A Travellerspoint blog

July 2007


I had an editor look over this. Also I stole it out of a letter I was writing.

(From a letter 7/20/07)
As you are an avid blog reader, you know I have decided to be a writer. I assure it is only out of necessity.
It feels grandiose to call myself anything at this point. I am rather unformed as a person. Which is, I suppose, a strength. I can change and drift and still be the person I always wanted and expected to be: myself.
So when I say that I have decided to be A WRITER. What I mean is that I have a scheme for how to string together all the fractious pieces of my life and it involves something I find challenging, interesting and - at lengths - inspirational (to encounter, much less produce).
Moreover, I feel blessed to have found this practically and deliberately as opposed to in a flash of brilliant inspiration (especially since brilliance and inspiration tend to flash in and flash right back out again).
I'm not reaching for my full creative expression (though I may very well find it), I don't aspire to fame or acclaim (thought I fantasize about both) and I don't think I am out to prove something (except always to myself).
I think only that I'd like to have a life worth writing about and as long as I'm planning to, I might as well be the one doing the writing.
I think I have an ability to talk, and maybe a gift for explaining and teaching. I think a little differently than most people I meet and I think I see the world a bit differently and I think altogether that might be enough to hold people's interest for a few pages; enough to string me along in a life made up of discontinuous pursuits and tangential outbursts of enthusiasm. At least, I hope so.
And if that won't do it, there is always LCD (Least Common Denominator) hope.
As in: less articulate, less moral, less motivated people with less support and less actual interest or inspiration have (I assume) succeeded in this same arena.
So the real question becomes: Why not me?
Of course, there are a number of good answers to that question. But in the meantime, the question has an echo of koan like profundity that (false though it may be) should allow for at least a few years of youthful rationalization. And, if it wasn't clearly apparent, I am nothing if not young.

Posted by Natyb25 03:37 Comments (1)

I found a Profession!

And surprise! It pays nothing!

-17 °C

I have reconciled the issues that arose in my previous entry in regards to liking too many things (or at least conceived of a potential unifying thread).
The obvious solution is a simple one:
I will continue to do all of the things I like. But - I will get paid to write about them.
But wait! I can hear that very same voice in your head that echoes in mine!
WHO?? Who will pay me? And for what kind of writing?
(and HOW?? How often will I reuse this exact call and response narrative crutch?)

At this point, I consider those both unimportant details.
Given my current level of skill and serious engagement with anything that could be considered real life, I think a little unmerited, idealistic optimism is more than valid right now. I think it might even become a character trait.

I believe very strongly, from my own reflection as well as the majority of success stories that I have encountered that achievement and fulfillment (thought not balance) lie with finding what you are best at - and most passionate about - and doing it.
This is the problem at the base of my immense pleasure at doing nine different things in wildly different directions.
I like a lot of stuff. And so how can I choose one that I like best? And what exactly am I good at anyhow?
And when I consider it, I see lots of smaller stuff that I think I am good at. But they all involve the same skill: Articulation.
I think I am very good at it. At expressing and explaining myself and the world.
So thats what I am going to do.
And the laundry list of random and unrelated things are exactly the sort of experiences that merit writing about.
So I am doing the best thing that I can think of to engender my development as a writer. I am writing. Constantly.
My blog, my letters, my personal journal, a development/economics journal and a creative writing journal are all components of learning to more deftly wield my words.
I am pleased and alternatively excited and terrified to contemplate the tasks that await me should my capricious enthusiasm for this work endure. In the meantime, I get to practice.
Your job is to start networking for me.
Oh, and someone find me a mentor already.

Posted by Natyb25 00:59 Comments (0)

Castle in the Clouds

Talai...is Swahili for home

I have gone and seen and returned to report.
My site and my home are beautiful.
Talai sits outside the city of Kabarnet at around 8000 feet.
The day I visited, the clouds were in, so there was not much to be seen.
What is descriptive about this is the fact that
a) CLOUDS were in. Indicating in very concrete terms just how high up my new home is
b) without clouds I could have seen Patricks Kneeley's site, two hours down the mountain.
But what is there to say?
I visited for long enough to vaguely meet and greet a kind and energetic group of older men. To see the dispensary where I will be attached and to see my house. Or at least the outside.
In short, I know almost nothing. Most of my time was spent in Kabarnet with Ministry of Health supervisors whose actual part in my daily life will be minimal.
What is nice, is finding that this vacuum of specifics into which I am travelling has kind of calmed me down.
It is allowing me to approach these last few weeks of training without expectations or pronouncments.
I feel generally peaceful. I am interested in, but not stressed about the things we are learning.
I guess I just feel like there is time for everything.
I feel very pleased with the idea of spending the first few weeks doing nothing more than setting up my house and meeting the neighbors.
With finding the schools and churches and talking to people about life in their village.
Learning how to live there.
And, better than that, that is what Peace Corps is telling me I should be doing. The overwhelming message, again and again, is that sustainable change, of even the most minor nature, is preferable to a slap dash approach. And so spending the first 6 months just passing the time and integrating is the very best way to do my job.
That is what I am looking forward to doing. In fact, I may have begun doing it already. My sense of letting things move by at a slower pace, of prioritizing without an urgent pile is infective and enjoyable.
I feel as secure and comfortable as I have since I arrived.

Posted by Natyb25 08:05 Archived in Kenya Comments (4)

En Route to Site

With Fast internet in Nairobi

I updated a photo gallery in smugmug.
These are photos from Philly to Nairobi to Kitui to Zambanyi Rock to Frisbee at the Primary school to playing with puppies.
I will be headed to my site for a preliminary visit come Wednesday.
I find out tomorrow where I will be living.
Wish me luck.

Posted by Natyb25 03:42 Comments (0)

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