For my regular long-time readers, please know that I’ve recently joined a sort of blogging circle, so for awhile my posts won’t simply be about the things I feel the need to say, but will more often be in response to games and challenges that other bloggers post. (Feel free to visit my new friends’ blogs too!) For instance, Jessica has proposed that we bloggers take a look back to the very beginnings of our blogging, and share our first post with our readers.
Fun idea! But as usual, I have to
write a lot more than is necessary tell a little story first. Because my first post doesn’t say much about the rest of my blog, yet it is the post that draws the most people to my blog through searches. This blog started as a place to dump my academic writing, which I felt was too interesting (and I had put too much work into) to just allow to sit on a teacher’s desk somewhere. So my first post is the research paper I wrote in 2004 for an English class, and I still like it. It’s about healthy eating in our childrens’ schools.
Then in January of 2009, after not posting much more in the way of academic writing, I got the idea to change up the blog and make it more “topical.” I decided it would be about Fitness and Photography.
But, while I do occasionally post about food or fitness (but rarely about photography), I decided that I’m not comfortable sticking with just one “topic.” My interests are too broad. I wanted to write in more of a “newspaper column” format, perhaps throwing in a few personal essays, and fill it out with personal matters I needed to get off my chest. So I wrote what I wanted, with mixed results.
And then I went to Europe, and gained Actual Readers. The quality of my writing suddenly went up, knowing I had an audience that cared. I totally hit my stride toward the end of the trip, with this post from June 10, 2010. I think it might be the best blog post I’ve ever written. But it’s long.
And so I’ll share the next one I wrote after that, which is also up there in my favorites.
I don’t want to give the impression that adversity ruled my trip, or that I was somehow dissatisfied with my experiences or demanding of something better. That’s not my way. It’s my style, to put it in metaphorical terms, to “sense the currents of the universe” and let them guide me. Meaning, I don’t try to fight my way through life, fighting for my own way, for everything to be the way I think it should be. It’s quite likely a fault of mine, to allow the bad with the good, when perhaps a bit more fighting for what I want might have me feeling a bit less restless at this point in my life. But I firmly believe that flowing with the currents of the universe has generally protected me from getting caught up in the rocks along the shore.
It’s a touchy-feely approach to life, I admit. I acknowledge karma as well. And most of all, I try to have a sense of humor. Usually when I start noticing a string of negative events happening, I find it funny in an ironic sort of way. If I’m to be the butt of a universal joke, I’m going to laugh along.
At the airport in Montreál, a young French girl and a young German girl had to go through American customs before making their connections to the States. Both of their flights were already boarding, while they faced endless delays through security and customs. The French girl seemed truly distressed about her circumstances. The German girl threw up her hands and giggled at each turn of events. I’m sure both missed their flights, but the German girl probably stayed healthier. And the stories she tells her friends back home will probably be more entertaining.
I think I write better when I’m feeling some passionate emotion, and frustration and anger are definitely passionate. I also think adversity is interesting. It’s the conflict in a story, the obstacle to the hero’s journey. I enjoy identifying it, building on it, creating a mood and then writing about it.
But the reality of my trip was 98% wonderful, with the 2% negativity being hardly more than annoyance. There was NO point, not even a millisecond, where I wished I was home. I could have stayed and endured Communist-era train cabins and surly checkout clerks and dishonest vendors and rain and gastric distress and dirty clothes and stifling heat and urine-soaked subway stations and bruises and blisters for many more weeks. To be able to see and experience a new place, to see it through the eyes of the residents, through the eyes of history, is just … good.