Don’t let me hold your phone, drive your car, or borrow your computer. Don’t ask me for tech help on your blog, newsletter, Facebook account, or anything else.
I have been run into twice in the past few months by motorcycles. They literally ran right into the car. Once on the driver’s side and once on the passenger side.
Both times the motorcycle driver was at fault, like going the direction on the road, passing on the wrong side, not using turn signals, multiple witnesses all agreeing with them being at fault, all kinds of at fault. I will not publicly go into all manner of not okay-ness in how I was held to blame.
Sometimes, Djibouti wins.
I downloaded an update on my phone and it never worked again. Go to the Apple store, says the internet. I say, “The nearest Apple store is off the continent.“
The water proof bag I used to carry items wasn’t actually water proof. Not for me. For so many others, yes. Me? Not this time.
My website crashed.
My computer crashed.
I ruined my newsletter list.
I can fix it. We can fix it. The technician and mechanic can fix it.
But what a headache. Aren’t all these things supposed to make life easier?
I’ll tell you what was easier: not having a phone because it broke. No pressure to take photos – just memorize the moment, just experience the moment. No pressure to respond to messages. No need to post updates.
Writers gotta internet. Or something like that.
And nowadays, writers gotta newsletter.
This is what is drilled into us everywhere I go online. Build your email list. Facebook and Instagram could crash or close (like they did on July 3 this year – anyone else have image issues? I swear I had nothing to do with that). Don’t let someone else have control of your work.
And I’ve discovered that I really love working on my newsletter and building that email list. People don’t comment on blogs that much anymore and Facebook and Twitter sorta overwhelm me. But in my newsletter, I get to be myself without blabbing it all over the internet. And I get to respond, one on one, to comments and questions and feedback.
I get to work on essays that in the past I would have tried to pitch to magazines but now I love keeping them just my newsletter.
Here are some of the wide-ranging recent topics:
- How love in dating is different to love in marriage
- Female genital mutilation from the voices of Djiboutian women
- The story of a man who lived with a bullet in his head for 18 years and what happened when it came out
- The next one will be about the cheek kissing greeting. Ever wonder if people accidentally kiss on the lips? I don’t know about people, but I do know about me…
I curate stories from the Horn of Africa and Somali news from all over the world. I love doing this – keeping myself and readers up to date on what’s happening in the places we care about, super cool stories about the new superfood: camel’s milk or about Somali yoga lessons on the beach in Mogadishu or about the apparent new Cold War between China and the US taking place in Djibouti, about disastrous White Savior problems in Uganda…
I give loads of book recommendations, including Kindle Deals for the best books, usually under $3.00.
And we do this silly thing where I take quotes from famous people from Gandhi to Oprah to Mr. Rogers and replace the word “struggle” with the word “snuggle.” Because we could all use a little more snuggle in our lives these days.
Its kind of like letting people see the things I love to talk about. Like if we sat down over coffee, I would probably ask you what great book you’re reading. Or what fascinating story has gripped you lately? Or do you have any idea how to untangle the mess or how to celebrate the successes in the Horn lately?
Last week, I switched email providers because I wanted to be better able to provide great content and meet the needs of readers.
Remember how nothing was working?
That didn’t work either.
I feel like an idiot. I probably am one. Or didn’t read the instructions well enough, though I felt certain I did. I don’t know.
In any case, a lot of people’s emails fell through the cracks. Like a lot, a lot.
And if you don’t want to read Stories from the Horn anymore and your email fell through – no worries! I’m glad you hung around for a while and you’re welcome back any time, but you are also totally free to head out in other reading directions.
If you do subscribe and still want to, Aweber has assured me, they have solved the problem. So hang tight, some of you have contacted me and I will make sure you’re all added in correctly. I’m so sorry for the hassle and confusion.
If you have never subscribed but are intrigued by what is on offer, I’d love to have you join in. Its totally free, I will never sell or give out your email address. You’ll get a free download: 25 Things You Need to Know but No One Will Tell You about Moving Abroad (and a bonus, secret free download too, once you confirm.)
And if you do subscribe and hit reply to the email when it comes into your inbox, to send me a message or ask a question, I promise to respond. I read every single email and (so far) am able to respond to them all. It might take a day or two, but I love hearing what drew you to Stories from the Horn or ideas on what you’d like to hear more about from me, suggestions on how I can serve you better, or just a “hi!”