About Me

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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Humble beginnings

A few years ago, while in the thick of writing my Master’s thesis, I finally gave in to peer pressure and joined the masses of Facebook users. Thinking it a useful tool to keep track of my what my friends were up to around the world, I dutifully logged on once a day (or more depending on how much I needed to procrastinate) and caught up on everyone’s news. I was living on Prince Edward Island, a stunningly beautiful but nevertheless rather remote Canadian province in the north Atlantic. Living as I did, in a rather chilly climate come winter and never having adapted terribly well to the cold, I spent considerable amounts of time during the winter hunkered down in my comfy little house pretending to be hammering out my Master’s thesis. In reality, the only thing I was become a master at was developing new, creative and not-so-creative ways of avoiding working on my unruly Master’s thesis.

One day while waiting out a snow storm (or as they say in Atlantic Canada, being ‘storm-stayed’) and long after my eyes had glazed over from staring at the same paragraph of my Master’s thesis that I had been writing for four hours, I took a Facebook break, and found myself reading status updates. What occurred to me at first was what an interesting method of sharing a slice of thought or snapshot of a person’s present reality status updates are. Sure, they could be mundane, but they could also capture a piece of humour or a reflection or inspiration from lives scattered all over the globe and make someone clear on the other side of the world laugh out loud or get out a pen and write down a thought or idea that they connected to. Status updates are a cross section of social reality across the globe; tiny sparks of connections being created by slivers of images, quotes and experiences. I was impressed by how much could be shared in so little space (there is a 420 character limit). If emails were like letters, status updates were postcards. Being a lover of poetry, and, as one of my friends would put it, “vehemently disliking” postcards that arrive with five meaningless words scrawled across the tiny window of opportunity available to record an experience from halfway around the world, I decided to experiment with my status updates, turning them into miniature electronic postcards. Hey – at the time it seemed like an excellent, and conveniently endless source of procrastination material!

I started recording snapshots of landscapes I was moving through, memorable lines from novels that I was reading, frustrations, hopes, reflections and ideas that I found inspiring. Initially it was just for fun. Then friends started telling me that they were really enjoying reading my status updates. A few told me that when they knew I was travelling they checked Facebook just to read what I was up to that day. Over time many of my friends started telling me I really should start a blog that expanded on my Facebook updates. So after a great deal of persistent urging from a multitude of wonderfully supportive and loving friends who have been reading and responding to what they have termed “poetic status updates” on Facebook for the past few years, I am finally doing it.

I have named this blog Routes of Presence because so much of my experience of life has been about searching for connection with community and the natural world around me. There are many routes to becoming fully present with ones surroundings and with our life’s purpose. Routes of Presence is a record of some of the routes I have drawn and am drawing; the questions I have asked and continue to ask; the challenges I have faced and continue pressing up against, and those precious moments of sheer magic, passion and laughter I share with the incredibly inspiring people I meet wherever I go.

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