One year in cyberspace – One year ago today, Liminality was launched into cyberspace, yet another bark on this ocean of information. In the past year I’ve managed to write thirty-three entries, covering my thoughts on Korea, my family, my faith, my studies, my work, and this site itself. True to form, last week I suffered from one of my more-or-less regular identity crises and, according to one reader, at least, it made for good reading.
Believe it or not, but I haven’t done everything I set out to do when I first launched this site. I had a set of “starting content” in mind, which included my background story, one of my translations, and a bunch of pictures. One year later, I must admit that there are still two things I have not gotten around to putting online: pictures of our 2001 trip around the States, and the travel journal I kept while we were in Thailand during the winter of 2002-2003. These are obviously things I’m hoping to get done this year, in addition to some other things as well (like the short story I promised a while ago).
It doesn’t seem like it has been a year, though. It seems like I’m only getting started, and I suppose that’s a good thing. I am a planner—I like planning things, mapping out the details, doing research, etc., but when it comes to actually execution I have to push myself. It just doesn’t come as naturally for me. That’s why, while the first step is obviously important, the second step is just as important, if not more important, at least for me.
As I wrote in my second journal entry, it was the second step of this journey that really terrified me. I had gone and done it—I had launched the website, weighing anchor on everything I had been working on for months. Once I was underway, though, I realized that I didn’t really have any clear idea of where I was going. I bounced back and forth between topics for a few weeks, and then my grandfather passed away, and I wrote was probably my most emotional journal entry to date. By the next entry I thought I was finding a groove of sorts, and then I decided to experiment and ended up with my least favorite entry of all (if I were going to wipe out a single entry, it would be that one—too dull, too flat, too contrived).
After that, though, I didn’t worry so much about what I was going to do with Liminality, and just wrote when I had something to say. In general, my entries can probably be classified into two types: planned and unplanned entries. All my entries are, of course, planned to some extent, but what I call “planned” entries here are those topics that have been flying about my brain and which I have finally decided to set down in ink (so to speak). The “planned” entries are generally born with the thought: “Hmm... I think it’s time for a journal entry—what shall I write about?” My “unplanned” journal entries, on the other hand, are those that I have not really thought about in advance—they just kind of happen. I write them not because I want to keep to a schedule, but because I just have to get them out of my system.
I never really thought about my entries in this way until David mentioned that he preferred my unplanned entries to my planned entries. I suppose it is the immediacy and freshness of these entries, as well as the rawness of emotion. I cannot help it—I tend to be structured in my thinking. So, even though I may not organize notes or write an outline for a journal entry, it may end up looking that way. With my unplanned entries, though, the raw emotions I deal with override my tendencies toward tidiness. I try not to edit myself when I write, but I know I do much of the time. When I write unplanned entries, though, my emotions burst out of my heart, shove my internal editor into a closet, and just make a general mess of things. And I guess that’s what makes these entries appealing—the rawness, the untidiness, the freshness.
I wish I could say that you will be seeing more of the unplanned variety in this coming year, but I just don’t know—it would actually be quite contradictory if I did. This entry was something of a planned entry in that I knew I wanted to write an entry today, but it was also unplanned because I had no idea what I wanted to write about. I had a few false starts—I erased a few paragraphs because I kept running myself into walls—until I started off on the current train of thought.
It’s funny because, when I launched this site, it was all about me. Even last week, I reiterated the fact that I was writing Liminality for me and me alone, and readers were secondary. That may in essence be true, but I guess my readers (however few they may be) are more important to me than I may have admitted. David’s innocent comment about my last entry, for example, was enough to start me thinking about what I just wrote above. If I wrote only for myself, I would not care about what anyone thought, but I do care when someone says that they prefer one entry to another. I ask myself, ‘What did I do in this entry that I didn’t do in the other one? What was it about this entry that was appealing?’
I was also surprised to see visits to my site skyrocket after a post to the Korea Life Blog. In the past four days, I’ve gotten over four hundred referrals from that site alone (yeah, I think I’m getting the hang of these server log thingies). I don’t know if the traffic will continue, but it’s getting harder and harder to joke about the “three people who read my site.” I may be no Zeldman, but I do have an audience, and I can’t ignore that. I want to write things that people will enjoy reading. Maybe I didn’t want to admit that until now, but I think it is just as important to me as writing for myself.
What does the next year hold for Liminality? Some good journal entries, good writing, and good pictures, I hope. More importantly, I hope to learn more about myself, and I hope to continue my tradition of “brutal honesty” with myself. It has been a year of exploration, a year of facing the reality of myself, a year of growth.
In the other direction, I’ve been able to meet some interesting people, and I hope to meet some more in this next year. I can’t deny it—the thought that more people are reading Liminality is exciting. The thought of sharing so much of myself with people I’ve never met before is at times unnerving, but perhaps by sharing these pieces I can touch others, and inspire them to share pieces of themselves in turn.
Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to seeing how Liminality will grow, and I hope you do too.