It feels like sending a bottle in the ocean. It's a fun feeling too. It's usually so simple to contact someone on the web, there's always a link somewhere, a twitter handle, an email. But for you Inquiry I couldn't find anything!
Anyhow. When I first discovered this place, over a year ago I suppose, I was baffled to see that some people actually read what others are saying. Even crazier: reply to them in the “bottle in the ocean” way. You definitely were one of these – I wanted to thank you for that and for showing me that simple, meaningful engagement with strangers on the internet is more meaningful than 20 followers that press a like button. If you feel like it, you are invited you for a virtual wine (whisky?) session in that virtual pub!
It's still the morning, but I'm pretty sure it's the the evening somewhere. It may be a Tuesday, but weekend is there soon enough. My life for the last few month (years?) have been a succession of sprints. Running toward something or away from something else, I'm not sure. Perhaps both. It's been almost a year since I've last posted here, and the real reason is that it's because I've been very busy. Busy with life, and busy running toward creating this idea of online speakeasy: a place to unwind and exchange with friends or strangers and talk about your day, while asking the barman for a virtual old fashioned. Or Perrier, not all problems are solved with alcoholic beverage! I've seen deep and meaningful engagement between people on read.write and it's inspired me so much that I wanted to push the concept even further. So that's what I've been developing for months. So if you want to drop by, type midnight.pub and you should see a door. Tell them “miso” sent you and they'll let you in. As for me, I'll go get another coffee.
Have you seen the midnight gospel? If you haven't go, it's insanely good. I watched the first episode without having any idea of what it was. At the beginning I had no clue what I was watching. Is it a cartoon? It certainly looks like it. With its vibrant vaporwave/outrun colors the aesthetics are insanely good. But then the content... Turns out it's a podcast but from “space” — a spacecast. Very deep topics discussed while Clancy the hero tries to survive in the planet he's in. So many things to look at and to listen to. I've got a feeling I'm going to rewatch each episodes a few time.
But I still HAVE no HAVE. No one is counting on me. I get traffic/readers, which I am grateful for, but not HUGE numbers. I don't run ads, I don't make money from this, I have access to no special privileged information nor insight. Just me, hammering out one text line after the other.
And that's great. You don't write for traffic, nor for a readership. You write for yourself. At least that's what I do. There's a certain therapeutic feel in writing, a way to cope through the day and structure thoughts. Even better writing in the open, but not because people are reading, just because you know people are reading it, and it forces you to be open and honest with the world and yourself. And at times you get to have people like me that reply in an open and honest way as well. So don't look at the numbers, they don't matter. What matters is what you write, and how you feel after writing.
This week's not been awesome. I'm not sure where I'm headed, and I don't know what I want. I do feel a lot of sadness not being with my ex-girlfriend. I don't know if this break-up-slash-pause is a good thing or not. The positive is that it's a change for me, and I needed a change. It's a trigger that is going to have an impact. But it's really difficult. And I hate it. But I guess it's part of life. Hey, so I tried meditation but I'm bad at keeping up at it. I'm much better at drinking a glass or two. Sometimes I'm unsure how much of a friend I am with my own mind. You know that feeling when it's 2am and you want to sleep and all of a sudden you start thinking about something you really don't want to think about? Well that happens a lot. Why though?
So I'm cleaning. Both physically and mentally. Put things in boxes. Throw things away. Wash some stuff. There's a sense of progression. I wouldn't say I like it but hey, it keeps me busy. I'm also enjoying more and more reading articles from strangers on this platform. I love to connect and see what others are experiencing. I don't need images or movies. Simple text works better for me. It doesn't need to be fancy as long as it's honest.
So last week for me was about reflecting and seeing how things are. What did I learn? First, that I'm bad a keeping up with something. Second, that my work eats all my time and prevents me from thinking about myself. I've also seen that sad songs don't help me at all. Quite the contrary. Listening to positive songs improves my overall mood. I've also seen that I'm bad at eating well. Man, I think last week I only had burgers and pizza the evening. Thankfully I can eat healthy at lunch. I opened up about my personal situation (breakup) with a bunch of people and everyone's been very understanding, even co-workers. I used not to open up, but I did, and I'm glad.
Now I need to take some time off to reflect and know what my next move will be. Next week I'll see when I can take that time off. Very bad timing since I'm welcoming two people in my team who are extremely motivated. I will try my best to see how I can arrange that best.
Today I've gotten myself back to programming. Python, to be precise. I'm starting a side project of a writing service heavily inspired by write.as, since I like it a lot. I'm curious about the engagement aspect, and want to see what we can built that makes it simple for people to engage and know they've been mentioned. But I want to stay true simplicity. But I'm mainly doing it for fun!
We're close to the weekend and for once I'm really looking forward to it. I have no idea what I will be doing, but most probably nothing. I don't feel like seeing people — I do that all the time — I just want to rest, by myself. I'm contemplating doing a silent weekend. No talking, no sound. Just disconnected. I don't think I'm quite ready yet to do it though. Soon I hope.
This week I haven't really been able to acknowledge my feelings. As soon as the day kicks in it becomes the lowest of my priorities. Every time I'm feeling tired I'm jumping for a coffee. When I'm starting to feel unproductive I put some motivating music. When I start to think about myself I quickly open my work email or slack to see what's new. Yeah. I'm still escaping.
And it's hard not to no? So many things go on the whole day where I work. I come home, am tired, sleep. Repeat. I could literally spend years not thinking about anything else because I'd be kept in the motion of things. Sometimes I even feel good when my work day is over.
But then at night it's a different story. When I wake up it's a different story. My body and my subconsciousness are sending me messages any way they can and I'm not listening to them. I've understood their plea: stop doing that. Stop working so much. There's a whole life out there. But I'm ignoring it. I have a tendency not to change the status-quo. What if things get better in my life? Then I would want to keep working there. But if I keep working there, how can it get better in my life? I'm unsure I'd be able to change my working habits to be less involved. I think it's just who I am.
It hit me on the crapper that people quite simply not wanting to engage is far deeper in the Occam's Razor end zone as an explanation for the lack of engagement than technology not being sufficiently supportive of it, because there's a way when there's a will, and a couple of us demonstrated that magical tech mechanisms are hardly prerequisite to engaging.
What I know is that those who really want to engage, will engage. But that's not a lot of people. It's the minority. Now what's in between is people that might engage, potentially. If it's easy. If it's not too demanding. If there's a way to do it that's simple. But there's no such way here — which is actually pretty interesting. Having the technical possibility to do it in an easier way might increase engagement on the surface, but I'm not sure it would do it in a very meaningful way.
It got me wondering if perhaps write.as as it is attracts bloggers looking to get their thoughts before other minds/eyes without the possibility of dwelling on any past aspects thereof, so as to not have engagement eating up precious time/attention/focus from knitting the next offering?
That's actually appealing. Anyone can write without ever knowing if someone interacted or reacted with what they have written. It's kind of liberating too. We're broadcasting messages in a unidirectional way. Engaging is a hack. The writing from people seem much more genuine than on other places. We're not here to look cool in front of others, just to exchange with our own experience and self reflections. It's like a social network that's not social and offers no real network.
Which, of course, is absolutely fine – although I can imagine engagement attempts in such an environment coming off as anywhere from annoying to offensive, a sort of pathetic coaxing of others to get naked.
That's also the beauty of it.
People not looking to engage can simply ignore it. We're all on our own virtual island radioing (is that a word?) to each other, and we decide if we want to tune-in to other islands transmitters.
Do you listen to sad songs? Don't. Not worth it. It's way too sad! Honestly, these days I've been doing it, not sure why. It's a little addicting actually. I listen to one sad song and then decide oh but that one is even sadder, let's see. Ah but I know! That song, that one is the saddest ever!
What's wrong with me?
Do I like to inflict sadness over myself? Is that it?
But at the same time, this week is about acknowledging feelings. I'm glad I'm keeping a written record of that otherwise I would have forgotten it. So yes, I'm welcoming sadness. Hey sadness, let's be friend and all the bullshit. Let's drink whisky together.
These days I'm really contemplating taking a sabbatical. Taking a few month far away from my day to day. Have a change in scenery. Embrace a new culture for a while. Be with different people. Wait, no, actually, be alone but far away from people I know. I think I sort of alluded to that on one week of quiet.
When I read stories of people traveling like that I find them very inspiring.
When I built this year's wandering, there was no real goal. I had decided to do 5 months seeing Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Then it was Vietnam for two months and then on to Laos for 3 weeks. Now I am at the edge. In a little over two weeks I leave Southeast Asia for almost 7 months of wandering. I am fast approaching the last few weeks here and on 19 October I fold my tent, put away my play things, and hit the road with my camera in hand.
This. No real goal. It really appeals to me. There's a sense of adventure. Far from home, you don't know who you are going to meet or where you will be sleeping. No wonders one of my favorite books in On The Road.
I'm not sure I'd be able to do it. I've lived in a city all my life, and I'm accustomed to comfort. I love the idea but doing it is a whole different story. I could do it for a week or two, but more? Not sure.
So much to see in different corners of the world that I have not.
So much to see and yet most of us never really leave our home town. It takes courage to move.