Peeling Potatoes Is Hard Work

Fionnuala and Rebecca travelled to London at the weekend for a shopping trip as part of the latter’s thirteenth birthday celebrations. They shopped til they dropped as well as taking in all the sights with their cousin, Bronagh. Which left me home alone with Adam, Hannah and a list of instructions as long as my arm from my every helpful wife. The gist of it was feed the kids, clothe the kids and don’t set the house on fire.

Now I’m no domestic god but basic household tasks are not beyond me if shown clearly, very clearly, what to do. I mastered the various buttons and dials on the washing machine, reheated precooked lasagna and fixed curtains, blinds and multiple cushions under the watchful eye of Hannah, who had been put in charge by her mother before leaving. I even remembered to feed Charlie the border terrier, much to his tail wagging relief.

The Everest of the weekend, however, was when Fionnuala asked me to peel the potatoes for Sunday dinner. My efforts at this in the past have been somewhat erratic to say the least. Stephen and sharp knives are not a good mix and the emergency services were on standby in case I nicked an artery. I’m sure it’s a common sight in Sunday A&E departments with ‘home alone’ husbands being wheeled in and out.

The first rule of peeling potatoes is to ensure you are left with more potato than peel at the end of the process. My previous enthusiastic, if somewhat ham fisted, attempts at this have resulted in potatoes the size of marbles which wouldn’t feed a field mouse. Meanwhile the mound of peelings require a crane to excavate to the recycling bin. There’s a reason I didn’t pursue a career in neurosurgery.

The art seems to be in the wrist motion. As you daintily peel you rotate the wrist, the trick being to remove the entire outer skin in one single, fluid motion. I’ve yet to achieve this ‘holy grail’ of kitchen etiquette but my technique has considerably improved in its pursuit. The result was a full pot of edible potatoes more than capable of feeding a family of five.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about this blog lately, where it’s going and the topics I should be writing about. Creative writing is increasingly taking up more of my time and I don’t write about faith matters anymore. Some of my most popular posts have been deeply personal and introspective. But am I revealing too much of myself, peeling away too many layers, leaving myself utterly exposed?

Twitter seems more receptive to the creative side of my writing. I’ve picked up more sales and interest, having tapped into a huge writing community there. My creative posts on WordPress are always amongst my least popular so do I stop posting creative fiction on the blog. If so, what is left for the blog? It’s something which has been nagging away at me in recent weeks to the extent I took a four day break from blogging last week.

As ever I’d be grateful for your comments and feedback. As a writer they fuel my writing and encourage me to keep going. The blogging world has been somewhat flat in recent months. A lot of regular bloggers have drifted away or are posting less frequently. Is this merely a blip or symptomatic of a broader issue? I don’t know. What is do know is that blogging is hard, just like peeling potatoes.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

69 thoughts on “Peeling Potatoes Is Hard Work

  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly. There seems to be a blogging apathy.
    People just don’t interact like they used to.
    Thing is, even if there are only ‘three’ here who do, it’s ‘three’ who would be left feeling lost if you didn’t 😉
    Carry on peeling potato’s, please 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I think you are right that there are less posts on the Blogosphere these days. (No doubt there are some stats somewhere which might dis/prove this theory). But I’m amazed you find the time to write and post as much as you do – especially having a family to ‘entertain’. I certainly look forward to reading your posts, but don’t feel obliged to post every day. Quality is always better than quantity! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re brave to reveal as much as you have about yourself, but because I’ve seen so many comments from people who can identify with you who were touched by your writing, I don’t think you reveal too much.
    I know I haven’t been blogging as much because of my job, and I miss blogging. But I hope you stick with it. I will blog as much as I can, which seems to be once or twice a week. You’ve been such a blessing to us, and I would hate to see you give up blogging! I really would! You are in my prayers. How is everything going?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is your more personal posts that I enjoy most – I like finding out more about fellow bloggers. Also those about your family life. I enjoy snapshots into other peoples’ lives. Basically I’m just nosey!!
    The running posts are usually scrolled pâst – not interesting for me, but I’m sure others are interested.
    I read “Bomb Girl” with great pleasure and also like hearing what you’re up to with your writing (there’s a bit of envy there!!)
    I miss your reflective posts on Christianity and your faith – it was one of those that drew me to your blog in the first place – but I quite understand why you’ve backed off from those a little.
    As I don’t come over to your blog every day, I don’t notice if you don’t post every day. I don’t either…It’s your blog: so whatever frequency suits you is the correct one. But don’t give up – there’s a community who would miss you. A lot.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As I only follow you here, on WordPress, I would dearly miss if you stopped posting anything but your creative writing. I do look forward to your creative side, but I enjoy your introspective blogs equally as well.

    I was chuckling as I read this one, because I will actually give Jeremiah lists with the tasks in itemized format:

    1. Grate the cheese
    A. It is in the refrigerator in the kitchen, medium cheddar
    1. Use the red bowl in the second Chris cabinet
    2. Grate 3/4 of the block
    3. Cover with Saran wrap
    4. Place the bowl in the downstairs refrigerator
    5. Use the large grater in the second drawer on the left side of the stove


    All of my blogs are personal, even though I’ve been unable to update them for so very long. But whether you feel like you’re offering us peelings or small potatoes, I promise that I check my app every day to see if you’ve posted anything new. I’ll have to see why I’m not getting notifications from you on Twitter; perhaps we need to interact more?

    Vulnerability is complicated; it’s also not always easiest to communicate over the internet. You do a phenomenal job with what you choose to tell about your personal battle with mental illness, and your family’s heartaches. Please keep writing, and know that you reach so many more people than you believe.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. You are going through what many bloggers do, where do I go from here with my blog now that I have changed. It is a tough call and no matter which direction you go your stats (if that matters at all) will decline as your old audience finds your writing no longer meets their interests and it will take time to grow your new audience to what you have chosen to write about.

    My best advice is for you to write about what interests you. What the people out on the Internet want is too fickle to worry about and might not be what you want and your blogging/writing will suffer as you loose interest. Your blogging is about you and your interests, and if others find it interesting they will engage you. I and many others are still here, so you are doing enough to keep us interested. 🙂

    Perhaps that is what you need to keep writin about. 😎

    Liked by 6 people

  7. I have only just discovered your blog and already I know I will be back. I get tired of all the cookie cutter writing out there- what I am drawn to is people’s real journeys. Not that all should be revealed on a public platform, but so much can be learnt and shared by others in this way. As I seek to open up to my readers, I also appreciate honest reflections from others too. Keep up whatever writing you feel passionate about. Someone out there will read it, even if they don’t always comment or “like ” it.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Interesting that you too have found apathy in the blogging world … I wonder if perhaps Twitter for example is a quicker and easier way for people to get across what they want the world to know. Blogging takes time and whilst I find it’s a useful tool for improving my writing, it can be disheartening. Personally I like your family blogs the most, without doubt. Perhaps it all depends on what it is that we actually want out of it. If we want followers in order to show potential publishers that we’re a saleable option, then I suspect that Twitter is probably better unless one is getting high hundreds of views on every post with WordPress. I think people have less time and less patience which is why other social media is becoming preferable …. there seems to be a solid core of people in WordPress who consistently read and write which is wonderful, but as you say, they too can occasionally fall by the wayside and so one has to continually be looking for a new audience. I don’t know what the answer is, but I know that time is precious and for me, because I spend so much time writing one single post, I simply can’t be doing it every day.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. First, I agree and I hate peeling potatoes! The tools is important and I have a very old , bent peeler. I can’t seem to find a decent one that is actually sharp enough to peel. Maybe they made them dull to protect alone at home husbands? Second, I’m sorry I have not been a faithful reader. I am barely able to do anything but work anymore. If I sit down to read I feel like I’m wasting precious time. I still do it, but not as much. Third, whatever you decide about blogging, I pray that you will get closer to God. Choose the better part. Writing is great , but God is essential. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s always a joy to see what you’ve written – from the fiction to the deeply personal musings to running stats. I don’t know how you do it – you’ve got tons more on your plate than i do, and yet… I guess that’s what makes you a writer!
    Write what speaks to you at the moment – you can’t please all of the people all of the time. This is your space, your platform. Do with it what you will.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Stephen, next time tell your wife that unpeeled potatoes are much healthier, the peels contain substantial nutrients. If that doesn’t work, then suggest rice instead. How much can go wrong with cooking rice? Hmmmm, second thought, have you considered instant potatoes in a package? 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. For me, blogging is not difficult. But that is because I have a set routine, pretty much, and the topic is fairly static. It’s always a devotional blog, and the material is rarely “original.” While I do contribute some of my own thoughts, the basis is usually either Scripture or one of the pre-written devotional books that I use.

    I imagine trying to come up with a fresh topic for a new blog daily, or even weekly, would be quite difficult. For what it is worth, I do enjoy yours when I get a chance to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love your personal stories showing grit and humanity with the twist of humor. They make me feel connected. If folks don’t read the fantasy that’s not in you. Every post does not need lots of comments, does it? But bottom line, it’s your blog to do what makes YOU happy or satisfied!! Not in how the world reacts. —just my two cents. €£$

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I can’t say I’ve noticed a ‘falling off’ in the blogging community, but I take the point – people don’t communicate so readily anymore. There are maybe too many scare stories, or so many separate platforms – Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In…the list goes on. Everyone will be drawn to the lurid – I guess if you gratify that or not is up to you.
    Can I just point out, you don’t need to peel potatoes? Well washed, scrubbed, yes, but a lot of goodness drains away with the skin. Just saying…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Good analogy. Peeling one potato is fairly easy. Peeling enough for the family is a bit tedious. Posting a blog is not that difficult. Blogging with regularity is challenging. The frequency with which you have posted original, entertaining and enlightening information has amazed me since I started following you a little over a year ago. I have honestly tried to figure out how you do it.

    We are an ocean and substantial land mass apart and may never meet in person, but I have learned a great deal from you. I personally like the variety and originality of your posts. You display a mastery of language in so many different subject matters. On a personal side, I have become much more aware of and empathetic to mental health issues since reading your work. I feel this has made me a better person, so thank you for that.

    I was drawn in to ‘Bomb Girl’ with the first chapter. I enjoy your running blogs. I’m inspired by the way you see and articulate ‘day in the life’ moments like the homeless lady, sidewalk vomiter and nameless deaths. Regardless the topic, you tackle it with thought-provoking insight and upmost respect for person. I find that refreshing and challenging.

    I’ll echo the thought of other followers who have said this is your blog. Post what you want, when you want. I feel totally unqualified to offer you any advice. But I do want to encourage you to continue writing from your heart and your head. They both appear to be functioning exceptionally well.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I enjoy your writing greatly. I loved this post. I burst out laughing as I read it. You have a great talent. I think the biggest issue is that a lot of people of varying talent write on wordpress and sometimes sifting through things is difficult. Because you are so talented. I’d suggest when you write your peices, weather creative or otherwise all the way to the finish and then at the top of each post, each chapter… , make sure after you are done to come back to the top and try to make the first few sentinces as eye catching as possible since the search has usually the first couple sentences. That should help someone with your talent… I enjoy writing myself but I mostly write for fun as I am still a novice in every sense of the word. If starting with something that jumps off is difficult. Then perhaps as a teaser put a short quote from one of the best parts of the story and the best parts of the current post at the top of the page to sell it among the many posts already out there. It’s just a suggestion. Such suggestions with my writing are wasted. I don’t do it, but since you have a great sense of humor and are very good at writing it would probably help you on this platform. I hope your day is full of blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Please don’t stop blogging, Stephen. I only discovered your blog a little less than a year ago, I think, but I look forward to all of your posts. (Although, I confess I only read one that was a selection from your book.) I only blog once, maybe twice, a month and I’m ok with that. I think WordPress is a place for people who have attention spans long enough to allow them to enjoy reading and reflecting. I use Twitter for advertising. I use WordPress for engaging.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I enjoy your blog no matter what you write about. I have also noticed a bit of flatness of late, to be fair, I have not had much creative “juice” of late and others I interact with regularly here seem to be experiencing much the same. I do hope you continue with the blog. You inspire, educate, and often keep me laughing, when life seems to have little to smile about. For what it’s worth it is the honesty you bring to your blog that keeps me coming back. I love your perspective on life and I am sincerely grateful to learn more about OCD and so much more that you’ve had the humility and sheer courage to share. Please don’t stop. You make WordPress richer and life more bearable for many. I am confident I am not alone in this.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. If I may. I would suggest that you stop looking at the blog from a viewers numbers perspective and start looking at it from words numbers perspective.

    Every writer needs to continue to write as much as possible, to continue to grow and improve their skill. I realize that blogging has naturally been about the amount of views that you receive, but what if it was about the number of words you write? Each piece written is one step closer to perfecting your craft. Just as a wood worker constructs pieces he will never sell, so must a wordsmith construct pieces that will rarely be seen. Use your blog as your training ground, a place to try out new ideas. The readership you have here is responsive and knowledgeable. Use this space to grow your craft and let the higher view media be where you show that growth. Use your blog as your workshop and your other more viewed media as your showroom.

    The individual that truly enjoys your work will find their way here, and when they do they will be amazed at all they’ve missed. Just like a craftsman or artist fans are in awe when stepping into the workshop or studio for the first time. On the outside all they saw was the finished product, on the inside they see the process.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Please do not leave us Stephen. I really enjoy your blogs so very much and it’s like coming home to a friend every time I read. You write about whatever you want and I promise there will be people reading here. However, if the blog is giving you way too much stress and is a burden I would understand if you had to stop. Hugs my friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I enjoy your blogs very much Stephen, it would be a shame if you were to stop writing posts altogether. But I agree with others, if the blog is causing stress for whatever reason – then stop. We would all understand (and miss you!). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. On the practical side – if the potatoes really need peeling treat yourselves to a hand-held battery powered one. Proved invaluable when arthritis in my hand meant I couldn’t use the usual one. 🤔Prefer them with skins on but have now given them up as I found that they were making arthritis worse! Go figure.
    On ’emotional’ side – absolutely loved Skelly’s Square but usually found I needed more than a chapter in a sitting to get my fix. More than once husband went off to bed while I ‘finished’ the chapter … I’m waiting for Bomb Girl on Kindle for this reason as I like to be in control of how much I read. (autism? bipolar? bloody-mindedness?)
    Twitter v WP? I agree with comment above – Twitter is OK platform for advertising as it’s shorter, to the point, and easy to respond to. It also doesn’t seem to suffer from repeat message. WP deserves more in-depth stuff with blurbs on your writing alongside a simple sales pitch maybe, rather than repeat ‘advertising’ posts. I follow quite a few blogs that include advertising (e.g. Amazon links) and I’m afraid I scroll down. For me your writing speaks for itself and as I commented in one of my reviews of SS it’s addictive – bloody brilliant! ✍🎲🎲😊
    Final point – I get very little interaction as yet and that does disappoint. I’m gaining followers regularly which pleases me, although I’d like more of a conversation with readers. But that does not deter as I started the whole blog with a view to reaching out about health issues and creativity. I have felt recently that you have been in and out of a very black hole, at times struggling to see light over the edge. Could that be influencing your despondency? Oh boy, sounds like I’ve got you on the ‘couch’. But if there’s one thing about we on the spectrum – we do like to analyse and problem solve.
    And we do go on … Take care, have a duvet day, rise again. Remember, you’re a Bloody Brilliant Wordsmith.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I love that you post about your creative writing, but I binge read…so often I like a quick post and don’t like a post on a new chapter, but each time I see you’ve hit another writing goal or suggested a read on Amazon unlimited I am excited! The feedback may not be as direct, but people are listening and reading more than you know. Please don’t take your creative writing off the post. If you want to write less personal posts, do that. This should be a place to support and market your work…and it needs to be done in a way you are comfortable with!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. For me, I particularly look forward to posts about your daughter Hannah, her vitality and the necessity of her life, posts on your interactions with the homeless – rehumanizing people that society doesn’t see, and what OCD is really like. But only as you feel inspiried.

    Liked by 1 person

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