The Authenticity of Language

I haven’t been writing for a while.

The moment I posted my leave of absence announcement and sent out the email to all my newsletter subscribers, the metaphorical pen fell from my hand and I stopped. Shortly after, I quit the podcasts, the short stories and unsubscribed from all the email lists I had subscribed to that regarded writing.

For the first time in a little over a year, I took a break from writing, from story crafting, from constantly being filled with information, supposed motivation and inspiration for stories, from desperately trying to find a story in every moment of my life (because I’d need one when the month was up).

I hadn’t realized how desperate I had become, how much I had treated this like another thing on my to do list. I hadn’t realized that it was no longer as fun as before.

I’m not saying that writing isn’t fun for me anymore. But I am reconsidering the format in which I follow my need and want to tell stories.

I was in a rush at the beginning of last year. Like a musician’s first record, my blog soon filled with stories I had wanted to write for years or maybe even had written years before (like Seven Years). And once I’d run out, making the monthly deadline became more and more of a struggle.

My personal situation didn’t help. By June last year, I had already written and sent out a bunch of job applications with negative responses, if any. I was burnt out from the job I held and afraid that the lack of success in my job hunt doomed me to hold the job forever.

The negative feedback wasn’t just limited to the job hunt, though. I’d submitted several short stories to magazines for publication, but was rejected every time. On a normal day, that wouldn’t have winded me. But with everything else, the rejections added even more pressure.

By the end of the year, with the added stress of investing eight to ten hours every week into studying, I had entirely lost sight of the intention I had had with the blog. Yes, I wrote quite a cheerful New Year’s Eve post about how I technically had reached all of the goals I had set for this blog. But deep down, I was still disappointed that I hadn’t reached more.

It seems silly now, arrogant even. I had only been continuously writing for a year and was disappointed that my stories didn’t sell and my blog hadn’t magically taken off.

With the end of my class only two months away now — and thus, writing creeping back to the forefront of my mind more and more — I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with this blog. What is the goal of this blog and what are some realistic assumptions?

I don’t just write short stories here. The last three posts, including this one, are personal „ramblings“ of sorts. I share things that happen in my life and draw conclusions to the world around me. Despite using a pen name — Oh yes, Carolina Greene is a pen name, folks. Surprise! — I want to be authentic in the things I write.

So the question of goals and assumptions was met with another: What are the „words I weave“? Can I be authentic when I’m not writing in my mother tongue? How would it feel if I did? I speak both languages fluently, and I’d even wager I speak English as well as my mother tongue.

When I started out writing, I wrote everything in German. Naturally. I wrote those stories for my family, some even for school. It was only later, when I moved deeper into the online world and discovered fan fiction that I started writing in English. My online presence was something I wanted to keep separate from my real life, and the language barrier added another layer to my anonymity.

For years, I’ve only written in English. I started this blog in English, with the intention of marketing my stories to a wider audience. But English has its limits when it comes to relating stories of my life. Last week, I wanted to write a blog post about my family coming to cheer me on for a 10K race two weeks ago. But my idea was centered around what my Dad had written on the banner: a wordplay on a German saying that’s not easily translated. The blog post ended up not coming together. There’s a really funny story I once wrote that just doesn’t seem to translate well, so I haven’t shared it.

Then again, German hacks away at the anonymity I’ve created. I can’t write quite as freely about my life because the chances are higher that someone might match the people in my blog posts to the people in my life. I’d have to be more careful about what light I present them in and which stories I choose to share.

I haven’t come to a conclusion, yet. How anticlimactic, I know.

I want to try what writing stories in German feels like. I’m not sure how I want to pursue that, yet, though. I still have about two months to figure that out.

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