Happy Bloggy AnniversaryMay 9, 2013
Apparently, it is 4 years since I opened my blog ‘multivocality’.
WordPress just sent me a little ‘happy anniversary’ message – which is really very sweet.
I remember the circumstances in which I started Multivocality. It was an act of resistance. I was part of a community with a blog – and it had gotten nasty. There was a great deal of corrective, judgement and suppression of diversity happening in the comments.
I was called an ‘instrument of Satan’ (not nice, but not the kind of thing I took personally).
Others were demeaned.
It felt like there were invisible, but tangible forces at work to try to silence dissent and bring conformity, rather than explore ideas and encourage engagement. Wise and humble leadership regretfully put the community blog on ice.
But I had been provoked – in a good way. I had become interested in how a semi-digital ‘ecclesia’ might be a place of hospitality to an eclectic collection of voices. Thus ‘multivocality’. I didn’t really have any ambitions as it arose as a little piece of resistance – an exercise in thinking about what a blog might be able to bear witness to.
Firstly it was a place of diversity. My pro-blogger friends tell me I’m doing this wrong. I should have one blog for my dark, broody poetry, and a different one for my reflections on popular culture and the place of children, and another for my theological engagements. If I was trying to ‘market’ anything, they would be right. The various voices are unpredictable.
But the history behind multivocality’s inception made it important to me to have this kind of variety (all of which co-exists in my head anyway) gathered in a kind of motely company.
It is also a reminder to me as a writer, that I have choices about my voices.
Which of the voices from those in my head, in my ears, from my screen, from my experience, am I willing to give space to? Am I prepared not to only write or speak on my own behalf – but to sing the songs of others, for their sake? The voice of advocacy, the voice of critique, the voice of observation, the voice of celebration, the voice of grief, the voice of contentment, the voice of unrest. How many voices can I make space for here?
Vocality itself is a core component of my own personhood. From my earliest days I have been a singer – from a singing family, a singing faith, and then a singing profession.
It has only been in the last decade that ‘vocality’ for me has altered course, and come to mean these little clicky clacky thuds as I type. And still the actual voice intones in my head each syllable in rhythm and colour as I write. Writing and speaking and singing have become a trio of vocalities.
Multivocality is also a touchstone for the nature of what I am doing full time currently – which is academic biblical studies research. It’s a principle of engaging with the texts of the Bible. The text brings many voices – the voices of the communities in which they were first articulated, discussed, treasured, contended – and the voices of many commentators since, into which I add my small voice. And as I lean in closer among all of the ancient whispers, cries, protests and stories, I listen for the voice of God.
I admit that ‘multivocality’ bears the embarrassing deficit of not hosting many other voices. Recently ‘multivocality’ passed it 4000th hit but my readership isn’t huge. Even some of my dearest friends, who often inspirer my posts, don’t read along. On the one hand, comments are few – on the other hand, every one is precious. On the one hand, it is a small intimate conversation – on the other hand, the global welcome mat of the internet is always out, and I have discovered surprise new voices as conversation partners, too.
So for something that I began in a moment of reactionary subversion, which I left languish for a couple of years as I poured my writing through a professional conduit, which according to the experts I am doing ‘wrong’, I have a sense of quiet, introverted pleasure at the words that found their voices here.
It’s a happy bloggy anniversary, indeed.