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15 Mar

Three years and counting – It’s hard to believe, but three years ago today, Liminality went live with little fanfare but great expectations. Since then, I’ve gained a few readers, written several journal entries, put a bunch of photos online, and on rare occasion even put up some fiction and translation.

“Holding the fort down here at Liminality, though, has been like sitting in the grass with a lure dangling in the great stream of information that flows by me.”

I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t really know what I was doing when I first started this site. My primary reason for starting Liminality was that I wanted to write again. I had always loved writing, but I was feeling stifled because I had no outlet for my creative endeavors. So, rather ambitiously, I made room on my site for a journal that I expected to update around twice a week. Well, you can see how well that went. Counting this entry, I’ve posted a total of 107 journal entries for an average of one entry about every ten days, which doesn’t even meet the more modest goal of one entry per week I later set for myself.

But that’s OK. I realized very early on that I wasn’t going to be a daily poster, or even an every-other-day poster, and I’ve tried to make up for the lack of quantity with quality. I don’t know if I always succeed, but I’ve been happy with my efforts.

I have also had a lot of fun with my photographs in the Imagery section, beginning with photos I scanned in and then painstakingly cleaned up and later switching to digital. The switch to digital was a definite breakthrough for me, as it allowed me to stop worrying about how much it was going to cost to develop the pictures and just shoot. Since Liminality first went live, I’ve posted a total of 531 photos in 27 galleries, an average of almost one photograph every other day.

The Writings section has probably been the most disappointing—I have two non-fiction pieces, one fiction piece (the placeholder page for my first NaNoWriMo doesn’t count), and two translations. I don’t even want to think about how many days per writing that makes, but it’s somewhere upwards of two hundred days per piece. Ouch. On the bright side, I did start up a sub-site known as “the Workshop,” where I occasionally let loose and just write without worrying about making sense or being interesting. Still, if there was one thing I wish I could be doing better, it would be the fictional writing.

Despite the occasional setback, long silence, and general lack of productivity, I’m happy with what Liminality has become. Yet after three years of doing this, what I enjoy most about Liminality is not the journal entries, the photos, or the creative writing. The biggest reward has not been what I’ve accomplished at Liminality, but the people I’ve met through it.

I wrote in obscurity for much of the first year. With a few influential links that came together at around the same time, my popularity skyrocketed (since pretty much anything is “skyrocketing” when you only have about two readers). A decent Google ranking for the term “liminality” (improved by my relatively recent piece, “What is liminality?”) also helped, as well as Google’s fondness for my photos (Google became so fond of my photos, in fact, that I decided to block hotlinking). The comments began to trickle in, and I realized that I was connected with the rest of the world, however tenuously.

I’ve met some very interesting people and been introduced to their very interesting blogs, such as the Silk Alley Korean, the Big Hominid, and Letters from Korea. I mention these three in particular because I have had the good fortune of meeting their writers in person and bringing online correspondences into the real world. I’ve heard from numerous other bloggers as well, many whom I hope to be able to meet as well someday.

In addition to meeting new people, I’ve also kept in touch with old friends. Specifically, having Liminality has helped me continue to develop my friendship with That David Guy, a fellow geek with whom I attended Binghamton University a few (ahem) years ago. After I came to Korea, we kept in touch via letters, but letters are slow and our correspondence was somewhat sporadic. When I started Liminality, though, David was inspired to redesign his own site (I’m kind of fuzzy on when he actually started, but judging by the archive it was somewhere around the end of 2001), and we started corresponding on a much more regular basis, griping about writing (or the lack thereof), web design, and life in general. David is one of only two Stateside friends with whom I still keep in touch (interestingly enough, the other friend is also named David), and I know that we wouldn’t be as close if it weren’t for Liminality.

It’s really neat how the internet makes the world such a small place. But having a small piece of that small world staked out for yourself makes it a lot easier to connect to others on a more personal level. Let’s face it, the signal-to-noise ratio on the internet is way out of whack, and even if you were to take out all the noise, there’s still far too much signal for any single person to take in. Holding the fort down here at Liminality, though, has been like sitting in the grass with a lure dangling in the great stream of information that flows by me. Most fish will never notice me, but occasionally one bites and I make a connection with another soul in the stream.

The three bloggers I mentioned above are excellent examples of this principle (actually, I think I probably contacted the Big Hominid first, but without Liminality, we probably wouldn’t have communicated as often as we do). But there have been many other interesting people out there that I have come to know through Liminality. Take Bill Dan, for example. While I haven’t communicated with Mr. Dan personally, the man who designs and maintains his site contacted me to ask permission to use a few of my rock pile photos. This led to an extended correspondence and an exposure to Mr. Dan’s art (which is amazing—go check out his video gallery for some samples). I was also able to provide some photographs and information to flesh out a page on Korean rock piles. I love that I can be a part of something like this.

This is just a small sample of the people I have met, in one form or another, through Liminality. There have been many others who have written to me to tell me how I touched them in some way. It’s really great to know that, yeah, I may ultimately be doing this for myself, but in the process I have managed to touch people, even if only in small ways.

Somehow, words do not seem to do justice to how it makes me feel when I get a comment from someone saying how they enjoyed something on Liminality, or how something I wrote made them think. Maybe this entry is a poor tribute to all of those people, some who have continued on their way in the internet stream and others who have forged more lasting relationships, but it is something I wanted to say. Today, on Liminality’s third birthday, I wanted to pay tribute to the interconnectedness that makes the internet such a great place. Thanks to everyone who reaches back when I reach out into the world.

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