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Breaking Radio Silence

I’ve been in Xi’an for approximately 8 weeks.

For approximately 8 weeks I’ve been thinking about how I should be blogging. Blogging for my, like, 20 avid readers. And all those random web searches. Well, not them. No, I don’t owe them anything.

But there’s been a problem. A long-lasting eight-week problem.

It’s not what you might think. No, not writer’s block.

No. I know exactly what I would like to say.

I just don’t know HOW to say it.

It’s a question of tone. I don’t know what tone to take. There are many options.

I could be humorous. Making light of everything that’s been going on or not going on. This is common for expat-type blogs. Life abroad is so great! I never ever regret leaving America. Homesick? Never!

I could dig out the ‘ol silver lining. Things haven’t been so hot lately, but—hey!—at least I found some raspberry jam!

I could be academic. In the five weeks since the subject has been in Xi’an he/she has experienced some of the traditional stages of culture shock.

I could be spiritual. Thank you, Jesus, for helping me through these first challenging weeks of my exciting new adventure in China.

I could be emotional. ( )

I could do any of these. I could do all of these. I have weighed the pros and cons of each and have come to no clear decision.

On top of the tone problem there is the problem of how you—the reader—will respond to each of those tones.

To the humorous tone you might be slightly amused. Laugh out loud, shake your head and think you are actually missing out on something great. Which would be more than slightly misleading.

To the silver lining I’m more worried I might not be able to carry it off convincingly and the emotion would bleed through, leaving you with a somewhat unsettled feeling. What exactly is she trying to say here?

To the academic you’d probably be bored. And that’s not really my goal. I might wish that it be understood as a subtle cry for help, but I don’t think that anyone has been analyzing my writing style enough to detect such a disturbing digression from the norm.

To the spiritual you might nod approval or disgust. In either case I will feel slightly dishonest.

To the emotional you might respond in any number of ways. You might be shocked. I can’t believe she wrote that! You might be contemptuous. Oh, please! Get over yourself! You might be amused. Someone’s regressing. You might pity me. Which isn’t what I want. You might have some helpful suggestions for me. Which I’ve probably already heard.

Believe me, I’ve thought about this.

So the question then becomes am I writing for you or am I writing for me?

I wish I could say that I write solely for myself, but it’s not true. I journal for myself, yes, but blogging is essentially public. And I am forced to realize that I am far too concerned with your possible reaction and response to my writing. I wouldn’t want anyone to be displeased with me. I wouldn’t want anyone to be angry with me. Or—God forbid—anyone to think less of me. End of the world.

Yet despite my concern—my fear even—I have this intense need to communicate—to share in a public space, to communicate with other human beings, to offer my experiences in as dispassionate and un-hyped a form as possible for your review and critique hoping—desperately—that when the tale is told there will be agreement from my public, my readers, my friends, that my experiences are real, my feelings valid, and my responses reasonable.

Which would be tremendously appreciated as I am sort of falling apart here.

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4 thoughts on “Breaking Radio Silence

  1. Zoe Van Gundy says:

    Amy, I love everything you write! Not only is it a way to feel connected to you even though you’re on the other side of the planet, but your writing also always feels raw and real and honest. One thing I like about your blog is that you (perhaps unbeknownst to you) actually manage to intertwine all of those tones in a balanced manner. We get a sense of a human being, who is not always one thing, but always all things: humorous, emotional, intelligent, scholarly, and trying to find a silver lining (just like the rest of us). Keep it up, sis, you have an appreciative audience here! Love you!!

  2. Josiah says:

    Amy, I have enjoyed reading all of your posts. As I read them I always hear your voice coming through and it makes it feel like I’ve had some conversing with Amy time (sans the cup of black tea and a Hobnob).

    Of course I enjoy your posts that make me laugh out loud, but I also want to hear the other side of your experience living out there. As your sister has already pointed out, you do a good job of balancing each of these tones in your writing. I love that you have taken a moment to poll your readers.

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