Hello, my name is Donna and I’m an internet lurker.
I spend hours every day reading news, blogs, tweets, status updates, etc. ad nauseum – but I never commented until a couple months ago when I decided that I wanted more than five people to read my blog.
This year I’ve kind of half-heartedly thought about breaking out of my lurkdom by joining things. (I sound super enthusiastic, no?) Every time I tell myself I’m going to do it, though, I think that maybe I should just wait and see how I do before I post anything about it. However, I’ve come to realize that this is stupid, because journeys make interesting stories, not destinations.
Thus, I’ve decided to just go for it. There are three things I’ve really been excited about doing this year: Post a Week, One Little Word, and Books I Should Have Read in School but Didn’t. I don’t know if I’m going to meet my goals. I don’t know if I’m going to like being a joiner. Sometimes I think it might be better to keep talking to myself.
Oh, well. I guess being a hermit on the internet really takes introversion too far.
Post a Week is easy. I’m following The Daily Post, and I think I’ll be okay trying to post every week. I had wavered on joining at all, but after my latest two-week drought (shorter than previously, at least!), I decided I could probably use the extra motivation. Hopefully I’ll be able to post more than once a week most of the time, but daily posting? No way. I think I would die.
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One Little Word might be a little harder to implement, if only because it’s so vague in the goals. I’m not signing up for the class (I get paid in baht! It’s plenty over here, but not so much in dollars), so that’s going to make it more difficult. Even though I can’t take the class, I’m still going to set the goal of doing a project around my word each month and posting something about it here so as to hold myself accountable.
My word for 2011 is action. For a long time I’ve been spinning my wheels and avoiding doing the things that really matter to me. I think about things a lot, but follow-through is not my strong point.
Now, you might say that someone who picked up and moved to Thailand a year ago seems to have “action” down pat – but the truth is, things like being a nomad, starting new jobs, etc. aren’t scary things for me. It’s not better or worse than other lifestyles (trust me, there have been more days than I can count where I wished I’d found a place to call home); this is just the what I’m doing. I’ve mostly been moving things around to keep up this game where it looks like I’m doing a lot when I’m still avoiding the things that really matter, like pursuing my dreams and writing and building relationships with people. Action, for me, is about turning that trend around and starting to do the things that are actually important.
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This is probably my most favorite online challenge ever. Not only do I love reading, but I love reading classics… Come to think of it, next year I should probably find a modern literature reading challenge instead. I’m totally shooting for the Literature Professor ranking, which means reading 12 books in 2011.
…Which also means I should be finishing up Book 2 by now if I want to stay on schedule, which I am definitely not. I’m starting with Middlemarch by George Eliot, and I’m about halfway through it. I’ve started some of the other books on my list before as well, so I think that’ll help me move along as I find more time to read. My biggest problem is that I’m spending way too much time staring at screens as it is and finding hard copies of English books in Thailand is no easy feat. What I really want is a Kindle with their e-ink screen, but remember that thing about getting paid in baht? That applies to electronic toys too.
Here’s the rest of my list in no particular order (links favor Project Gutenberg because that’s where I’m downloading most of these and because it rocks my socks off):
- Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
- The Republic by Plato
- The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
- The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
- Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
- The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A few notes on this list:
1) Obviously I favor socio-political texts. Some of those tomes are going to be difficult to get through, but I think the self-education well worth it. Most of the socio-political books were on my list for this year anyway.
2) The list is tilted towards male writers for two reasons: A) Traditionally in Western culture, the men have been writing the books. B) I’ve already read most of the female-written work I would put on a list like this (Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice). In fact, last year I had a Jane Austen self-challenge, wherein I read pretty much her complete works for the first time. (And seriously, for those who never bothered to read Jane Austen… they are totally worth it. HIGH-larious.)
3) I have two Dickens books because I decided that ending the year with A Christmas Carol after reading all my heavy socio-political tomes would be awesome. And it will be.
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So there we have it. 2011, the year I started Joining Things. Coincidentally, also the year that will mark my tenth since high school. Ooh, spooky.