NaBloPoMo: Why I Stopped Posting

NaBloPoMo was supposed to go differently – I was supposed to write everyday for the month of November in the spirit of National Blog Posting Month, but  instead I stopped writing and posting on Day 7. The month was going to be about writing in the here and now, and my intentions were to write from Victoria, Vancouver, Bangkok, and some other Thai city.  I  managed to blog from Canada, but then I boarded an airplane bound for Thailand and something happened. There were a bunch of forces that transpired against me; I decided to give in to the here and now, and just live life without blogging about it.

So, why did I stop writing? Why did I stop posting for NaBloPoMo 2016?  Why was I able to post through my 2014 breakup and make it to Day 19 in 2015? What was different about NaBloPoMo 2016?  Why did I drop the ball on Day 8?  I’ve been asking myself these questions, and have come up with some reasons/excuses.

  1. I was told not to write.  On November 8th, while enroute to Guangzhou, I was told repeatedly to turn off my device.  I was mid-way through my post titled, “Giving up my seat for Love”, when the flight attendant spotted me. Stuck between a Bali-bound drinker and a China-bound meditator, I thought I would discretely get some writing in, since I no longer had the luxury of leaning my head against the window. The elderly man in front of me was now leaning his head against the window, as his wife rested her head on his shoulder.  Before the plane had taken-off, through hand-gestures and smiles, I had given up my window seat to this couple. No regrets, but I wasn’t going to just shut off my device with a smile. Well, I did shut it off momentarily, then she caught me again, and I reasoned that my phone was on airplane mode, but she countered that it could still receive calls.  I just looked at her, ready to continue the debate, but then she said, staring at me coldly, “It’s the law.”  With that, I had a flash of prison in China, and powered my device off, forgetting to save my work in progress.
  2. Jetlag hit me. I spent half the month of November in a jetlag induced brain fog. For my first week in Bangkok, I was up before 6am everyday, napping every afternoon, and in bed before 9pm. During my awake hours, I had no desire to sit in front of a screen. I wanted to eat Thai fruit, lounge by the pool, ride motorcycle taxis, hang out with friends, read books, and just enjoy my old Thai life.  Once back in Canada, I was hit with another week of jetlag, and just wanted to enjoy my life here in my sleep-deprived fog. I was a space cadet that was fit to decorate a Christmas tree, but not her blog, with random foggy thoughts.
  3. I felt that I had to censor my writing. I’ve never felt this way before.  My blog is quite tame — I think the most risqué thing I ‘ve ever written about was in Thailand Firsts. However, while I was in Thailand, I made NaBloPoMo Day 3 private at the request of someone close to me.  It was a heartfelt letter that sprung from the prompt, “If you could be completely honest with no regrets, what would you say and to whom?” Funny, I always believed this special person never read my blog. Turns out I was wrong, and after a sleepless night, I moved that post to ‘private’ and emailed her. At this point, I had already decided not to carry on with NaBloPoMo, but this just sealed it.  I want to be able to write freely on my blog.
  4. The heat made me cranky.  The Thai heat did not inspire me to write. I managed to get two 5-kilometer runs in, and then decided swimming would be my new form of exercise. Cooling off in the pool made me calm, but I had zero patience for trying to write a blog post on my cellphone. I could just imagine a bunch of posts that would start the exact  same way, “I’m melting….”
  5. Blogging was not part of my Thai life.  I lived in Thailand for a long time — it will always be a big part of who I am. I was never one of those expats that blogs about all the crazy things that happen living abroad. Thailand was my home, my life was there — it wasn’t crazy. It was when I moved back to the West that I felt off balance and started blogging.  In the spirit of revisiting my Thai life, I didn’t want to blog — I wanted to just be there. I visited my old neighbourhoods, took the bus out to my old university, caught up with my old friends, and enjoyed the simple things — eating fresh mango, speaking Thai, getting a pedicure, floating my krathong. Being back made me realize that Thailand will always have a place in my heart, but it is no longer where my home is.

Those are my reasons, my excuses, for not posting during NaBloPoMo.  Instead of being disappointed with myself because I didn’t post everyday for the month of November, I’m going to rejoice in the November I had to just be in the here and now.  In saying this,  my hat does go off to all the bloggers out there who didn’t stop posting.  It’s not easy — it takes incredible discipline. Well done — I will join you another year :).

Thai house


NBPM #12: Write on

I don’t really have time to think about you, day 12.  I’ve only got one hour left to publish you, so I am sorry that I cannot be more thoughtful.  If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been inspired to write tonight. I’ve been inspired by the writer’s life.  I’ve often thought about doing something crazy, like quitting my job and writing and reading all day long.  I’ve also thought about just immersing myself in another language, another culture. I’ve come close.

I’m an amateur, when it comes to writing.  I sit on the fence; I just dip my toes in. In Bangkok, I joined a women writers’ group, but only made it to two events, before being swept away by a fulltime job. I was also a little disheartened sharing my work with fellow writers. The first night, my writing piece was dissected and critiqued, and I went home wondering if my writing should just be confined to the walls of my journal.  How pathetic, I know.  Rejection is part of the writer’s journey.  Anyhow, this year when I joined ‘Writing your Memoir’ at UVic, I was met with thoughtful feedback that made me want to write on.  But again, a fulltime job seemed to envelop my life, making it difficult to make it to class, and find the time to write.

Blogging here is helping me get my writer’s groove back, and a new teacher in my life is getting me inspired.  She invited me to her book reading tonight, and I wasn’t so sure I wanted to wade through puddles in the pouring rain, with no gum boots and a flimsy umbrella, but I am so glad I did. Initially, I had my reservations (not at a table), when I arrived in the lavish hotel, looking like a drowned rat.  I looked around and saw so many characters. Elegant dresses, funky boots, jeans and jackets, cozy sweaters and leggings, cat-eye glasses, wine glasses, beer bottles, tables of books, indistinct chatter, distinct laughter, subtle perfume, perfect smiles, rain pattering on the glass ceiling above me.  The introvert in me wanted to escape, but then the teacher/writer arrived. She was with her partner, a suave dresser, and her friend, a lovely silver-haired woman with a three-legged dog. They took me under their wing, and us ladies spent most of the night gently (and quietly) critiquing the readings (and writers), from the back of the room. For some reason, I felt right at home with these hip, older women.

When the writer in our midst finally took stage, we all stopped momentarily, and then burst into laughter, with the rest of the audience.  Her book, a memoir of sorts, in honour of her mother, was touching, but never the less comical. Actually, I haven’t read it, but the excerpt leads me to believe it will be this way. The book looks at an aging mother through a lens of compassion and humour. It’s on my book shelf now looking at me, just waiting to be read.

I believe writers have a magical life; they have so many different worlds. They write what they know, and what they hope to know. They create worlds with their words, and dig deeper into themselves, while at the same time urging others to look inward, or outward. They have a writer’s ‘hat’, like a secret spell, and it is theirs alone, it is their voice.  Their stories are part of them, but they’re not selfish, they share them. They are many things, and one part of them is a writer. Sometimes, I think I am a writer.

Rustic flowers