I was invited recently to give a talk/panel (where I was the only participant) at the University Finis Terrae, which means the end of the earth. So I went to the end of the earth today, and you know what? They have a whole lot of bikeracks there. Seriously, at all the universities I've been to/taught at, I've never seen such a vibrant bike culture. Thumbs' up, end of the earthers! (Also near the junction of two bike paths, the one on Pocuro and the one on Antonio Varas, and if you need to ask if I got lost on the way there, then you don't know me at all (and hey, I love that song by the Weepies.))
So there I was at the end of the earth, invited by the professor who teaches a class on blogs and another on interviews, sitting up at a tableclothed table and drinking bubbly water (love the bubbles!) in front of a set of maybe 20-30 people who study at the Journalism school at Finis Terrae, and they asked me questions.
They asked a number of questions I expected:
What do you like about Chile?
How do you think of your topics?
How long does each entry take you to write?
How did you feel when X happened (when X in this case is going to Villa Grimaldi)?
And then some I should have expected:
You've been here for six years, you speak Spanish well, will you blog in Spanish?
Why a blog, and not just a personal diary?
And then there was this zinger:
How do you manage the ego portion? (indicating that I'm fancy, and that I should somehow have an inflated ego because I have a blog that some set of people think is tasty. I mean interesting (oh, but wouldn't it be great if you could eat it?).
This is the part where I'm blogging about being a blogger. So go dry your hair or sort your socks or whatever you do when people talk about stuff that's so navel-gazey and annoying that you'd rather eat the rest of a can of tuna (packed in water) that you didn't finish yesterday. (or is that just me? goodness, its late and I haven't eaten lunch).
For being a blogger.
It's strange, of all the things I thought could happen upon having a blog (people would hate me, people would love me, no one would read me, one ex would stalk me from his home computer, and yes, I know it's you, and dude, that's weird that you still care, or that I'd continue or that I'd stop or that someone might discover me and make me the postergirl for expat blogueras in Chile, or expats, or travel bloggers), well of all of that, it never occurred to me that I would be self-important because I have a blog.
I'll admit. I'm happy you like it. Like really, really happy. It brings technicolor to grey days and great moments of glee when I make connections and feel like a part of a crazy community of people I have met, haven't met, might meet and will never meet. But an ego? about blogging? Are there people who are full of themselves because they have a blog? Do they thrust their hand out to unknown people and introduce themselves and so-and-so, blogger extraordinaire? Me daría plancha. (that would just be embarassing)
I'm reflective. I like to analyze, I like to talk. I also write a bit (a lot?). I almost feel like being a blogger is a bit like being a gamer. You're a dork who sits around with your computer all the time and sees blog entries (or photographs, or whatever it is gamers see) wherever you go. Why would that give anyone a big ego? My blog buys me a couple of cups of coffee every now and then with the mad revenue (as though I need more caffeine). I suppose I like that. But the idea that I might have to wrangle an ego of uncontrolled, helium-filled proportions never occured to me. Maybe my balloon has a hole in it, but I just write because I have to, and I choose to share it because I thought some people might get a kick out of it. You do? Woohoo! You don't? Then go bark up someone else's blog.
I was also asked the question whether I go out and seek new posts, or do things specifically to blog about them. I don't know how to say "seamless web" in Spanish, and that's a term I learned in law school, about how there is no beginning and no end, and it's all connected. I suppose I go out and do stuff because I like to, and I write about the stuff because sometimes it's interesting. But I have not yet run out of what to talk about (see: navel gazing) enough that I think I need to shake up my life and run around so I have something to say. I can say that it always makes me laugh when you see a sign that says "No responsable por robos o hurtos" (Not responsible for theft or damage) becuase hurtos is not a word we use often, and it makes it sound like they're not responsible if your bike (or car) gets a yaya (boo-boo). Which my bike did not, in the bike parking at the university, about which I'm pretty pleased.
So thanks to all you people from the ends of the earth. I really do look forward to your emails with questions, comments and blog links. One thing the students did was call me out on not really reading any Chilean blogs, about which I feel a bit guilty. So I'm hoping they'll push me in the right direction. Education is a two-way street and all that (and a bocacalle (fork in the road), which is a shout out to one particular blogger, and she knows who she is).
But you've got to make your own path.