You can create your own profile on Medium and Hi and Exposure. But there’s an element of renting out space on these platforms, and I’m reminded of the loft my husband and I just moved out of — one unit within a huge, impersonal condo complex — and our quest to create the exact home we want.
As I sit in my loft and stare at empty shelves, bare walls, and more boxes, I think about these things. How I’ve been tied to them for so long. How they’ve followed me from home to home. How I’ve considered them valuable. And I don’t know why.
How raw and honest can the writing in this journal be, then, when I’m already editing for public consumption? If I’m always looking outward, and now view writing and publishing as the same thing?
My favorite kind of “travel writing” — or I suppose writing about place — embarks on an inner journey, and uses a physical location as a diving board into one’s depths, into their mind.
I’ve been wondering what to do with this blog, and I’m leaning toward creating a static front page, pointing to category collections and posts I’m proud of — and moving away from the blog format completely. Preserving the best moments of me, with my posts acting like exhibits in a museum.
Since I was too busy this year reading everyone else’s posts — rather than writing my own — I thought to share some of my favorite reads, publications, and blogs I’ve enjoyed this year.
I recently had a long layover in Seoul and took the train into the city to wander for the day. With twelve hours, I did what I love most: explored a new city on my own, wandered down alleyways, hunted for street art, and got lost.
I returned to Hanoi and Halong Bay, both in the north of Vietnam. As you linger in Hanoi, you become one with it — the pulse of the street, the ebb and flow of traffic.
I remember then feeling I had to rise against it, that Hanoi was something to be conquered. Maybe I wasn’t in the right place; maybe it wasn’t the right time. You never really know with cities. They’re like people, and you don’t always hit it off.
Do we really write to get things out of us? Do we ever shake these things — these things we’re deeply curious about, these things we’ve experienced and have changed us to the core?
But hearing it again, knowing that we’re not invincible — that I’m no longer 20, and he is no longer here — was odd. It’s as if the song died with him.
August was a busy month — weddings, time with family and friends, and exploring cities we’ve never been.
A writer who publishes on various platforms on the web is like an animal peeing in different places. I’m simply marking my territory — expanding the Cheri Lucas Rowlands brand far and wide.
Such different life paths
From each other, and from mine
Yet New York City is like glue
Where these intersections materialize
yet these are the photos
that really tell my stories
What we post in these moments of proclamation on a site like Facebook is a byproduct, a projection. Instead, life happens between status updates.
I guess, deep down, I do enjoy the labyrinthine-ness of the web. I complain about feeling left behind. About not knowing the best ways to do something. But I’ve never really been someone who expects — or wants — to conquer each minute of the day, to be some kind of marvel of productivity.
Then I opened Instagram, ran a filter over it, and posted it — to send it off into the world to be liked and viewed for its moment of glory, and to shortly after join the stream of other Instagrams disappearing into our Internet wasteland.
Somehow, I’ve entered a special dimension — that space only accessible in these sorts of moments — where time truly reveals itself. Where time is more than the past, present, and future; and more than here and there and the line that connects them.
But I think, as we get older and sense that memory is deceiving and strange, we also do this to remind ourselves it did happen. That despite the disconnect that time creates, and any negative residue collected within ourselves, there was joy.
So here I am, molding jet lag into something productive and creative, carving out a bit more time. Squeezing out as much as I can between 5 am and 7 am, as dark turns to light outside of my window and this play time for my mind runs out.
I present to you my past month’s adventures in England and Scotland, via iPhone 4. With the exception of a handful of shots, most of these are Instagrammed.
We met in London again in the summer, and made a journey to beautiful Cornwall. It was then that I realized this something was, in fact, a relationship. And how — despite parting ways once again, flying to opposite sides of the world, and resuming our romance on GMail, Skype, WhatsApp, and Twitter — I was the happiest I’d ever been.
I think of the expiration dates we stamp on produce at the supermarket. How when we place items on shelves, we instantly date their freshness. I think about tweets in the same way: once unleashed for all to see, how long can they sit before they’re irrelevant? Before they’re kicked out of the conversation of now?
There’s just something about dubstep. It is unlike the music I used to go out and dance to. Good dubstep wraps around you. You get lost inside it. Or, it can get lost inside you. It morphs and shapeshifts, it clings to your body, it transforms into the moment.
A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
Yes, I write about not knowing where or what home is.
That something is missing, that here isn’t quite right.
Then I walk around. I explore where I live.
And I’m reminded that things, truly, are fine.
Read Later. I’m unsure what this means now. It’s become less of an action, and now some kind of blessed, magical place. An ideal state far in the horizon, to where I put stories and ideas and information for me to consume and synthesize to make myself a better, more informed person.
Since the day I got married, I’ve changed my name on various profiles online and begun to sign my new name on documents and checks. As I mentioned in my last post, changing my name is a big step, and because I sit in front of a computer screen for most of the day, with my various profiles staring back at me, I’m constantly reminded of this change.
So I’ve thought about what digital spaces I’ll update with this name change, and which ones I may leave alone, and why I choose to make this distinction. I updated my name on Facebook—minus the reaction I had after updating my Twitter account—which makes me wonder about the identities maintained on each of these networks, the distinct spheres of my Internet, and the different levels of public.
I show a similar disinterest in my photography. Process and context are increasingly less significant. I’m preoccupied instead with creating the perfect shot for any given moment—worthy of an avatar, of a Facebook cover photo—and discarding the rest. A single unit is easier and faster to create—and consume.
Sometimes I envision my Twitter feed as rushing water: my presence is a dam, and each tweet is debris making its way downstream. It’s now a challenge to let information simply flow—to let tweets swim by without me seeing or interacting with them.
But I no longer have to rely on looking outward, into a sea of pixels, to sustain this particular relationship in my life. It’s interesting to feel this layer of my Internet now inside my home, absorbing into me, into him, into us. Two planes initially distinct, merging over the course of a year-and-a-half, now intertwining.
Sure, I was collecting things in an online space. But it still felt like clutter, fit for shoe boxes under my bed. And with Pinterest, my aspirations no longer floated in my head. They were right there: discoverable, pinnable, and recyclable by others. Aren’t my dreams supposed to be elusive? Unable to be bookmarked?
But on Twitter, it’s different: favoriting is less about someone else and more about me. The process is about plucking the juicy bits from others’ minds and imaginations and tossing them into a cauldron—a volatile place that mirrors my headspace at any given moment.
Hong Kong is best enjoyed by foot. So I walked. And as I walked, I discovered a city full of street art—slightly deviant, always creative—expressing the exuberance of a young and modern city.
After posting a few well-received pieces on Facebook at the end of 2011, I made a New Year’s resolution—my only resolution—to post tighter pieces, even if that meant posting less frequently. And that’s exactly what I did, and over the past five months I’ve written better stuff (I think) and built a wider readership.
I was delighted when our very own fog, @KarlTheFog, was recently listed among TIME magazine’s 140 best Twitter feeds of 2012. I decided it was time to reach out and befriend this unique being, a muse of sorts, that makes San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area what it is.
While home is hard to define, work is not. I have concrete images of work in my mind, which I’m able to share here, thanks to my iPhone.
Alone, I sobbed. Yet I sobbed with Facebook open—his life revealed and exposed in bits on my screen, his friends spilling tears on his profile. I sobbed at home, by myself, but also with everyone else.