Sofia Drabbles

I’ve been living in Sofia since June 2018. It’s a fascinating city at a fascinating time but it’s neglected – I doubt most people could place Bulgaria on a map and there’s very little written about it, even less that’s written well. Therefore, I thought I’d have a crack at it. I don’t know when or what form that will take though, I’m trying not to force it.

I’ve done a bit of travel writing before and it comes with some difficulties. If you try to capture the ‘essence’ of a place you can look too hard, become too self-aware, and end up attaching significance to every encounter and experience no matter how trivial. On the other hand, if you’re too immersed, you can take for granted all the everyday nuances and little telling details that are the most revealing. Your position as an outsider needs calibrating carefully.

Sofia Drabbles is an ongoing attempt to find the right balance.

It’s a blog about what it’s like to live in Sofia but it’s not a diary or journal, it’s an online notebook. There’s no chronology to it, no regularity, no uniform style – everything is posted randomly. I may draw upon this stockpile of material to add background detail to something, or the posts may start to coalesce around a connected theme – maybe one of them will even spark an idea. I don’t know exactly what it’s for yet but I’m hoping it’ll come to me later.

Each post is exactly 100 words, not 101, not 99. This is known as a drabble and it’s a form that encourages disciplined creativity – very useful for a writer who needs an exercise to keep writing. The restriction of the word count also seems to suit me well. It’s enough for a brief unit of thought and has the scope to let me play around with different styles without becoming an off-putting commitment. I should be able to fit in a drabble occasionally, even if I’m overwhelmed with work. We’ll see, anyway…