|Beautiful murals just off of Bergstaðastræti in the heart of Reykjavik,|
I've tried to quit this blog quite a few times in the past decade, but have always felt compelled to post just one more photo, just one more entry. Historically I've announced my decision with explanations and justifications and excuses, which have been hard to backtrack on when the urge to share has overtaken me. This time around I took a quite pause from posting because it just seemed to make sense to. It was a part of an overall readjustment for me, a realignment with my inner self that lasted all of last Fall.
When I quit Iceland Eyes in 2012, it was to focus on writing 88, the work of semi-fiction I'd been planning to write for at least a decade, and it had to happen exactly during the autumn of that year. A year later I came roaring back, fresh with the vigor of having finally gotten printed copies of my book delivered to my door. I felt ready to tackle anything, even the Entire Internet! I was updating my fb fan page and Iceland Eyes twitter feed almost daily and crowing about my little paperback to anyone who'd listen. I was sure I'd, at the same time, be super diligent about starting a second book, and maybe follow through on the podcast idea a friend had. Around the same time the BBC World Service contacted me and asked me to be a guest on their World Have Your Say show (to listen to the pretty interesting Iceland portion, start at 27:00 minutes) as a specialist on all things Icelandic, twice! There'd been some political hiccups in my career as an English teacher at a local technical college, but I was sure I had a second life in full force as an online presence, and started dreaming of being able to quit in the most responsible and profitable manner. All was looking good!
So what was it that lead me to slow to a stop late this summer, to quietly disappear from all social media related to this blog? I had to go inwards, to a quiet place, especially with all the new 'noise' being generated here by our burgeoning tourist economy. So many visitors, so many photos posted online, so many articles and reviews...so much publicity for our little island, and so many locals competing for the almighty tourist buck! Living here in the very heart of the city, walking past all the visitors who are bussed up to Hallgrímskirkja every day to take photos and see the downtown sights, watching decades-old specialty shops being turned into souvenir stores and apartment rental prices skyrocketing as space after space is turned into a guesthouse has been...challenging. I hold no grudge against any of this (except the rental prices for my friends' sakes...I own my apartment, so am not directly affected) and I actually feel that this increase in tourism is helping Iceland to mature in many ways. But it gets overwhelming, and I just wanted to sit back, breathe deep, and watch the flow from somewhere still inside of me. And so I did.
Recently, though, my sister Addy and her family (who live out in Cupertino still, in the house we grew up in - a gorgeous Eichler with a lemon, grapefruit and kumquat tree in the backyard) came to visit my parents who moved back here about eight years ago. She and I were chatting about life in general, and she told me that she was going to give me a book she'd had recommended to her, entitled Callings, by Gregg Levoy. It's all about, you guessed it, callings...those aspects of life that we refuse to answer at our peril, those intuitive drives and urges that keep directing us towards a goal or towards some thing (a career, a hobby, a location, a mindset...) that we will always feel un-whole without. Being handed this book has been totally apropos for two reasons...one, it made me realize that sometimes you are called to do somthing that you may not even enjoy all the time, but that compels you in both internal and external ways to take part in (this blog, for example), and two, that I definitely also feel called to engage more fully in the eco-sustainability movement here in Iceland (I'll be posting more about that the months to come.)
So, after a spell of returning to my personal source of inspiration and discovering a way to see our new Iceland with new eyes, I'm happy to be posting again. I've realized that I'm not able to let this space become some kind of promotional venue for the curious potential visitor, with attending hype and media noise, but will let it stay being what it's always been: a place for me to share my own personal Iceland in my own way, with anyone who'd like to stop by ~.~