East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Escape from the Old C Block


Last night my friend Claire launched her English-language blog – Scribblings.
Now Claire being Claire, I guess her new blog (she already runs one in Italian) has been meticulously planned, insightfully designed and thoroughly tested, the pros and cons carefully evaluated.
I point this out not to make fun of Claire (who, apart from being a fine writer and a dear friend, is also one of my gorgeous but unflinching editors); I’m pointing it out to explain that I think Claire started working on her new blog well before the summer, early in 2013.
Which is more or less when Karavansara was launched (with far less planning and thought, admittedly), and when a lot of other Italian bloggers I know started looking at the outer world – some opening a new weblog, others simply starting to post in English on their old platform, some alternating posts in Italian and English on their blogs, others posting bilingual content, experimentally.

fish-bowlThis digital opening of a new front has something to do, I think, with perception.
We, as bloggers, perceive the English-language blogsphere as a somewhat wider, friendlier space than our little Italian-language fishbowl, which we perceive as increasingly suffocating and filled with a growing number of aggressive piranhas.
But the perception of blogging, too, as an activity with a dignity and a weight, is probably different – or that’s what we think, we hope, what we are actively seeking.
We are not “immigrants” – because we probably feel at home here (whatever that “here” may be).

And it’s not the money – even if avidity has been thrown at us often, as an “explanation” for our decision*.
But it’s not the money.
It’s an attempted escape.
We sawed the bars, we tied our sheets together, we are trying to outrun the mastiffs.
The inmates in the Old C Block of the Italian blogsphere are trying to escape.

* The idea that you start posting or publishing in English and fat packs of banknotes start landing on your doorstep is both romantic and  provincial, and explains – I think -part of our sense of suffocation.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

11 thoughts on “Escape from the Old C Block

  1. Yes, we’re running away. It’s a matter of mental survival, a desperate search for oxygen after too many years in a little swamp. And no, they can’t stop us now.


  2. “our little Italian-language fishbowl”? In these last days I was thinking of it like more of a puddle of mud, than a fishbowl. And I’m getting the feeling the puddle is running dry as we quarrell and fight more or less senseless battles, waged against us by those piranhas you mentioned.
    But I guess it’s just the oxygen deprivation that makes me more pessimistic than my usual 😉
    Finding new room for our idea, new audience, new strategies to face this situation, well, it’s the only way. 🙂


  3. I’m not sure there aren’t piranhas in the English blogosphere, even though I’m not very sure what you mean by it. There really isn’t an escape. It’s just bugger fishbowls with bigger fish. In other words different space, same issues.

    You do seem to have a blog with a defined theme to it, unlike mine, which is all over the place. English is not technically my “mother tongue”, but the language I’m most comfortable in.

    Thanks for the link.


    • My Italian language blog IS all over the place, and then some 😀
      When I started Karavansara, I had a set of themes, which is expanding – or just getting more flexible.

      As for piranhas – high competition, violent aggression, bad manners… that sort of thing.
      The English blogsphere seems to be more laid back – at least at this level.
      We’ll see how things evolve 🙂


  4. Here I am! Thanks for the mention and link.

    And no, I’m not the meticulous planner you describe – or better, half of it. The other half was procrastination, actually… I’m almost ashamed to say I bought the dominion a year ago.

    And yes, it feels very much like trying deeper waters: exciting and frightening, a chance and a necessary step.


  5. 😀 Always wanted my own little empire…


  6. Pingback: Getting Away from It All? | Karavansara

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