Sunday, August 22, 2004

"I tried going back to reading fiction, sick and tired of the jargonic, bureaucratic works I and others produce. I must be very picky because I find it really hard to find something I really enjoy reading in fiction. I'd rather write it myself."

That is what I wrote in my last entry in this blog. Reading it again, it sounds excessively arrogant. It's nice to write quickly without too much self-editing, but then, there's a greater chance of being misunderstood. In that paragraph, I did not mean at all to suggest that I prefer writing fiction to reading fiction because I am in any way a better writer than anyone published. Quite the contrary, I have very limited confidence in my ability to ever be published and no real interest in even seeking to be published. What I really meant is that I enjoy the creative processes involved in writing fiction much more than I enjoy reading other people's fiction at this point. Yet, to be a good writer, one has to read others' work!

I finished "Another Day in Paradise." Some of the stories are really powerful and rang very true. I did not spend much time as a humanitarian worker myself. I was working with Action Internationale Contre la Faim for three months in Liberia, followed by a year with the United Nations Development Program, also in Liberia. These experiences (however short compared to that of many of the humanitarian workers profiled in the book), in addition to a long history of worldwide travel as a child, have had a profound impact on my thinking and how I view my work away from the field and how I view short visits to developing countries that I have been able to take in recent years.

The field is where I would have wanted to be if my career had continued to be my primary goal in life. The field, however, would not have been compatible with a family life. I opted for the family life.

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