Today I’m writing from the train. I decided to take a short trip to Seattle. My actual reason for doing so is a wee bit complicated, so I’ll save it for a later post. But in the meantime I thought I’d pop on here and write a bit of a life update.
Topic 1: My Crazy Idea
I had a pretty fantastic response to my crazy idea. A nice healthy mix of strangers, family, and old friends welcomed me to their home areas.
I came away from the experience with a new hypothesis: I think southerners tend to be more hospitable/chill with inviting strangers into their homes. Of course I had a small sample size. Do you think this is accurate, based on your own experiences?
I had more offers than I needed, but some of the places offered were pretty close to each other, so I think I should be able to at least spend a little time in most of the places. A few days ago I sat down and made a pretty solid plan for where I’d like to go when. So yeah, if you invited me to your area, I’ll try to get back to you soon about what I’m thinking.
Topic 2: The Problem With Interesting Blog Posts
I promised, a month or so ago, that some interesting blog posts were coming. That was because…
- I was planning a bunch of interesting trips
- I was planning to post about my crazy idea
- I filmed a fun video with Jenny
Some of those interesting blog posts materialized. Some of them didn’t. I missed one of my trips due to illness, and the next one was fun but not that interesting for a blog post. I haven’t found the time to edit the video with Jenny.
Here’s the problem with interesting blog posts: they take so much time.
I used to be extremely careless with blogging. I’d just type up whatever I was thinking, “post!” and done. But ever since my year-long hiatus, I’ve been much more careful.
I just had such a blogging panic that year. I don’t think I ever actually admitted this on my blog, but I actually got into legal trouble for something I posted online. (Everything turned out fine, it was just traumatic.)
Then, later that year, I went to Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute (SMBI). I’d gone to SMBI four years previously and loved it, which made me kind-of hype it up in my head. I thought that after all these years of college, I was finally going to a place where people understood me. And then I had a bit of a culture shock because I’d forgotten how Mennonite Mennonites can be, LOL.
But roughly 10% of the students admitted that they knew who I was from my blog. And that made me panic a little. Here I was, missing all these random Mennonite nuances and doing the wrong thing, and people here know who I was. I wasn’t just getting things wrong, I was disappointing people by not being the kind of person they thought I was.
(To be fair, it was my own panic/culture shock that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, not them.)
After these two experiences, I wasn’t sure I’d ever blog again. I only did because I began to feel that God really wanted me to do it.
But it just completely changed my attitude about blogging. I used to just really like the feeling of people reading my stuff and thinking I was interesting or whatever. After the hiatus it became much more about blessing people. So I put a lot more effort into my posts.
Also, I was just way more aware of how I was coming across. I had this new fear of people misunderstanding me, of being too vulnerable, etc. I know that sounds bad. I know all the whoevers that know things about things say you need to be vulnerable. But for me, I had to learn the opposite lesson. I had to learn that I don’t owe the online crowd anything, and I don’t have to share more than I want to share.
The consequence of this is that blog posts take a really long time. I write and re-write them because I want them to be the best they can be, so that they’ll be a blessing, but at the same time I only want to say the things I want to say.
I thought that once I quit my job to become a “real writer,” I’d post more on my blog, because I’d have so much more time to write. And I do have much more time to write. But I’ve run into a new problem, which is that writing is my job, and blogging doesn’t earn any money. So it’s hard to allocate enough time for it.
Topic 3: Writing
I’ve been far more disciplined with writing, and gotten far more writing done, than I thought possible for someone as naturally undisciplined as myself. Because this: If I don’t make it work, I will have no money.
Right now, my biggest issue is precisely what I assumed it would be: Staying at home all day puts me in a weird head space. I mean I do my fair share of social activities, but I miss that feeling of getting up every morning and going to school or work.
Any and all ideas to alleviate this problem are welcome.
Topic 4: Summer
Summer is such a strange time in Oregon, and I wonder if it’s this way in other places too: Our boring little community suddenly gets this huge influx of new people to drive combine or work on the “hay crews” (actually straw crews) or sack seed or whatever. But you never meet these people because no one has a social life. Everyone is working 24/6.
If you’re not traveling over the weekend you might see someone new in church on Sunday, and say “hi,” and play a bit of Mennonite game. And then never see them again because harvest is so short and intense.
Topic 5: Writing On Trains
I am a huge fan of writing on trains.
I realize this turned more into a “random thoughts” than a “life update.”
Yes, the train is a very relaxing place to do any quiet activity, especially in the viewing car for inspiration.
What if you would go somewhere to write, like Max Porter’s?
With approximately the same problem of not having to go anywhere to work, I’ve taken to setting a consistent time to pray in the morning on working days, and considering it an appointment I have to get up for unless I’m ill.
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I’m not sure if this is any comfort at all, but I laughed a lot at the part where you said that you’d forgotten ‘how MENNONITE mennonites can be!” and how you had trouble missing nuances and stuff that you weren’t expecting to. I do not have a mennonite heritage, but for the first 12 years of my life or so I was very mennonite, and then we left and my family just sort of bounced back into sort-of-baptist and I was a straggler in that transition. I’ve just started attending college and I’m at a very frustrating in-between where I have NO reference to pop culture and also didn’t spend enough years in mennonite culture to pick up all of those nuances. It’s like I just don’t know how to have a conversation unless it’s with my siblings who also have the crazy background that I do (there’s a lot more nuance than ‘we were mennonite and now we’re not’ as all personal stories tend to have.) Anyway, I identify with the struggle and I applaud your valid personhood and your crazy-good writing, and your perspective which is a rare one to stumble across. If you’re ever in the northern part of West Virginia, look me up! You’re more than welcome to come visit. We can sit and drink tea and be not-quite-mennonite and not-quite-anything-else together. 🙂
Thank you Annie! I’ll have to take you up on your tea offer, that sounds amazing 😊