25 June 2009

Why Write?

Once upon a time blogs seemed to be the hot thing. People got book deals. Inner worlds were exposed. Those who wrote were either brave or stupid, exhibitionists, egoists, etc. The Internet, once just for porn was now for soul exposing intrigue and nosiness.

And then there was overload. Every one had a blog. Everyones mother had a blog. Everyones mothers ten cats each had their very own blog. People didn't update enough. People didn't say enough. Good bloggers disappeared. Blog readers became jaded. Expected more. Commented less.

Yet the blog persists. I have written before that I certainly don't see my blog as an exercise in attention. There are very few people who I know through my regular life that know about this blog and I think count to a total of three (unless one of them has told someone else which is possible). Only one of those people did I specifically tell about the blog. I think the other two found it. It's not that hard, something I have also previously discussed. Something I sort of regret at this point, but I don't see a good way to change.

I am amazed that I have had this blog over five years and managed to stay generally anonymous and out of the eye of friends and family, whom I admit, I speak about with some degree of regularity. Saying things I probably wouldn't say to their faces uninvited or unasked, but simply recording my thoughts on my life as I live it. So this blog is for me.

Which isn't to say I don't like the comments I get from readers, or knowing that people (even if it's a very small number) read. But it often feels more like a Greek chorus than a group of people I know in any way. The universal voice. Everyone wants to speak out to the ether and be answered, and so goes a blog.

Recently, friend S, the newly married, moved to Africa. Not really wanting to be there, and not having a job (or a television or a reliable Internet connection, or a car for that matter), she was thinking she needed something to do. S can be one of the funniest friends of mine in a really sharp way so I thought about it and told her she should write a blog. But not a blog where she tries to be funny or writes to her friends and family far away, but a blog where she records accurately how she feels about this place she doesn't really want to be, how it affects her new marriage, and how the next two years generally go for her (presumably they're going to try baby making soon, so add that to the things to write about). I figured this was a book I might buy, and certainly a book she might write, after the fact- something she says she has always wanted to do. I thought it was a good idea.

And I thought I convinced her it was a good idea. Her first post was full of promise- the delicate expression of fears, the biting humor. Her voice was taking shape.

Then, not two posts in, she decided to tell all of her friends and family about her blog. So far her mother, and this asshole twat from her wedding have felt the need to comment on every post. And her third post starts to lose the voice, pandering to the audience. Sanitizing.

I'm disappointed.

I know you can't make people do things, and I know that her blog will probably become an amusing place to tell stories and keep up with people. But I am pretty sure the new path it's taking means it won't have the substance necessary for a book. It won't be 'real' enough. And it makes me sad because I think she could have really done this thing and it would have been amazing.

But then again, maybe being stranded in a very foreign country where you pretty much don't at all want to be means that it's more important to have that sort of contact from people than it is to write down your thoughts where you continue to dwell on how much you don't like feeling stranded and alone.

Ah well.

As for me, five years on in my corner of the Internet and I have nothing particularly interesting that would make a book, don't have a legion of loyal readers, and have somehow, for the most part, managed to keep my anonymity while writing down for the most part pretty much exactly what I want to.

I don't mind that. After all, it's really just for me.

11 June 2009

A Moment of Calm

It's been a bit busy around here. The interview went very well. So well, that they called me on Friday to say that it was between me and one other person. The problem being however, they can't decide which one of us they want. I had a second interview the following week with the architect who is sponsoring the research and I think that also went well, but it did not move the panel towards a decision. I now need to answer a few questions and write up a three year program of work and resources and outcomes and then maybe they'll pick me or this other person. Who knows. I'm obviously very flattered to have made it as far as I have and to obviously be well thought of, but dragging out the process is just that- dragging out the process. And one of us isn't going to get it, you know? So it's all a bit meh.

I've been working on the teaching application as well. I thought it was due June 10 but actually it's July 10 which is four days after the next PhD installment is due, so at least that gives me some time. In some ways at this point I think I'd almost prefer the teaching position and sod the PhD but I think I'm only saying that because I'm frustrated and nervous. The reality is I think I'd be happy with either.

So my dad was here with my stepmother. That was exciting. In the six years I've lived here, my father has never come to visit (although my stepmother has). He really hates traveling and spending money so it wasn't really a surprise that he hadn't come to visit, but it was a surprise that he did come to visit. And we had a really good time, despite his quirks and that he almost broke my computer (but managed to fix it). The visit was short overall but my dad said things like, "The next time I'm here..." which makes me think he'd consider coming back which is cool.

Then there was the wedding. Very hectic for the bride and so by default me as I felt a bit like the diffuser or the dumpster for some of her anxiety. Not that I minded overmuch because I figure that was part of my job and what I could do for her, but it still made it a more stressful experience than just a purely fun experience. The event went off alright with a few explosive glitches, but overall okay.

Of course the wedding, which was on a Sunday was followed by my being in Bristol on Monday, having my second interview on Tuesday, my parents leaving on Wednesday and the bride moving off to her new home to be with her husband in Kenya on Thursday which also saw me start work for a month back at my old practice who called me to say they needed some help.

And on the weekend I went to see Heathrow because it had been a while and I missed him and I'd be damned no matter how tired or worn out I was that I was going to miss it. So I got myself to Bottisham (don't ask) and spent last rainy weekend having amazing food in Newmarket (seriously, one of the best Thai restaurants ever is in this small town- I don't know why, but it's beyond simple or even medium expectations- truly exceptional) which is the second time we've been. There was of course the standard messing about business which is always enjoyable. And lots of just cuddling and snoozing together. Simple pleasures I tell you. I could easily waste a large portion of my life in bed doing just that.

And then it was back to London on Sunday and off to dinner at a friend's and then back to work on Monday. This week has been a bit busy too. Oh, I forgot to say that the original New Zealand flatmate also came back the same week my dad and stepmother arrived. Her sublet was still here. So this past Tuesday the original flatmate had all her stuff packed up and headed back to New Zealand for good and just today the subletting flatmate moved all of her stuff out as well. So on top of everything the house has been something like a small disaster area while all this other stuff was going on. Luckily, today the cleaner came so the flat is pretty nice and tidy just in time for the new flatmate to move in on Saturday. I'm going with a guy this time. I think I had enough of messy girls for a bit. I hope the guy works out and isn't too odd. He's slightly older and Australian- I'll try not to hold these things against him. He seemed nice enough.

So what else can I talk about other than just an update as to life in general? I suppose there are lots of things I could talk about but I don't really feel that motivated. Maybe after this rush of being 'on' all the time I'm sliding into a bit of a lull. It's not surprising really. It doesn't feel like any sort of major depression or crash, maybe just a mild one. I just need to recharge a bit. Which hopefully I'll do this weekend. I'm not seeing Heathrow as he's taking a course, and other than the new flatmate moving in I've got nothing going on so I can work on my applications and just chill which sounds like just the thing.