Holding the Light Goes on Hiatus

Or maybe ends. Summer means fewer readers, so it’s a good time to take a break, the first since I started this blog. Holding the Light readers, if you’re not already out of town, I’d like your ideas about what to do with the blog in the fall. End it? Resume as is? Limit posts to the most popular topics? Add more writing prompts? Other ideas? Remember, only comments posted on the blog itself are saved. I’ll make notes on Facebook comments.

from a June 2024 walk in Whittier

I started Holding the Light (also the title poem of my second book) in mid-2012. It had been two years since I’d retired from fulltime teaching, and I was ready to set myself the task of becoming a consistent writer. For most of my life, writing often came last: after family, after jobs, after mopping the kitchen floor. The blog’s been successful in that regard: I’ve maintained a minimum of two posts per month for twelve years. And its photos are almost all mine too. It’s been fun. And work.

I originally planned to quit after one hundred posts—mission accomplished—but Jana Clark asked, “Why? Why not continue?” Jana’s a master writing teacher, so sometimes I listen to her.

Holding the Light is, as John McPhee puts it, an old person project, intended to give me purpose and keep me alive. I do NOT believe that I won’t die so long as I’m writing, no matter what McPhee says. Full disclosure: McPhee’s 93 and still writing, so maybe…

I wrote 800-word or less essays. As of June 2024, I’ve published 395 such pieces. This one makes 396. If you’re doing the math, that’s more than two per month. I sometimes posted weekly. Partly Jerry Garner’s fault: two weeks is too long to wait, he said. Post more often, he said. Easy for him to say. He’s been a faithful reader. So have Kathleen Cain and Bob Jaeger, and they frequently comment. Just saying, Jer.

Those 395 pieces total over 300,000 words, more than enough to fill three novels, but I’ve never had a novel in me. I’m a hundred-yard dash writer, good at getting in and getting out. My posts were whatever I wanted to write about. I dreaded running out of ideas. That never happened, a gift from God. Everything posted was revised, proofed and read aloud. Despite all that, typos and faulty writing slip through. The best time to find such flaws is right after the piece is published, when Phil Normand, my editor, reads it.

Posts on aging, politics and humor have had the most views and comments. Memoir and neighborhood topics are next. These are WordPress stats: Facebook or Linked In responses not included.

I recently started a Substack for my Grandmother Poems, sometimes verse and sometimes prose: https://patriciadubrava.substack.com I’m not sure where Grandmother’s headed either. I have other writing projects: a painfully slogging memoir essay, translations, and I still write poems from time to time. Once a poet, always a poet, they say. Apparently, I cannot be released from that bondage. Hence, no fear of dying if I quit the blog, at least not immediately, God willing.

June 2024 sunset at Fuller Park

So, my loyal readers, this is it, for at least two months, or maybe forever. You have kept me going all these years. For that, I thank you. Some of you have subscribed to Grandmother, for which I am also thankful, and that grumpy old lady will continue over summer. I look forward to your ideas on the blog and maybe you’ll hear from me again in September.

Twelve years is a long time. I wish there’d been a retirement benefit.

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16 Responses to Holding the Light Goes on Hiatus

  1. Nan says:

    I’ve just discovered this blog and hope you continue. You are a part of Denver history. A piece of the city puzzle would be lost without your voice. But I will understand. I’m checking out your substack next.

    • dubrava says:

      Nan, it’s good to have you aboard! The blog’s not going anywhere and you can read all 396 posts any time you like. I’m flattered that you think Holding the Light is a piece of the city puzzle. A pretty small piece, I think, but wonderful of you to say so.

  2. Gregg says:

    I always read “Holding the Light” and would like to continue to read it, but then, this will happen only if you feel like continuing to write it (after your hiatus). Ideas about topics? I like political/cultural commentary, and art/literature territory, myself. Limiting yourself to blogging about what has been popular in the past? Nope. I know they say write for your audience (or write TO your audience? I forget.), but I don’t agree with what “they” said. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” said Aleister Crowley, and while I don’t look to him for life advice, that bit of advice is what I’d suggest for blog topics.

  3. Bob Jaeger says:

    Dear Pat. I have enjoyed your heart touching writing, thoughts, vivid descriptions, and photos over the years. You deserve a break. I hope you decide to continue, but I know you’ll make the best decision for you. ❤️

  4. Renardo says:

    Well, ok then. Life has goodbyes and provisional goodbyes and we come to accept them. I’ve read and often enough smiled and admired your clarity. It’s been fun, too, the keeping guilty fleeting tabs on Phil, occasionally with the eyebrow raised.

  5. Jana Clark says:

    I read them all. I am sorry I don’t always write down my responses. I find as I get older I have fewer ideas of much worth. (I think I gave them all away to my classrooms). I recently quit teaching for the library. A task that kept me going for years. The zooming was hard. I like teaching in person. A dying art I’m afraid! Covid changed a lot of things. Maybe that inspired me to become more inward with fewer opinions?? I personally hope you break out in a rash after a few weeks and find the only thing that stops the itching is to share your life with us again. There. That’s my opinion!!

    • dubrava says:

      Jana, a delightful opinion, as always! I think I’m taking this break because, in part, the Substack writing is keeping me pretty busy and there’s a rather ambitious translation project I’d like to try. And because: twelve years.

  6. Linda G says:

    Brava! And, keep it going. I always look forward to your thoughts and words.

  7. Dear Pat … I completely understand your dilemma! I’ve been far less disciplined with my site and have off and on decided to call it quits, but I’ve always come back to it. I hope (selfishly) that you’ll return to Holding the Light. But if it’s in the way of those other projects … ah, time! There is never enough of it….

    • dubrava says:

      Joe, thanks! I may well return in the fall, but you know I have enough ideas for writing projects to last far beyond the years I can expect to have left. We’ll see, though; I’ll probably be compelled to a political post or two in the fall, at least.

  8. Andrea Wiseman says:

    Dear Pat,
    Joe said it better than I ever could. I also selfishly would love to keep reading your posts. We rarely see each other, but every time I read a post, I think of you! You also make me think. You are an inspiration.
    Andrea W.

    • dubrava says:

      Andrea! So good to know you’re still tuning in from time to time. And congrats on your retirement! For me it’s now been 14 years and some of the best I’ve had. Sail on into new waters!

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