This is the 100th post of La possibilità di un’isola, and I feel somehow it needs to be celebrated. The name of this blog comes from title of a novel by Michel Houllebecq, the first book of the french novelist I read, a book that I loved. I chose it because it is the perfect explanation of what was happening in my life: in 2009 I was leaving my country and my profession as an organisational psychologist to go live aboard Velero Bicho in the archipelago of Los Roques. The islands were real, this life change was a new possibility for me and this blog a way to keep track of it.
Amongs all the changes during my life time, writing has always been a constant. A variable constant to be fair, as the process is definetely influenced by life events, including periods of drought followed by more prolific ones. I have always loved to write, and I have always being scribbling something, on the pages of notebooks of different size and colors, sometimes on a computer, trying to compose something “serious”.
I think my first real attempt was a short story I wrote for the class journal when I was 12. A short sci-fi novel imagining a scientific expedition to Mars. It’s funny to read it now, but it is also impressive, for the scientific details I was able to introduce at that age. Then I won a the first prize in High School for creative writing, with a short story about the dilemmas of culture and counterculture, seen with the eyes of a high school student. The prize was 100.000 lires (roughly 50 euros, a bit more considering inflation) and a copy of Moby Dick. Who could tell that a dozen years later I bought and refit a sailboat in New Bedford, the whaling capital of the world and the city where Ishmael, the protagonist of Melville’s novel, wakes up in an inn at the beginning of the book.
The university time was a moment in my life when I clearly decided that writing wasn’t going to give me a job and so I hoped that Psychology would. Writing was serving academic purposes, with occasional side projects like articles for self-published magazine with a group of friends, co-writing in a theatrical play, research articles about adult learning with Ariele. When I moved to Torino for work I took a class of creative writing with Marzi at Verba Volant. That’s the only time I invested money in writing, but then I left for the other side of the Atlantic, and things became busy.
This wasn’t the first blog I opened. The first one was a travel blog about a holiday trip to India, a perfect alternative to email to send information to friends an family. Then I took part to a collective blog. With fellows gathered from Ariele’s outskirts we started Leaderlessorg, an intellectual exercise to figure out how the web 2.0 was a revolution in the way people relate to each other, with a focus on the work organisations. None of these blogs were successful or gave me money, they were a new form of communication I was discovering.
Writing takes time and effort, and sometimes I have to sacrifice it from work and other duties. And it’s not always a pleasure. It can be rewarding and excitng when everything flows, but for the most part it’s made of unsatisfying attempts of moving forward, like placing heavy blocks of concrete in order to make a building. The decorative part comes later, once the graceless but solid structure is in place.
This is my 100th post in more than 5 years, not a great average. I write when I can, and when I have something to say, or a content to share. In these last years I moved through different countries and switched the language of my posts from Italian to English, because my public became more and more international, and also because it is a good practice for a non native speaker. I rarely write in italian anymore, a language that I am starting to miss.
Blogging makes writing more and more immediate, fast pace. According to experts, you are required to give fresh content every 2 or 3 days to have a decent traffic, but I have never been able to achieve it. After all nobody is paying me, nor telling me how my life should be lived, but it’s clear how today the competition to get the attention of internet users is very hard. The contents are shortening, videos become the favorite media, everything is compressed to the minimum, up to the 140 characters limit of Twitter and other Social Media, modern haikus for distilled thought. “Reading requires time. No one cares about anything anymore, we have all become frivolous and superficial” a friend of mine told me few days ago, when I asked him why my blog had so few readers.
Over time, I tried to focus on certain topics and genres, but it’s not really how this blog works. When I left for Venezuela, my main interest was to underline the cultural shocks I was living in first person, lustful shocks to be honest. When we left on Tranquility and started cruising, the blog became a logbookwith new blog posts to track our progress. In that situation a lot was happening and I had trouble to keep track of it. Sometimes nothing happens and it’s hard to think about something to write, and I somehow freeze.
Sailing and traveling are a big part of my life, but this blog is not about sailing, or about traveling. It is more like my mind, it constantly wanders through different terrains. I recently figured out that it is a perfect way to capture and deal with daydreaming. Instead of starting the project of building a boat using natural fibers, I write about it. It may or may not happen in real life, but writing about it will make something out of simple speculation. Hopefully pointless speculations can be of some interest for readers.
The 100th post is not an important goal per se. It gave me the opportunity to retrace my steps so far, and to notice how this virtual notebook mutated through time and space, a slow and laborious path which continues after many years and, thanks to the support of you readers, it has never been so alive.