After posting sporadically on a blog of the same name over at Blogger, I deleted the blog. When I started that blog, I knew nothing of the practice. I didn’t read blogs, and I had no idea that you were supposed to work on ‘finding your voice’, enticing readers to come to your blog, and obsessing over making money from your blog and tracking page views. I had no idea that bloggers were ‘supposed’ to post regularly. About a year and a half ago, which was several years after I started my own, I actually visited a few blogs and found out that this blogging stuff was serious business. Intimidated by this fact, I realised that I wasn’t doing it ‘right’. I was putting far too much emphasis on creating long, well-researched or carefully thought out posts, rather than just putting content out there. I also became very self-conscious of the navel-gazing nature of blogging, and didn’t want to become the person who posted their most intimate thoughts online but never did anything about them offline. I realised, in short, that I was a terrible blogger.
Recently, however, I find myself missing a space to just write. I love writing; and although a paper journal serves me better than an electronic space ever will, sometimes I just want an easy way to share my thoughts with my family and friends that are so far away from me. So I am back to blogging (for now), but I make no promises. I want to avoid self-involved navel-gazing and musing on my most personal thoughts in a public forum. However, I realise that my time as an ex-pat will not be over any time soon, if ever, and I want a way to bridge the thousands of miles between me and the people I love in the US. This is that space.
This time, I have thought more carefully about the use of this blog, which means:
1) I won’t post the lengthy prose with any regularity. I put far too much time into those posts, and I would rather be outside in the sunshine than staring at my computer screen. I do that enough at work.
2) I will actually try to have coherent themes. My old blog was a mish-mash of food, personal journal and professional musings. This blog will be similar, but more structured in its themes, i.e.
- Science posts: I think about science a fair bit, and sometimes I just want a space to share ideas, articles and concepts I find interesting. Although I often can’t talk about my work specifically, on a daily basis I learn something that makes me go ‘hmm’. Writing about those things, as I did on my last blog, helps me formulate my thoughts, improve as a writer and apply what I learn to other areas of my work and my life.
- Saucery posts: These will be about cooking and eating, simply because it’s a big part of what I do. There won’t be many of these posts, but as someone who cooks every day, sometimes it’s nice to post about the time I spend in the kitchen. In case you haven’t figured it out, ‘saucery’ is a play on ‘sorcery’, and it references both my skepticism and my love of cooking. Plus it makes for some excellent alliteration.
- Skepticism posts: I spend a fair bit of time being skeptical, and little did I know when I started my old blog, there’s actually a skeptics movement! And even skeptical blogs! My blog won’t really fit into that category, but by my very nature I am a skeptic. There’s a lot of richness to be found on a wide variety of topics when you view them through a skeptical lens, and I hope to capture some of that here.
All of these themes will probably include some book reviews within those themes. I spend a lot of my time reading, and I find myself wishing I had a space to discuss those books (rather than just leaving a review online). Most of the books I read fall into the three categories above, so that should work nicely.
Finally, I will probably post pictures and observations every now and again of things I see. If there is one thing that being an ex-pat has taught me, it is that I should never take my surroundings for granted. I have become acutely aware of the value of behaving like a tourist in your own town. Always an inquisitive sort of person, life as an expat has also taught me the importance of observing and questioning – both my own personal beliefs/assumptions, and those of the new place in which I live. Travelling can provide some of the same things, but for me it’s that tension between being an insider and a committed resident where there’s potential for real insight.