Today I read back in Day One to a year ago and it was fun to find this was the day I had written down an initial idea about writing a gently fictional and somewhat factual account of vagabonding around. Going West was born from a discussion with my friend Paul at a coffee shop in Oakland California in 2021. I’ve probably written this before but he described this period in his life where he wanted change. He was young. Life seemed to not present challenge or fun or different times. That would be change I am gathering for Paul. He left the house with a backpack. Walked away from a nice family home with a nice family to a interstate highway and held a sign that simply said,
Many of the directions Paul described were not west but the operative word was the going. As we drank coffee and talked about hoboing around, we shared stories of life on the road. Going as one pleases. Going.
Later after the coffee as perhaps I was riding the Amtrak east, I came up with my version of Going West. My version would be more than ever focused on the going. I would combine fact and fictional accounts which would let me exercise writing and story telling as well as discuss physical places. Of course Southeast Asia figured prominently then because I had not reached Mexico yet. I worked on the stories as I wished and published some of them on a blog first running on Ghost. I am not sure how many articles I published there but there seemed to be a few things wrong with writing the stories and posting on a blog then.
So I then moved to using Obsidian Publish and having my stories develop there as they were updated. Linked to each other, the door open so to speak, so others could see the writing. This did not work either for me because I came to realize, I am not a note taker or care about digital gardens whatsoever. This required some time writing and like many human endeavors, we never realize until we are into something whether it is right or wrong or even indifferent. Anyways, Obsidian Publish was fun and expensive and I found out that this went too far the opposite way for me in the sense I wanted to feel I was done with a thing or things. I wanted then to publish the works but maintain the periodical essence of the whole thing which seemed to encompass Paul’s stories and mine. The idea has been and will be that the writing is ongoing and fluid and I will publish the stories. I just need the format that blogging offers I have come to realize and not the “never done” aspect which both made me happy and drove my crazy.
As I had written here I decided to take a break from my Mastodon instance to look at the writing but I did not realize then that it was close to a year of writing. Now I am at the point of going back to the stories (again) and preparing them to publish on my new WordPress blog. The idea then is to publish them using Ulysses since for me it has been the best tool to bring the stories to life. Piece by piece of course.
So when? When will I start? This is always the question like when I started writing after jotting down ideas perhaps in an Amtrak train or a hotel room in California in 2021. Possibly I will start soon. I do know I won’t be going back to Mastodon any time soon because it simply stopped working for me. It took some time away from both blogging like this and wanting to chart my path the last weeks in Mexico and then leaving for Asia. All of it though is part of the whole thing Paul and I discussed a year ago. The going.
What it all ends up to be I don’t know because it is about the going and not arriving. Stories and people and places and moments. I will be sending Paul the link to the blog since he enjoyed reading it before. His wife and I go back to the 1990s working in IT at the GAP and then at Linuxcare and to a non profit where I consulted. Time has flown by and Going West has always just started.