Twenty Eleven

Twenty Eleven has been the most interesting year. So many interesting events in my life and around the world. In the Middle East and North Africa, some dictatorships were brought down, and the region still remains unstable. In Europe and North America, the Occupy movement surprised citizens, governments, politicians [most of them pro-corporation as opposed to pro-people] and the media that underestimated and downplayed the movement’s potentials.

In North Korea, a dictator who spent his life forcing his people to worship him as a demigod finally bit the dust, baptizing his son as his heir. A woman named Tanya Rosenblit made headlines as Israel’s Rosa Parks when she refused to sit in the back of the bus after she was confronted by an “ultra-Orthodox,” basically an extremist (like the Taliban) Jewish man who unfortunately “thinks” front seats must only be reserved for men. Using the US, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, and other countries around the world as examples, Nature reminded us that she is still the boss and that she can be brutal if she wants or unforgiving if we keep abusing her!

In my country Ethiopia, the government has been busy promoting its ambitious plans to build major dams in order to speed up the country’s economic development, but some environmental activists have accused it of ignoring social as well as environmental costs of these projects; on the political front, the opposition still consider the ruling party as authoritarian or dictatorial, arguing that it controls everything, including the freedom to speak up, threatens and imprisons activists that presumably attempt to agitate the public for mass uprising, inspired by the Arab Spring. Unfortunately, any effort to challenge or to protest against the government in public could be seen as “attempting to incite mass unrest;” if you are an “unlucky” troublemaker or social activist, you could be charged for “terrorism” and could get locked up, lucky if you make it out in one piece.

(By the way, just to make my position clear, though I would sympathize with the frustration and the need for change, I wouldn’t wholeheartedly support someone who pushes for a mass uprising that lacks unambiguous mission, vision, strategy, goal and objective. I am against copycatting other countries without fully assessing one’s commitments, limits, needs, potentials, plans and after plans. And no I am not saying that because I am a government sympathizer; one can think whatever, but this is me thinking out loud. The country has seen more than enough blood shed; I can’t blindly support a call for “mass uprising” that fails to convince me.)

And in my world, :P Twenty Eleven has been both awesome and dolorous; particularly for Kweschn!, this year was surprisingly very productive!

I have written more poems in English in Twenty Eleven than ever before. I am still an amateur writer, but I believe I am improving, growing, learning from books, life, and several amazing bloggers whose creative works are my daily inspirations! I would like to call it the Year of Opening the Creative Floodgates, especially for my writing in English. :D

One thing that I embraced as part of my life this year was the 30 days writing challenge. It means that every day I force myself to write something, whether a poem or a random writing, but whatever it is, I must write something. I gave this challenge to myself after I read The Art of War for Writers (by James Scott Bell)—an amazing little book that completely changed my perception of writing forever; at the very least, it helped me throw the “writer’s block” myth in the thrash bin. I highly recommend it to all aspiring writers, even accomplished writers can learn a lot from it! I look forward to keep the same challenge in Twenty Twelve unless a major life-altering event happens.

Twenty Eleven has really made me a transformed person as far as my writing habit is concerned. I have been very consistent. I am no longer shy about sharing my works; I feel free to let any person read the stuff I write.

I now write more in English, partially because I want to perfect my English writing skills; English is an international language, and it feels great being part of a larger community. I also write in Amharic, my native language. In fact, as I mentioned before, I had a blog where I used to post only my Amharic works. But I deactivated it, partially due to the lack of continuous support from the Amharic reading community; I must say, the lack of disproportionate feedback was disappointing, considering the number of visitors who came to that page. But I remain grateful to those readers, though few in number, who constantly told me they enjoyed my writing, gave me constructive feedback, and encouraged me to keep on writing—for the 20 or 21 years old EMK at the time, that kind of support system meant a lot, even today such support means a lot to me, I value it from my heart, it helps me in so many ways!! Any young person appreciates those who encourage him or her to keep going in the right direction, especially when such young person is away from HOME all by himself or herself!! So whenever you get a chance to encourage, to motivate, to be supportive to someone, please do it, you will make a huge difference in that person’s life!! :)

Let me complain for a bit. In general, here is my complaint concerning art in Ethiopia: there is a huge lack of support for the arts or artists in our community. Unless you already have a big name, you have very little chance to grow as an artist, whether as a writer, poet, musician or visual artist. Often most people will wait until you become “somebody famous” for them to “go crazy about you;”  in short, the concept of talent cultivation and appreciation barely exists. Most people more likely discourage or harshly criticize than encourage or constructively criticize you to Write, Paint, Play Music, Make Movies, Sculpt, or whatever is that you are interested in life as an amateur; positive compliment is often seen as “boosting too much ego”, instead comments that make you “grow up humble” are thrown at you, mostly negative and demotivating. Almost all the successful Ethiopian writers, for instance, that most Ethiopians adore today were/are self-made artists with few early supporters here and there. At the government level, supposedly we have the Ministry of Culture and Youth, or something like it, but as a young person, I honestly don’t know what they exactly do or have done for the youth, for that matter even for the Culture of the country, apart from using it for propaganda purposes! That is the background I come from. As a result, whatever I write in Amharic, I often keep it to myself instead of sharing it with “Amharic readers” because sharing the piece is not even worth the time I waste posting it unfortunately.

I can see from the internal statistics that many Amharic readers, either from Ethiopia or the diaspora, visit my page and read the stuff I post in Amharic, but I rarely receive feedbacks. A friend once jokingly said to me, “write a mind-blowing book, and I will give you that kind of support! For now you should be happy that I even visited your bogle! [her way of saying blog, that's how she underestimates the power of blogging, she doesn't even want to call it by its proper name! :lol:]” I too jokingly responded to her, “When I publish a mind-blowing book, you will be communicating with my agent, not with me, and I will have all the professional critics waiting for me, either to write me ridiculous praises or to tear me apart like vultures! So, by then, whether you support me or not, it won’t make that much a difference!” :D Anyway, she was at least honest, right? Jokingly or not. :P Nevertheless, the truth is that her comment reflects the general Ethiopian sentiment when it comes to the arts, either in Ethiopia or in the Diaspora.

Ok, enough hating because you know what, I don’t wanna lose the few supporters that I have! :lol: I am very thankful to the handful Amharic readers and of course to my lovely Ethiopian close friends that continue to support and inspire me in their own quirky, but sweet ways! :D However, I am now convinced that writing in English gives me the opportunity to learn the art of writing far better than just focusing on writing in Amharic, thanks to the overwhelming and constant support and feedback I get from readers and fellow bloggers who come from different writing backgrounds and countries; I am always humbled and touched by the feedbacks I receive, which make me work harder.

I believe that writers are like flowers; when you water them, they bloom; when you deprive them of water, they wilt. The water for writers is the writing teacher, the critic, the reader, the reviewer, the community of writers, and the publisher;  also the supporter, the motivator, the inspirer, the lover that understands his or her writer partner’s needs, the friend, the mother, the father, the sibling, the relative, the neighbor, the government, the society, basically it comes in many forms. When writers lack the support system (mentor, etc), or are attacked by some of those mentioned, they find it difficult to develop their writing skills, to grow, and to mature as a successful writer, but that doesn’t mean they will completely give up writing!! Writing for EMK, for example, is his healer, so with or without external support, he will keep writing!! EMK is good at self-motivating, as far as writing goes, but he always appreciates feedbacks (whether critical or supportive); he feels YELLOW when that happens!! :D

Having said that I want to THANK some of myFAV Bloggers who made my Twenty Eleven’s blogging experience exceptionally memorable, and here are their names:

Haibar Zair
Isadora
A Pakistani Boy
Amira
Judy
Authormercedes
Khushbu
Abichica
Andthree
Alia S
Charles Mashburn
Bindu
Bluesander
Brian
Eva626
Morning
Terri O. A. 
VeehCirra
Zebiba

And my heartfelt gratitude to the writers and poets who participate in the following groups; in these groups, you will meet such amazingly supportive and talented souls from various backgrounds:

dVerse Poets
The Bluebell Books Poets and Writers
The Gooseberry Garden Poets and Writers
The Poetry Palace Poets and Writers
The Purple Tree House Poets and Writers

I also want to say thank you to readers who visit often, who subscribe, and who Like my posts; and thanks to family, friends, and of course, to The Great Spirit, The Universal Light, My God.

THANK YOU all for everything!! :D

Happy 2012 to all of us!!! :D

Finally, Thank You A Pakistani Boy and Amira for the Leibster Award!!! :) I still have to work on that, I promise I will do it before Twenty Eleven is over!! :D Thank You DaveJudy and Bluesander too for Kreativ Blogger Award, 7×7 Link Award, The Versatile Blogger Award, and Candle Lighter Award!!! I am humbled by each of these awards!! I will work on each as soon as I can!! I know I’ve been procrastinating, and my New Year’s resolution is to kill procrastination once and for all, so I can assure you I will do my home work!! :D

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41 thoughts on “Twenty Eleven

  1. 2011 has certainly been an eventful year. Our world is changing…as it does every year. I hope 2012 will set the world in a better direction than ever.
    You give yourself less credit than you deserve. You’re an amazing writer and if you hadn’t told us time and time again, I would’ve never guessed that English was your second language. I hope to read even more of your works in 2012.
    Happy New Year, Elyas.
    ‘Nessa.

  2. Looking forward to the new year, 2011 sure has been eventful and i have met a lot of interesting people and read a lot of interesting blogs this year.. thanks for sharing, and a very happy new year to you :-)

  3. wow what a summary of twenty eleven :)
    i’ve learned some new stuff about the world – thank you

    and about writing in local language and locals … why does it happen like that?
    My blog has been visited by locals for so many months now. stats show that people read it. But rarely did I recieve any complimentary words – any feedback.
    Of course I did not write intending for feedback – but still posting it on a blog available to many means someone wants to share it with someone, right?
    I also wrote a few posts in Dhivehi (our only local language) but nothing much happened.

    It is humbling when so many others from different corners of the world visit our blog, read, and leave adorable comments. It sure makes us glow … the flower in us gow .. lol

    Be assured, vos amei will visit as often as she could to water the fowers over in Kweshcn! :D
    She loves gardening … so you see, it might take a few days but she will be here before the flowers wilt LOL…. I have requested her humbly and that works on her :)

    May your 2012 be filled with success.
    I am thinking, in 2012, I will be getting to read a book authored by mon ami Elijah :)

    • I know what you mean Amira! :( It sucks, right? lol But you know i write for my own sake so 1) I don’t forget the language and writing in the language 2) I don’t feel homesick or when I do, to deal with it 3) I don’t forget childhood memories 4) just for the hell of it, Amharic is a beautiful language to write poetry or short stories with it, and it happens to be my native language. The low feedback only made me not to share as much as I would like to, but it hasn’t stopped me from writing. :D In fact, I wish I could write in the majority of the languages from Ethiopia. I wish. lol

  4. Yeah! my name on the first! Yippe. Imma flip in the air!!! Gimme that low dough!

    Oh yes. Although it isn’t technically a new year for us.. but still love going with the flow of love and happiness and greetings as the world goes round and round.

    Best of luck for the new year aye! hope it turns out ter be something out of the world

    Apple =D

    P.s I don’t mean it

  5. This is Fantastic Elyas! This is very inspiring post… Your English writing are so Magical.. wondering how Great you Amharic Would be?>? :).. :) … I am so happy to find my name In your FavBlogger list.. Thank you! Thank you!.. :) :) Love Your Magical Writings :D )

  6. Elyas,
    You have written a most detailed examination of the year 2011 ..
    It is very informative and revealing. It has been a very life changing year for you.
    I think that is a good thing as growth of any kind is always such a plus.
    You have been, by far, the most prolific writer I have read in my travel through my world of
    blogging. You are always outstanding and expressive in the way you write.
    It’s unfortunate the way countries treat the arts but it is so true. The best
    part it that you have not allowed it to discourage you. It is in the continuation
    of what you desire that you are able to reach the ultimate goal in whatever it is you
    set out to do. I hope 2012 brings you the very best that life has to bring. May
    your days be filled with lots of imagination to help you create your fabulous artful words.
    Thank you for you mentioning me in your 2012 letter … I am humbled by your continued
    support and renumeration.
    Namaste,
    Isadora

    • “It is in the continuation of what you desire that you are able to reach the ultimate goal in whatever it is you set out to do.” Well said, Isadora!! :) I appreciate your kind words! :) Thank you!!

  7. wow..a great review of your year – i like that you mix the political with the personal here..(who can separate it anyway..) a Year of Opening the Creative Floodgates…sounds esp. good – cool to get to know you a bit better with this as well..and wishing you a wonderful 2012 as well..

  8. i am sorry the arts do not have the support in your country and i hope that changes for you…good job on your own writing habit…those are great habits to help you develop…i hope that you have a great new year!

  9. Elyas….this is an incredible post! I learned so much from you! This is a great re-cap of the year, world-wise and personal. I really loved it. Thank you for taking the time to write it. PS. Your command of the English language is awesome and inspiring. Happy 2012..

  10. Thank you very much all for your wonderful and humbling comments!!! :) I wish you all the best for this amazing year of 2012!!! Good health, happiness, self liberation, love, success, friendship, you name it!! :D

  11. That was a really nice recapitulation of what 2011 was all about! I personally hated and loved it at the same time, don’t even know how… but oh well, that’s past now, let’s look at the future! Wish you all the best this new year :)

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