Writing feels good.
Writing helps to clarify thoughts in my own mind. Processes and analyses are crystallised, emotions are sorted through, and awareness often asserts itself.
However, when you do write something, and you publish it online, you open yourself up to all sorts of interpretations, judgements and criticisms from random strangers. Constructive criticism is usually always good – without a condescending tone. Discussing interpretations of poetry and comparing them with the original intent of the writer is often enlightening and jovial. But misinterpretations, and first time judgements, on something as personal as writing, can be very cutting.
So then I got to wondering, what do I actually enjoy about writing? Why do I write in the way I write in the first place? What do I enjoy writing about?
I just want to share some love.
I like using my writing to make people aware of stuff going on in the world.
I like to use my writing to show people around the world that the tiny little country of Luxembourg has some soul, even if all that most people see when they visit are “suits”.
I enjoy sharing some happiness in my life with others, whether through a travel diary, poetry or photos.
And I like meeting new people, even if we only ever communicate over the internet.
Moreover, there are so many people around the world who are less fortunate than I. While I have not had the easiest of upbringings, and I have worked since the age of 12 to earn my keep, I have succeeded in becoming that which society deems “a successful young woman”. I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, even a little VW banger outside to drive me to my regular camping and festival trips. I earn enough money that I can take a long holiday now and again – Lebanon, Cyprus, Australia, Canada and Thailand, amongst others. I learned to dive last year – in Bali. Had I not been (forced) to university and taken a couple of risks thereafter, I would not be here right now having had those experiences. And I would not have been able to share them with the wider world.
My cousins in Canada, and my parents in the UK – they will never have the opportunity to do what I have done while I have been living here in Luxembourg the last 6 years. Whenever I travel, I think of them. When I write up stories of my travels, I write for them, so that they can share in my journey.
The cousins in Canada told me once, “You’re so lucky, you live in the centre of Europe – you have so much culture and so many beautiful sights all around you.” When I travel to cities across Europe, I always think of them as I take photos of the buildings, the architecture often breath-taking – no building today is made with such skill as the stonemasons of old made them, and in Canada all I am reminded of is concrete – endless roadways of concrete (slight exaggeration, but that was my first impression). No wonder my cousins yearn to see the bright colours and history of the European cities. And I hope I help them in some way through my blog.
Thinking about the way in which I write, I realised that I also had to look at what sort of things I read.
Reading also feels good.
I often wonder why it is that I can read a particular genre of books whereas my sister has completely different tastes in reading.
My sister, Rana, is a much focused individual. She’s a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, and blogger. She’s not only good with business, but also good with her soul. Rana reads a lot of biographies, and books on the human psyche and behaviours. She likes facts, and drawing on experience from people’s true life stories. She often becomes motivated and inspired, especially reading biographies of people such as John Simpson, Neslon Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi. Rana also enjoys books which explore the spiritual side of life, as well as books on business leadership, of course. She studied English at A Level as well; something I wish I’d had more inclination to do.
I, on the other hand, am a dreamer, an escapist. I love science fiction and fantasy, probably because I believe that there is something much larger out there than us on this tiny planet, and fiction and fantasy of people’s minds often gives us a glimpse of that much larger cosmic scheme out there; it allows me to relate, to take a peak onto the Great Cosmic Game Board in some way.
I cry with frustration and anger when I see news stories about fellow humans killing one another – for what? Power? Land? Politics? Oil? Money? Religion? “Because you did that to me, I’m going to do that to you” sort of attitude, an attitude I am so over. It’s not that I think of humans badly – I just think some of them are really stupid. And I don’t really like “sheep” – which, now I consider it, is most of humanity.
Basically, I have a love-hate relationship with humans.
We have so much potential and are capable of so much good, and yet we are such losers, and destroy all with which we make contact.
But I am straying from my particular point, which is that I find it really hard to sit down and read, for example, a self-help book on how to be more successful, how to be more effective, or what aches in my body link with what issues are going on in my life, or biographies. I also tend to steer away from blogs that are all uplifting and “you are your own conscience, you are your own destiny” type of thing – I guess one could call them “well-being” blogs, blogs that tell you that in order for you to reach this, you have to do all this other stuff.
I’m a bit simpler than that (and you can joke about that statement later on).
I believe in will power.
I believe that if you really want it, whatever “it” may be, you will give it up/get up and go do it/change… whatever. I don’t really believe in processes like “the 12 steps” and such others – because I believe that will power is the absolute key to anything, and if someone is an alcoholic and really wants to stop, they fucking well will. Same with cigarettes. Same with drugs. It’s why I haven’t quit smoking weed in 20 years – because I don’t want to, even if there is a little tiny niggling voice saying it might be good if I took a break now and again (ahem).
I also believe in self-motivation.
That may stem from the fact that I am the eldest of four daughters, and while I love my parents a lot, there was a dark time when we moved to the UK in which I was left to my own devices due to a number of differing reasons, into which I will not delve now.
I often had to pick myself up. There was no one else around to pick me up. There was no one there to tell me that “everything will be fine” that “[I] can do it, if [I] just believe in myself”. Mum and dad had their own problems. I was being bullied at school. It was quite shit really. I hated those first years in the UK. But as we get older, we get over it. Because we have to.
I slipped into a depression, I think, from the age of about 16, up until about 28 years of age. I didn’t even realise that until a couple of years ago.
No one could get through to me.
I was with an abusive partner for the last four years of an eight year relationship.
No one could get through to me.
Until one day, something just snapped inside me and I set about planning my escape.
I literally picked myself up, all my belongings, and got out. And I’ve been doing the same ever since.
So reading any “well-being” blog posts, or self help books or whatever, they always strike me as superficial. They may help others, others may be motivated by their words, but I just cringe inside, going “yes, yes, yes, we know this already”.
So what are my actual favourite blogs on WordPress and why do I really enjoy them?
Peak Perspective Because it’s so damn good to read someone’s personal stories, someone who writes with a real sense of humour, so one is usually smiling or laughing by the end of each post.
Diary of a Traveller Because this guy not only is a free spirit, but also shares his journey with us, through his awesome descriptions and photos (and because I can see myself right there with him sometimes).
In my Cluttered Attic Because this blogger is hilarious, often picking up on personal experiences, or things going on in the world that have caught his eye, his anecdotes often tickle me; he’s also great at communicating with his readers.
Joshi Daniel Because the photos are fricking amazing, and provide me with much joy as I view life on the other side of the world!
Autumn Sky Poetry Daily Because there are so many different poems to which I am being introduced – and I love poetry!
What do I write about?
Anything and everything that makes me FEEL.
My preference is for short stories, for poems, for glimpses into a life, a moment of time. I am finding this blog post, for example, quite hard to write because I am trying to structure all this info in a way that is appealing to a reader. It’s got to flow, and if I mention something in one part, it’s got to be addressed in another part. It’s not a blog post with magic or myth in it, there are no descriptions of beautiful landscapes, or emotions. I’m finding it hard to write this because it’s giving a personal opinion on two things I love to do: write and read.
So I’m going to finish there – my brain is mushed a wee bit, and I really need some lunch… see? I can’t even conclude this post with a descent ending!!
Peace. Jojo xx
Update 01/09/16: this – https://medium.com/the-coffeelicious/%EF%B8%8F-write-it-anyway-f31f3ebed5e4#.7immoawjm 😀 xx