“So you think you can WRITE!” (Part IV) and thanks to my readers

In an attempt to be an “Outlier” (I confess I haven’t read the book yet) I’m trying to put in my 10,000 hours of practice writing every day even when I go past midnight!!! I can’t write much tonight yet I will write my deep appreciation to those readers who have commented on my blog in the past few years.  Some of the comments have come from my Kazakh students or former students from Ukraine.  A few have been friends or colleagues from work and most all others have been complete strangers I’ve gotten to know through e-mail exchanges.

Recently I had a Peace Corps website based out of Ukraine that wanted me to join to give teaching ideas, I haven’t had the energy to join up.  They have a good cause going though.  I’ve had people from South Africa, Turkey, New Zealand, U.K., Scotland, Korea, China and Indonesia comment, as well as other countries.  Many from the U.S. and Canada have also given their input and as I’ve mentioned in my “About” section, I have people who write in Russian which I promptly delete.  I know what they write is harmless (some is nuisance advertising) but this is a blog meant for native speakers of English or those who are non-native speakers who have a working knowledge of English.

I’ve had some Kazakh or Kazakhstanis who have given me very helpful feedback especially when I venture into territory that I am not very familiar with, such as Kazakh proverbs.  I have gotten good feedback from other authors, ethnographers, journalists and anthropologists about the “grandparents” stories I have shown on this blog. At least 175 of them I have collected thus far.  I recall one time I put up one of my student’s stories about Uighurs and a friend of his living in Chicago recognized the name and got reconnected with his friend through my blog.

I think one of the more unusual delights for me was to use an author’s writings about Kazakhstan. (Of course I gave him proper attribution) I had happened upon an unpublished manuscript by Frank R. Thoms about his observations in a Soviet classroom. This was back in 1993 when I was training Peace Corps volunteers in Almaty. I needed something, ANYTHING to tell my 30 PCVs about what it would be like to teach in Kazakshtan.  So I typed the most relevant of Frank’s words up back in 1993, distributed it to the PCVS.  But then I retyped it on my blog several summers ago.  He eventually googled his name to find his writings were deemed very valuable by me and on my Kazakhnomad blog.  What fun to finally meet Frank in the Boston area just this last March when I was there for a TESOL conference.

Another time my husband and I met a very prolific writer who is a young Kazakh man at Ramstor in Almaty.  He had been following my blog early on.  He has a very active blog which he writes in Kazakh. There are two other active bloggers I know of in Astana, one is an American, the other is British.  I haven’t met any of my other commenters but I mean to see a few people in Almaty eventually.  One other commenter early on gave me the name of a publisher because he thought I should write a book about Kazakhstan, a short book with a snappy title.  I haven’t followed up on that lead yet, I haven’t felt clever enough.  Besides, I’ve been too busy trying to survive living in Kazakhstan and writing every day in this blog.

All these connections show the power of the word in print, digitally!  Several other people have useful words on their blogs and have enriched my life by their own observations about this incredible land we live in.  Several commenters have candidly shared with me their frustrations with living in Kazakhstan.  I understand that too.  A woman named Misty who is from Florida had gone through many trials in Russia so when she happened on my blog, she relived some of the same things I was going through.  An American guy more recently was flying to Almaty to work with special needs children this summer, I’ve lost track of Ryan and hope he is still reading this blog.

Others by the name of Richard, Chester, Herman, William, Nathan, Andrea, Wayne, Anna, Urimtal, Elnar, John, Betty, Otto, Yuliya, Mary Jo and scores of others have left their mark with me because they wrote comments on this blog.  Thank you!  I know there are others who are silent and would maybe like to write, I’d encourage you to do so.  I KNOW you can write!!!

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