My son Đạo has been reading my blog. He reads not only just my latest posts but also the archives. He has read as far back as 2014 on family-related posts in English. He has 11 years worth of materials to go.
I have been blogging for 18 years and I have finally found an audience. That’s an accomplishment that I have never set out to do. Even today, I write for myself. I have been writing like no one is reading. I don’t think about any particular audience when I write. Not setting an expectation liberated me to write whatever was on my mind. The drawback is that I had gotten myself in trouble on several occasions. I didn’t know how far I had gone until it backfired. I rather take that risk than censoring myself. If I cannot be free to write on my personal blog, I might as well just shut it down. For almost two decades of blogging, I only fucked up a dozen times. That’s pretty good.
My only goal for this blog has always been to practice my writing. I started writing in English first because I was terrible at it. I could not keep my grammar straight. English has so many rules and some of them are so idiosyncratic. Even today, I still have to look up lay versus lie to make sure I use the correct one. I have made tons of grammatical errors, but I kept on writing like no one is watching. I don’t give a shit about the grammar police, but I always welcome edits from anyone who cared enough to send them my way.
While concentrating on English, my Vietnamese was slipping. I only began to write in Vietnamese when I figured out how to add diacritical marks. Unlike English, Vietnamese is a bit easier to write for me. Other than keeping my spelling straight, I don’t have to worry about grammatical errors. I realized that Vietnamese has no grammar rules. There’s no such thing as singular versus plural. There’s no rule on past, present, future, and perfect tenses. I could not find a Vietnamese grammar book. I don’t think it existed. (If anyone has such a book or knows one, please let me know.) I can build up my sentences any way I wanted to and it would not be grammatically wrong. They might not make any sense, but they are not wrong. As long as I spell correctly and have a logical flow, I can write in Vietnamese. Because there’s no rules in Vietnamese, it is a challenge to become really good at it. One of my favorite Vietnamese songwriters is Trịnh Công Sơn whose lyricism remains fascinating to study. He bent and substituted words in unexpected places and still managed to make his lyrics flow naturally. You would miss his wordplay unless you pay close attention to it. I still read his lyrics and discover something new every time.
For my blog, the topics varied from deeply personal to mundane documentation. I don’t know if anything I had written resonates with anyone. I didn’t know who reads my site, but I do now. Of course I welcome him into my world. This blog is a place for me to collect my thoughts, my daily activities, and my personal interests. It just isn’t private.