The “Site” part mixed in with the “Blad” part

Next, though, I ran into the problem of not nearly being well-read enough to address certain inevitable bottlenecks. If you want to write about, say, life in Romania during the second world war, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with the scenery, the political situation at the time; the local alphabet, dialects and the way separate communities regarded one another. Soon after, you’ll find yourself in dire need of knowledge on Romania’s situation in the Great War; what the heck was that war all about anyway? And so on and so on.

Well, there you have the Internet – pretty much everything is on there now. I’m one of those people who spends entire days on Wikipedia, following link after link until one’s head is about to spin off of one’s neck. And yet, somehow, it left me in want of more – ending up in online echo chambers and pissing matches again. Wars tend to be very touchy subjects, especially on the Internet. Assumed facts were offered up for discussion here and there; who should I believe to speak the truth? And why? Because so many others agree with them?

Perhaps it would prove wiser to rely on these things they call “books”, I convinced myself – reluctantly. Books, those static bundles of dry facts which, I feared, would bore me to death starting from page one. But also: books, written by esteemed historians who weren’t necessarily bound by time constraints, and whose pissing matches with colleagues would appear only in the form of footnotes or polite rectifications. Hundreds of pages on certain subjects, well laid-out, tangible and tactile as the very paper they’ve been printed on. So I gave it a try. “Napoleon. Interesting lad. So what exactly did happen during that march to Moscow?”

Well, after having finished Adam Zamoyski’s “1812”, I was hooked on books for good. I started to “Wikipedia” my way through the library from there on out. Sometimes I’d follow up reading on certain subjects – who knew the Interbellum turned out to be so interesting -and sometimes it was a particular author’s qualities that helped me look past assumed “boredom-in-a-bundle” stereotypes. Every now and then, both author and subject blended into the perfect combination for further reading. (Hint: →)

I’m not saying that everything out there on the Net is mindless drivel – most of it isn’t. Most of is extremely useful, actually – a dynamic way of expanding on the knowledge already out there. It’s hard to find your way into the right site for your purposes, though. A book tends to limit itself to one, perhaps a few subjects, regardless of the scope (time, space) covered by these. Websites venture beyond these limits so as not be put aside on the virtual bookshelf for years – a very lousy business model for blogs and forums, after all. A writer can live off of a single book for years if need be; historians needn’t even be bothered by such trivial matters. They just research historic events and speak their minds, sometimes in the form of books; what comes of this, doesn’t change the fact that they’re historians first and writers second, at best.

The part where I run out of parts

Meanwhile, I had long forgotten my unfinished novel. I just kept on reading and reading, slowly but surely realizing that this wasn’t going to be a temporary thing, no “phase” I’d outgrow over time. Grim old life, pre-programmed from birth till death, suddenly was cut in half by a horizon of potential adventures. WW1, the Interbellum, WW2, the Soviet Union, Perestrojka and Siberia have become topics of daily conversation for me now – where, only a few years ago, I had neither known nor cared much about such subjects.

Nearing the age of thirty, I realized this was the one chance most of us get to turn things around entirely – but there was no time left to waste. As a result, I started learning Russian; became both a fanatical reader and a careful critic of Sebastian Haffner’s works and finally designed a (still kinda flimsy) theme for Bladsite’s blog-side of things.

Oh, and I wrote an “About” page the length of a decent tapeworm.

So there you have it: I’m still not sure what this website is all about. It’s mostly going to be about writing – failing at it (publishing past, present and future musings), getting better at it (tips, tricks & questions), and above all, writing “for the sake of writing”. You’ll see what I mean by that soon enough – in fact, you already have seen quite a lot of it by now. Whenever I feel the need to speak my mind, I’ll challenge said mind to a duel and publish the outcome as the battle rages on. Or something to that effect. Maybe I’ll just post YouTube videos of baby seals with corny sound effects playing in the background. Weeee! Ploink.

Obviously, my newly-aquired passion for history is going to take up a large chunk of the “action” on Bladsite. Same goes for topics related to Russia & Eastern-Europe (past, present, future). On top of that, there’s going to be the occasional mention of my future plans, wild as they might be. I’ll try to fit in some foreign-language experiments here and there (oh really?), as it makes for good practice. Book reviews, drawings, music, the odd bit of programming – let’s see if we can fit it in somewhere, shall we? Did I mention I’m a huge sports fan yet?

Needless to say, this page is probably going to see updates over time as well. As the site gains traction or gets bogged down, new stuff is likely to happen; stuff which probably fits somewhere within the chronology timeline. Heaven knows – maybe there’ll even be something remotely resembling a “mission statement” or a “past achievements” section. A person can dream, right?

Or at the very least, a person can write.

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