Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One thing

One of the reasons I used to be so good about this blog is because I WAS a writer. I don't mean that I'm not a writer now. I'm pretty sure I will always be a writer. But back then, I defined myself as a writer. Being a writer was the essence of my very soul. Or something like that.

So it's not hard to imagine, when you place that much importance on something, that it's easy to focus completely on it. I wrote a lot. Blogged a lot. Tweeted a lot. Made lots of writer friends. It was great.

But it's not all I am.

Even longer than I've defined myself as a writer, I've been calling myself a linguist. In university I double majored in French and Spanish. At my university, all Faculty of Humanities students had to take at least basic foreign language courses. Bi- and tri-linguists were nothing impressive. But in the regular world, people are really impressed with speaking multiple languages. Even moreso now I've clawed my way up to 5 languages.

But I couldn't be a linguist and a writer too. Ironically, it's a problem that drives me crazy about Japan. I always say that in Japan, you are only allowed One Thing. Like me reggae-crew friends. Their cars are decorated in reggae colours, they always play reggae CDs, they pretty much only go to reggae events. Life = Reggae.

That's not me.

All my life I've been interested in many things. And all my life, I've tried to tame that in favour of the old prevailing school of thought. You know, the one where you pick something, master it, spend 33 1/3 years doing it and then retire and spend your days cruising Alaska.

For years I fought to pick one thing. And then I did. I was a writer. I was lining all my little duckies up for my great writing future. Until I decided to stay in Japan. Which, in my books, meant being fluent in Japanese. Which, at my level (of Japanese ability and obsessiveness), meant 6-8 hours of study at least 5 days a week. In addition to all that periferal stuff, like work. There wasn't any room for writing. I was a linguist. I WAS A LINGUIST.

After almost a year of burying myself in foreign languages, my writer soul is beginning to surface. And I'm beginning to understand that I don't need to be one thing. I can be a linguist and a writer. And any number of other things I choose to be. Sure, I don't want to go off the deep end and dilute my efforts so much that I don't make any progress in any of my endeavours. And for now, I'm still concentrating more on the linguistic side than the writing side. But I'm still determined to write again.

Forgive me. It's all new. I struggle a lot with not fitting the mold. And now, I'm trying to accept that I won't ever. It means that this blog may won't be the same as it's been before. And right now, I can't say exactly what it will be. Or what my writing future holds.

But this I know for sure:

I am not one thing.


Marsha Sigman said...

No one really is. Embrace it, my friend.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I think it is good to be more than one thing!

I love reading your blog and learning things about your life in Japan. Only allowed one thing, huh? Do you think this is true of Japanese culture over many generations, or just the mindset of the current crop of young adults?