50 pages

I have submitted all of my immigration applications to appeal for the waiver that would exempt me from having to leave the country after I graduate from Duke. We’re not completely sure about the timing, whether everything will be approved before I start classes in the fall. But for the moment I am back.

During an interview about his debut novel, The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini said that the reason so many would-be novels are aborted is because a lot of people start off writing enthusiastically, but when they get to about the fiftieth page, suddenly find themselves stuck and cannot seem to get unstuck. A few masochistic determined ones push through, but the majority get frustrated and disheartened so they shelf the bloody thing and that fetus of a book dies.

This is my fiftieth post in this kaleidoscopic corner of the cyberspace. Now I can’t say writing a blog is as difficult as a novel, since I have zero plot and no character you’d love to hate. Some of the 50 I borrowed from external images sources and a few others are three-liners. And a few more I have already taken down because I didn’t think they were ready. But I think the writing processes are similar. I come to the same place, comb through my thoughts and inklings then try to convey them to you in somewhat a coherent manner. You might like what I say and hit the button with the star and make my little ego purrs a bit. And some posts don’t get any attention, or sometimes I can’t figure out what my hazardous brain is telling me, or sometimes there are simply too many voices in my head so I clam up or make the posts skinnier or shapelier or give them face-lifts. And sometimes I really don’t think this blog matters all that much. Currently, WordPress alone sponsors no less than 64,852,452 blogs.

When I first started blogging I wondered to a friend of what my blog should be and he said, you. This blog is about you. Well that’s real capitalistic, I thought, because the world sorely needs another giant conglomeration of people all shouting about themselves. Yet as I kept writing I realized, he was right, this space is about me, despite how (good-naturedly or naively or idealistically) I wanted it to be about you too.

So I will keep writing, and I have a few hopes for this place. I hope you can find something in this place that you can relate to, something that makes you laugh, whether my unacknowledged obsession with cats or books or boys. I hope this is and will be an honest space, a place where we can put forth our thoughts and not fear prejudice or judgment. I welcome critique and discussions and disagreements unabashedly, but I also want this place to be kind, and our thoughts and voices respected, heard, and not shouted or shouted over. Because we all need grace. And we all can grant grace.

photo credit: tumblr

In the long term, I hope this place will be a rehearsal room for me as a writer. Even though I will be trained as a healthcare specialist, my first love has been storytelling. Literature and music are fighting over the custody of being my “actual first love” since I can’t distinguish when I fell in love with which, but storytelling encompasses everything I do and I hope to do, and if I allow myself the luxury of honesty, storytelling is my passion. Per Anne Lamott’s advice, in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life I am writing my duly quota of shitty first drafts. This space is the mulch pile of my trying to write.

As far as popularity goes, I don’t really know what my vision is. Number of followers or views aside, I want this place to reach people organically. Some people’s sites have more followers than the mileage on a well-loved Toyota, and even though I admire their influence, I’m not sure how I’d feel if I had that many followers, because it’d be impossible for me to really be me to each person. After a certain point people aren’t who they are but who we make them up to be in our heads, and the line between a person and an idea is thin and drawn in pencil. If anything, I would like whatever I write to have the kind of impact Atticus Finch has on people. His otherwise plain and even boring life aside, his character stays with you.

So thanks for coming. Come back anytime. I will be writing away. For both of us.

For those of you who are empirically inclined, here are the stats for this place to which you traipse over:

China, I am moderately disappointed.

For those of you who have been blogging for a while: what did you set out to do with your blog? Has that changed? And if so, how? Is your blog what you envisioned it to be?

For those of you who have just begun blogging: what are your visions for your blog? Why do you write?

For those of you who visit this space: what draws you here? What do you hope to find? Have you found it?

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One thought on “50 pages

  1. Reblogged this on Travelling Trolls and commented:
    In response to Hannah’s most recent post: you know I need to chime in ;) But I have also been thinking about this lately as the reason I started this particular blog is suddenly coming to a close.

    I, like you, am just past the “50” mark so I am not very experienced in the way of the blogging world. I have also kept a blog for my time studying abroad in Australia, and volunteering in India. Those had the specific purpose of documenting what I was doing so I can share with friends, family, my school, the program I was working for, and whoever else might be inclined to read; but mostly it was just my mom (love her for that!).

    When I moved to Norway, I had no idea for how long I would be here or for even what exactly. However, I decided to go back to the blogging as a way to share my experiences with family and friends. I wasn’t really sure what it would turn into, but like you Hannah, it turned into ‘me’. I thought I would be all cool offering tips on living here, maybe some interesting travel advice and gripping stories of life abroad, but I really didn’t want to have a ‘travel’ or ‘expat’ blog so it never became that. I still don’t think it really has a purpose most days and yet I like keeping one. I think the name is still fitting. A bit nomadic. Mostly this is about following ‘me’ – a traveling troll. Whether it be covering a new destination, a quirk of cultural differences, or the thoughts that arise throughout my travels. Like Hannah, I think I really thought or wanted to offer something for ‘you’, but instead it really just comes back to ‘me’. A safe-haven in cyberspace where I can share my experiences. While I do not seem to have much direction with my blog, I do hope to create a space where anyone can post, comment, or respond as they wish. I like starting a conversation. Whatever I write is just my perspective at one time, but I love looking at the greater picture. And I would certainly love to hear about all of your experiences as well.

    I like to think of life as one great adventure. Maybe keeping a blog about it makes all the in betweens that much more exciting just as I would treat a semester abroad. Not sure what this will become going forward, but I do plan on continuing as best I can. This little nomad is headed back to school in the US in a few months and I think, for myself, it should be handled just the same as when I showed up in Norway or NYC. Just the next chapter of a lifelong adventure.

    And pretty please, everyone send good immigration paper vibes to Hannah. She has written quite a bit about her current visa situation so I will let you get the details from her, but a lot of you out there know what it is like to sit and wait and have complications with visas- it can be a very stressful time and sometimes a little support can make all the difference!

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