For four years now this has been my routine, what would I do with my Sundays if I didn’t write my blog?
I had planned on starting a blog for quite some time. The purpose was to share stories from my two hometowns Umeå and Seattle. Stories about two very different cities with a lot of things in common. The northern locations in their countries, the cultural arts scene, the Waterfront design, the building cranes, the tolerance and open minded Seattleites and Umebor, the moving forward spirits.
My very first posting was entering cyberspace on October 1 2011 in the Seattle Montlake neighborhood in the lovely apartment I was renting from the equally lovely Dita, only one block up from where me and my family were living 1996-97. And I am not sure it wold have happened right then if it hadn’t been for my back turning acute and I had to stay put on Dita’s couch instead of running around the city having fun.
I didn’t see it as a sign back then (thanks God) that this would be my future life. Staying on a couch instead of running around.
Anyway, I have been telling stories about my two cities. About the Waterfront projects. About the Seattle process and the Umeå process (democracy is strong and we take our time). The traffic situations, architecture, the bicyclists, Refused and Nirvana, developers and preservers, and Swedish politics verses American. To name a few.
I love that. I love doing a good research and get the story right. I used to be a journalist. A public service broadcast journalist. Therefore, every time I am reporting about a city-plannning discussion or a traffic gridlock situation I am feeling like I am doing my job. In two aspects. I am telling about something real and important, hard facts. And I am following my original purpose for Home is Away, Away is Home.
I wasn’t planning on being personal at all, except for stories connected to the original purpose of the blog. But as time passed, life provided me material with great impact on myself, and therefore close to my heart and easily transferred to my fingers tapping the computer keyboard.
And what have I learned about my readers over these years? Well, to a journalist something really frustrating. It turns out only a few are interested in city planning and politics. But hey, you love reading about my misery! When I am in despair over body issues or about not getting the help I need from the city, that’s when the curve on the Blogger diagram is peaking!
Am I surprised? Not really. This is what I am teaching when I am preaching storytelling professionally. Fill your story with people, emotions, images, and stay true. That’s how you can reach someone’s heart. Also, as a former news reporter I know tragedy sells.
So why am I annoyed? Why frustrated? Well, I could come up with something heartwarming or heartbreaking to tell most every week. But I just find it too…easy. A facile point win (does that work in this context?). And I don’t want Home is Away, Away is Home to be an all mushy porridge of emotions and sentiments.
Four years and two cities. What’s been up? Well, the cities are still true to their soul. The engaged citizens and the building cranes at the core.
The Umeå waterfront is pretty much done, the new shiny Snöhetta designed cultural center up and running, liked by some and criticized by quite a few. I think though everyone agrees on the parks running along the Umeå River being a great addition to downtown Umeå, they are marvelous!
Waterfront Seattle is still mostly on the drawing table, but those drawings looks so much like the Umeå waterfront parks, they could be siblings, one of course a lot bigger than the other. When it comes to Seattle though, the change of South Lake Union and the impact on Seattle is what’s loudest.
The 1-year Home is Away, Away is Home anniversary posting was written on the Iceland Air flight taking me from the lower Queen Anne penthouse Seattle view back to Sweden. 2013 and 2014 I was here in my Swedish home at the end of the road, as I am now. The fall has been pretty much as warm as the summer (which was cold), but today I saved the last yellow roses from the garden, as we might be below freezing point to night.
Sometimes I am asking myself why I am still taping my fingers to the computer keyboard every Sunday. I don’t think I have tons of readers - the Blogger statistics is absolutely impossible to understand, so I don’t really know. I guess my texts are a bit challenging. First, they are long. Second, the language. To Swedish readers English can be a threshold. And to English natives I am sure my broken English is petty annoying. I apologize, since I am not able to spend time in Seattle anymore I am missing my English teachers and not improving!