Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I have been to the end of the earth (Finis Terrae)

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:

Why Chile?
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.


Annje said...

Cool post! and cool that you got an invitation like that...and intersting ego question. Was it that you must have developed an ego (post-blog) because people like your blog or that you must have an ego (pre-blog) to think that anyone would want read what you have to say?

Dani said...

Me gustó que escribieras sobre tu visita a la universidad. Y más me gustó la mención al final. Encontré muy interesante nuestra conversación y me gustaría conversar más, a pesar de que hablo muy rápido, puedo hacer un esfuerzo.
Me entretiene mucho tu estilo de escritura, con un humor muy particular, casi como una conversación entre amigos. Espero que sigas escribiendo sobre Chile para yo seguir sorprendiéndome de la cotidianidad de mi país.
Nos vemos!

Eileen said...

Annje, I suppose it was that now that I get a bit of play/coverage/traffic/scooby snacks for the blog, how do I make sure I keep my feet on the ground. Though the other question is equally telling, n'est pas? Oooh, more blogging about blogging. And a topic for chitchat when you finally get down here (I feel like I've been waiting for forever!).

Dani, mira tú, llegaste ya! Que bien que quedaste al final a hablarme. Cuando hablaba al curso sobre que me gusta el Chile creativo, con harto energía, hablo de justamente la conversación que tuvimos, la energía que se sentía, que las ideas fluyen. No me molesta que hables rápido, la verad es que estoy acostumbrada. A fin de todo, nací en Nueva York, y en me familia igual hablan a mil. Yo soy la calmada!

Y no te preocupes, seguiré escribiendo de Chile, por hartos años mas, creo. Y definitivamente podemos seguir hablando! Gracias por comentar!

B-renzs said...

Great point about Chilean blogs... I feel sometimes overwhelmed (and stoked) about all the gringa blogs I read, but it would be interesting to dive onto the other side. If you find any, might you post their links?!

Renée said...

What you wrote comparing bloggers to gamers is funny and actually pretty accurate. I guess deep down some of us are just a bunch of nerds with computers.

And p.s. - you should totally start introducing yourself as a blogger extraordinaire.

Sara said...

I saw that on twitter and I was wondering how it went for you. Glad to hear that it went well:)

Oh and an inflated ego? You? You are one of the most down to earth people I've met. EVER.

shantiwallah said...

I remember my Japanese students reacting like I must be really famous to have a blog. "Really?! on the internet?! Our teacher is an expert!" I'm not sure what they thought I was an expert at, and OK, some of them had never used a computer before I made them (although they are texting fiends) but that was not the reaction I was expecting.

On the other hand, for people who exist outside of the blogosphere, I always wonder if they worry that we write-a-holic bloggers will reveal details about them that they don't want revealed. Like family secrets, perhaps? Have you ever wondered if people guard what they say to you in case you publish it? I have (wondered, not published)

Pam said...

I find your blog tasty; I keep coming back for language snacks. So there's that.

I think some bloggers DO think they're all that with their fancy pants blogging, but whatever, I'm with you, it's funny to imagine that blogging, something anyone who can string some words together can do, would lead to ego rather than a sort of sheepishness (oh, I waste 20 hours a week blogging, yeah, maybe I have a "problem").

Anyway. Hi.