natural eclecticism, Manchester Museum
And in the end, the big blog discovery of 2014 was the rediscovery of the value and enjoyment of blogging itself. I had reached the end point in the summer, so I thought. I was going to chuck it all in, be blogless and post-free, never think about comments and categories again. But, ironically, the idea of the big break after so many years of blogging forced me to reappraise what blogging means to me and why I do it, the upshot of which was a new blog and renewed blogging vigour.
My blog is my studio, my ideas factory, my photo album, my diary. It's become a discipline, which I would miss, and it's definitely a therapy, which I need. It makes me refine my thoughts, choose my words, cut out the crap, and discover what it is I really want to say. It forces me to look closely at the world though a camera lens, think positively, consider the ups rather than the downs of life and, like the phrase or not, count my blessings. It's a place to bring together all the disparate interests I have, a place where I can be as eclectic as I like - because I am the writer, the editor, the picture desk, the spellchecker, and I can publish what, I want when I want. This is why I am still blogging at the end of 2014.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, blogging is the most amazingly direct, immediate, unmediated medium you can find. Nothing beats pressing 'publish' and seeing your words and pictures on the screen where other people can find them. You don't need to be commissioned, experienced, well-known or well-connected, and you don't need money or equipment - just access to a screen, a URL, and a blogging platform. It doesn't matter where you live or how you live. It's democratic, free (unless you pay a little for the hosting of your blog, as I do), and it's open to everyone. Long live blogs, I say.
And on that note, I'll wish you all a very happy 2015. Thank you for coming with me to this new blog (a move was as good as rest - or stopping altogether). Because the other part of the blogging deal - and part of my rediscovery - is that readers are great. You are.