Why I’m taking the #YourTurnChallenge

14-199bMy blog at www.steveghilliard.com is a chronicle of my studio glass work, not commentary on current events, or profiles of my favorite books, or a diary of what my wife and I whip up in the kitchen.  I have another (sadly neglected) blog for that, which I may revive someday soon.  Recently I’m finding the more I write the more I have to say.

Original goals notwithstanding,  I’m going to focus this post on my motivations for taking up the challenge posed by Winnie Kao of sethgodin.com, to provide context for any commentary that may bubble up this week (or in the future).  My motivations fall into three categories:

1) I need a wider audience and community

I like writing, but my primary activity these days is crafting glass artwork, currently in the form of lampwork beads and fused glass pieces, much of which I make into jewelry (there are only so many bead collectors in the world).  I like to work with glass, but I blog about it because I also like to teach:  I can’t help explaining how to do what I do.  Apparently it’s not enough for me to learn how to do something and to create with my hands, I also have the need to show someone else.  Joining this challenge may give me a wider audience, (although most of them may be too busy blogging to read) and I may find some fellow creatives whose blogs I will enjoy following.

2) I need the practice

As Winnie explains on the challenge page, even though blogging every day was hard, she benefited from it, moving more quickly, putting thoughts out there more easily.  I need this spark, to help cement blogging as a positive and enjoyable habit rather than a duty that I dread. I decided to double down and spend time in the studio every day this week for the same reason—the more you work with your hands, the better your work becomes.

3) I have the right

This is a big one: I’m committing to blogging more because of the attack on the staff of Charlie Hebdo, and the imprisonment and flogging (1000 lashes!) of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.  When people are risking violence, imprisonment and even death for the right to express themselves, failing to blog because I don’t feel like it, or I’m “busy”, seems like the worst kind of wasteful arrogance.  It’s like destroying irreplaceable artifacts, or burning books, or throwing away food while the poor starve.  I doubt that I have anything that profound to say, but I have a voice, and I’m lucky enough to live in a country that recognizes my right to use that voice, so it seems sinful to take that precious gift for granted.