning, and I still am. But I’ve also been looking back over my previous nearly four years’ worth of ramblings and this seems to be a topic to which I keep returning! Maybe another day, then, and I’ll try to draw them all together into one composite post. Possibly….

So why am I here today? July 28th. Is it a special day in the calendar? No, not as far as I know, but it has special meaning for me. When I started this blog it was at the instigation of my counsellor, who wanted me to turn what I had been writing for him as part of our therapy sessions into a blog, for others to read. At around the time that I was going through this I met Cyd via Twitter and we became good friends. She was an amazingly creative and funny person, who had suffered much more than her fair share of the horrible things that life can throw at us, but bore it all with wit, courage, charm and determination. She was an accomplished blogger and photographer, she loved singing and dancing – she had been at stage school – and became the most wonderfully supportive follower of my blog from when it first started, giving me loads of useful advice and constructive criticism. My sparing use of brackets is entirely down to her, and you’ll find the occasional comment from her on some of my early posts. We used to chat for hours about anything and everything. Throughout this period she was ill and being occasionally hospitalised, and this took a turn for the worse when she was diagnosed with cancer. But she recovered – so typical of her! Then life played its last and most cruel trick. Within weeks of being given the all clear she began to suffer debilitating migraines, which turned out to be brain cancer. Sadly, this was one battle too many, even for her, and she was taken from us on July 28th 2015, one year ago today, at the age of just 45. It seemed appropriate to mark this and to remember her, and this is the best way I know to do it.

I’ve always thought that Cyd was an outstanding writer, especially when you consider that many of her posts were written at a time when she was unwell – and was also facing online trolling, for reasons I never understood. Here’s a brief example of her writing:

“It has been truly tiring to have to deal with all this external nonsense, but I did anticipate it. Sadly, if you don’t do things in a way that other people do, they see you as someone with a hidden motive. I have nothing hidden. I live the way I live and I do it openly. I love who I love and I give that everything I have. To get through this, I have a three pronged approach. Aggressiveness towards the cancer itself. Love intensely and focus on that more than anything. I truly live for love. Last but by no means least, stay me. Laugh like I always did, don’t ever forget myself and don’t let others forget who I really am.”

That is from the final post she ever made, in October 2014, and is the perfect example of the way she lived. Sadly, her blog is private so I can’t give you a link to it!

Thinking of Cyd today has made me wonder whether you, if you are a fellow blogger, have someone without whose advice and support your blog might not exist, or may not have developed in the way that it did. We write for ourselves, and we write for our readers. But you may well have your own ‘Cyd’ who has helped you in ways which won’t be known to anyone but you. I said at the outset that any doubts about whether I should continue blogging have gone, and that is in part because I have realised how much I owe it to myself to continue, as indeed I do to you, dear reader, and to people like Cyd who have helped me along the way. Over the past few months I have enjoyed the company here of many new readers, and have had much greater engagement with my posts than at any time since the very beginning. In return, I have been much more active in commenting on others’ blogs than I can ever remember, and I wouldn’t want to lose that sense of community. Cyd’s blog was one of the first I ever read, and it gave me an understanding of what blogging was about, and what it could be. I like to think that in these recent months I have really begun to put that understanding into practice, and look forward to continuing to do it.

I hope you can also recognise and give thanks for those who are or have been in your life and who have played a role in making you the writer that you are. In future, I’ll be more likely to think “what would Cyd have said?” about posts I write, and I hope that will improve them. Maybe her spirit can be my muse? And every time that happens, I will say a silent

“Thank you, for being there, and for having been a part of this.”

 

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38 thoughts on “Thank You

  1. Clive, You have always been so supportive of me. I came into blogging just as Cyd left. I think I would have loved her blog. This morning I’ve been trying to catch up with bloggers I’ve not visited in the past months because of the “Cursed Book” – finally in print, Thank God! I realize there are so many bloggers I’ve become close to in the past few years. And of course, you are one of those special people. Thank you, Cyd, for helping my friend Clive stay the course. Clare

    Liked by 1 person

    • And you of me too, Clare. You’d have loved Cyd’s blog. She wrote beautifully, with an easy style, much humour and a huge deal of humanity. She was a great photographer too, and used her photos to illustrate and illuminate her blog posts. And as I said, she was very supportive of me when I was getting started and it was all new for me. You and your blog are important to me too, and I think it fair to say that I might not have stayed the course – albeit erratically – without Cyd 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed to read this post again. We get so much information every day so it feels so right to re-read a post like this. People ought to be remembered. That’s why I often write about people or family members who were important to me. I want to do a small part to set a memory. You honored your blogging inspirational friend via this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Clive,
    Yes wondering why we blog and who inspires us to keep going are good questions.
    I have posted on why I blog previously. For me it is now something I do, still very much for me but a,so because it is a record of what I’m thinking and what I enjoy ( most of the time). Note the brackets!😀😀😀
    Initially it was the person who who was helping transition to “What’s Next” that got me started who was my inspiration, now it’s because I enjoy it (most of the time) . More brackets 😀😀😀

    I always enjoy your posts – you are in so many ways a kindred spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Michael, I value your support and agree that we have much in common, both in the way we blog and what interests us – especially music! Brackets are ok if used sparingly (apparently 😊).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Take It Easy and commented:

    Looking back over my posts in previous years, I think there might be a theme developing for this time of year. I’ve no idea why, but this seems to be the time when I question why I blog, what it means to me, and whether it is worth continuing.

    I originally started at the suggestion of my counsellor, when I was going through CBT for depression. He got me writing about thoughts and feelings in a way I’d never done before, and encouraged me to develop these pieces into blog posts. This was a huge step into the unknown for me, but I eventually did it – three months after I first set the page up! – and was taken aback at the amount of support I received, and at how my words touched a chord with so many people. I still occasionally revisit mental health as a subject, but it didn’t take me long to realise that there were many others writing about the subject on a regular basis, and they were much better at it than I was. That was nearly five years ago, and since then my posts have been sporadic. If you’re looking for someone who’ll post something every day, then I’m not for you. I envy the creativity of those who manage to find something to say every day – but I’m not like that, and I’d rather post only when I want my small voice to be heard. I did try the November blog posting month thing twice, but found that I was filling and padding just to meet the commitment: I don’t normally manage 30 posts in a year, let alone a month!

    This post is exactly a month since my last one. Whilst there have been many things I could have said since then none of them seemed sufficiently new or substantial for a full post. I could have thrown out a few shorter pieces, but that, for me, isn’t what blogging means. It works for others, but not for me. I don’t feel comfortable writing just a sentence or two and sharing it here – that feels more like the way I use Facebook, if I’m honest. I could also have commented on my world view, but I’ve done that before – and no doubt will again – but anything I said now would only feel like I was repeating myself. And I’m not a ‘proper’ political commentator anyway!

    So why am I posting this, and what do I have to say today that makes this worth posting – in my opinion – anyway? The reason is a very personal one for me. Two years ago, the world lost a wonderful person, who was taken by cancer at the stupidly early age of 45. On this day last year, I marked her passing with the post I’m reblogging alongside this piece. This has become one of my more ‘liked’ posts, and whilst many of you will have seen it before there are plenty who have followed my blog since then who won’t have read it. Even if you have, it would be good if you could read it again to mark her passing – I will always stand by what I said then, and know that I owe it to her as well as to myself to keep this blog going, even if I’m far from the most prolific of bloggers.

    RIP Cyd. I miss you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Clive, I am always so glad when you post. I enjoy knowing you through your writing and find you a gentle and kind soul. Anniversaries of loss are if not ‘special’ days, memorable ones, poignant “intimations of mortality and immortality.” It seems clear to me that as Cyd did for you, you try hard to do for others. So, in a way, you are Cyd and she lives on in what you write. i can think of no better tribute to a cherished friend than living up to the gifts they have given the world. “In your embers doth live” her memory, there to strengthen you as you strengthen others. Write on, dear Clive, it is a legacy. Fondly, Jo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Jo. I’m very touched by those words. I just wish you could see Cyd’s blog, so that you’d know how much I have to live up to! It’s nice that you think her support for me lives on in what I write, I hope that will always be the case 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  6. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful friend 😊 You’re right, when we begin writing, we write for ourselves first and then our readers, but gradually I’ve found my readers coming first as comments and questions have inspired posts on particular topics of interest. Our readers encourage us, give us feedback and keep us motivated when we begin to doubt ourselves. They can set us back on track when we feel ourselves straying. I never imagined having such a friendly, supportive comminity when I set up my blog. Blogging has made a huge difference to my life, I have made many new friends and learned a lot from their experiences and specialised knowledge. So I too am grateful to everyone who has read a post and all those who have taken the time to comment, especially the amusing ones! Thank you to you, too, Clive! 😊👏🏻

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for your kind words, Chris. If no one ever read a word of my blog I’d still have derived the enjoyment I get from writing, but knowing that people will read it gives an added dimension. Being part of a community and making new friends is a wonderful thing, and we should never underestimate its value in our lives.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Clive, again I wondered where you were. I think that from time to time any thinking person questions the value of their actions, words and life experience. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Hope to hear more from you again.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Bernadette. You’re absolutely right, and that quote is spot on! I’ve been working in the background, and doing a lot of thinking. Outpourings from my rambling mind will be forthcoming!

      Liked by 2 people

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