My Latest Blog Insights ...

I have previously acknowledged that I am a writer, not a reader, of blogs.  The exception to this rule comes from following the links to my reader’s profile pages, when they leave comments.  I’m curious, some might say nosy, and want to learn what I can about my readers.  Of course many commenters are anonymous or only have an identity for sign-in purposes, with no content associated with their identity.  Occasionally I stumble across something interesting, however.

Seldom do I find the content of other blogs new or interesting.  Looking past the content, I have on occasion seen something in the person and taken an interest in a blogger, following their development to see how well they adapt to their new lives.  Some depend heavily on other likeminded bloggers, for what often resembles a support group.  Many have a short-lived presence online lacking in either talent or temperament, but a few have gone on to do quite well for themselves.  Many of the new guys are so predictable and repetitious in what they write.  It is sadly humorous, the way they take themselves so seriously and lack the ability to come up with anything new or to deal gracefully with their detractors.

Recently something quite extraordinary happen to me.  One link led to another link and I found myself actually reading and following someones blog for a brief period.  Strangely it was a female biker’s blog.  She was on a road trip and posting when she could, at the end of the day.  She had paired up with another guy, not her husband which I found interesting, and hit the road in the Pacific Northwest.  Being me, I had to analyze my own interest in this blog.  First there were beautiful pictures that reminded me of trips the wife and I have taken on the back roads of the West Coast and parts of Canada near the boarder.  That must have triggered within me some nostalgia and identification with the content.

Being a biker of sorts myself, and never having ridden in the States, it got me imagining what that might be like.  Her perspective as a female rider, a slightly less testosterone laden account of the ride and the day, was new and refreshing to me.  The immediacy of the report, as it was written and posted during the ride and not after, helped to make me feel part of the ride.  At times I could almost see the sky, smell the trees, feel the cold wind and the fatigue at the end of the day.  I found myself looking forward to her next post.  Of course when the trip was over and the content returned to fashion, lipstick, tampons and other packing necessities, I lost interest.

The act of finding content in a blog that grabbed me and held my attention, however briefly, got me thinking.  In a comparative look at my television viewing patterns, I seem to be drawn to first person accounts of wilderness adventures.  They are all the more interesting if they are in areas I have visited previously or have an interest in going one day.  Might that not be applicable to my own blog?  People reading for glimpses of their past or a wished for future.  That could explain in part the interest some take in the writer, as well.  Perhaps these same readers go elsewhere for the nuts and bolts, how to stuff, but come here for the imagery of what life might be like for them at some point.

That would also explain why some Chiang Rai residents are less than enthused by my blog.  After all, they are already here and living their own life in the Rai.  I am derided for being too vain and personal in my presentation, even the word narcissistic has been used to describe me.  For the less educated and simple minded residents, my words are too fancy as they prefer a more folksy turn of phrase.  Oddly enough one of my very first supporters was a fellow writer and resident of the Rai.  His critique and words of encouragement as a writer, played an important part in getting me through the first awkward stages of my writing.  Some have great difficulty understanding or accepting there are important differences between Village Farang and his creator and are apparently unforgiving if VF’s words inadvertently touch a nerve.

For those who like backstories, my interest in writing and the online world is relatively new.  When my wife finished her studies at a makeup academy in the Hollywood/Burbank area, I was looking for ways to support her work as a makeup artist.  I knew a photographer, who though primarily a corporate and interior type, did use makeup artists when there were models in his shots.  Being slightly homophobic, he jumped at the chance to get away for the prima donnas and transexual histrionics of those who control much of the makeup business in Bangkok, and work with my wife instead.  He also gave me pointers and introduced me to Go Daddy, domain names and the like.  Being an Apple guy, however, I went for iWeb and a .mac account to set up an online portfolio for my wife’s work.  The iWeb templates were easy enough for me as a beginner to deal with.

He also took a brief interest in my blog when we moved to Chiang Rai and I was first thinking about how to set it up and start it off.  After a vain attempt to get me to sound more like him, he seemed to loose interest as I went merrily down my own path.  While my blog seems to have played a part in the distance that has developed between some friends over the years, in the case of the photographer it was more about going down different paths and a badly handled breakup where the wife and I stayed friends with the female side of the equation.

Looking back I may have benefitted from doing more research and reading other blogs before starting my own.  My rationale at the time was that I wanted to work on a clean slate and not be tempted to copy what someone else had done.  Seems pretty silly looking back on it but we cannot change the past, just learn from it.  I have even been tempted to go back and rewrite some of my early posts with my present insights but have kept them as a record of my progress or lack there of.

There are of course many types of blogs and bloggers.  Some of us personal bloggers can be quite temperamental and react badly to any suggestions or critique of either content or presentation.  New bloggers of our ilk often say they only write for themselves and don’t care what others think.  If that were true they would no doubt keep a private journal and forgo the public humiliation of an online blog.  Perhaps like me they will look back and cringe at some of what they have written but find it within themselves to accept their own shortcomings and revel in their continued growth.  Anyway, this is where I seem to stand at the moment on the topic of blogging.