Those who read a lot of my work will know that the output has been a little bit slow over the last month or so. For the most part, I cite the holidays, a wicked cold, and a sick three month old for the distraction; it's really a hard time of the year to get anything done when you have a family, and the modern iteration of the black death doesn't help anything. Those who can read between the lines, however, may have seen an additional factor.
It's funny saying that I felt a little burnout lately, when I consider the size of my body of work. This becomes doubly true when I see some of the work that others do, which is sometimes both more energetic and more prolific. Still, that's the only was I can explain how I feel right now, and it wasn't the writing itself that stymied me; it was what I was writing about. Lately, I've done a lot of work and research on racist influences within Heathenry and Asatru, cross checking the references that the Circle Ansuz articles used when making accusations against the founder of the AFA, looking in to the ideology and philosophy of racist groups in general, deconstructing the Lokean issue, and trying to make sense of a Pagan community that tears itself apart on an hourly basis.
I have no regrets about any of this, because it good work. It drives me nuts sometimes, but I think it would drive me nuts more to leave it on the shelf. It would make me far more upset and distraught to do nothing about the problems I see. There is a beauty to demanding the best of ourselves and never being satisfied with an unsatisfactory answer. Still, it is not uncommon for me to write half of an article, grow dissatisfied with it, and cast it to the side. The issues I'm looking at are very complex, and I haven't been happy with what I've had to say or how I've had to say it. It's been very draining, to say the least.
Important work is often draining work. I've seen a lot of ennui amongst Pagan writers of all stripes as of late, and more and more I understand their moments of apathy and weariness. Where once I was confused at the large number of polytheistic bloggers who took a month off from the internet, now I completely understand. Battering against the shouting masses is rougher than you'll realize until you face it yourself, and keeping your equilibrium is a contest that never truly ends; you just keep going as long as you can until you get knocked down. Such a war of attrition, in of itself, can be infinitely frustrating.
The trick, then, is to get back up and keep going. To see these issues for what they are; obstacles, and not conquerors.
The work we do has great meaning. Every time we are read by Pagans and non-Pagans alike, we are less remote and more accessible. Every time we sit down to write of our spiritual experiences and beliefs, we make a better network of roads and pathways for those who come after us. With every word we make things better in some way, so long as making things better is our goal. Sometimes fights happen, and pointless arguments spring forth from the egotistically bruised or the antagonistically verbose. These are influences that cannot be truly bested, but they are annoyances that can be endured and ignored at our leisure.
I'm not going to say it's easy. In the myriad of shouting voices, it's hard not to loose your way. Recently, I saw a published writer question their own right to have their voice heard. It was bewildering, as this same writer was one who I had found a decent amount of inspiration from. It attacks all of us at some level, and it's important to remember that.
As the year closes, I hope that 2014 gives everyone the opportunity to do good work. Whether that's good work in the form of writing devotionals, investigative journalism, writing about their own praxis, something else, or all of that at the same time. Most of all, I hope that we all have the endurance to keep pushing through when things get tough.
It's a tough gig going out there and talking about spirituality and religion on the internet. Much harder than most people realize, and far more challenging than some of us give ourselves credit for. It's important work, and I'm glad we are out there doing it.