Monday, February 10, 2014

Thoughts on Blogging

Ibi in camp on Deadman's Island, Eastern Pensacola Bay, FL
I’d like to share a few thoughts on this blog, and why and how I decided to attempt doing it. First of all, I need to express my thanks and appreciation for those that return again and again to read “Log of Ibi.” This is especially true when I don’t have anything amazing or interesting to share, and yet you come. Without you, there would be no reason for the blog at all. So, thank you !

Unless you also blog, you may not appreciate what goes into doing this. I spend a lot of time doing research. When I’m out and about, I take copious notes so that I can accurately regurgitate my memories with enough feeling and accuracy that you may feel yourself actually sharing something of the experience. At least that is the goal. The post is written, edited, and edited again. Jean and I take turns reading each other’s posts, and with a fresh perspective, invariably find something more that warrants attention, like punctuation, an improper word usage, a misspelling, or a sentence that just doesn’t sound or flow right. After she’s had a look at mine, I go back and edit and rewrite again. In most four or five paragraph posts, there is usually four or five hours of work. Some posts, like “Stalled in Mid-Ocean,“ may only take a half-hour to complete, while others may stretch on for days. Finally, there’s the lesson I learned eons ago in high school, and I find it is a lesson that has served me well and paid immeasurable dividends. I let the post percolate for at least 24-hours. Not doing this is why so many people get in trouble with social media. Instead of typing it and just putting it out there, I wait a day, and then read it again with a fresh outlook. I often find I decide to change words, sentences, and sometimes I read the post anew and find I have doubts about the message, or the slant, or some of the facts. Sometimes I have a change of heart and delete the whole thing to either start afresh, or electronically circle-file it and move on.

There are several reasons why I decided to try doing a blog. Foremost of these is undoubtedly just the idea of sharing the experience. I find having the opportunity to share an experience at least doubles the pleasure, and later enriches even the memories. Of course my experience with the blog is that it really isn’t sharing. It’s one-sided. I shoot a post off into the ether, and that’s it. It dies.  This is where you can help me make changes.  Before starting, I had read Steve Earley’s “Log of Spartina” for over a year. I found it interesting first of all because he hails from the same area as me, so I could appreciate the subject of some of his posts, because we had had similar experiences. More importantly, another reason I found his blog interesting was because of the frequent reader comments he received, which often turned into dialogs. That was important to me. Coming from a social, multifaceted, and maritime part of the country to one that is agrarian and very insular was more than a cultural shock, it was entombing. The entombing becomes even more acute this time of the year when augmented by ice. I was hoping for some social contact that hasn’t, for whatever reason, materialized.

I need to ask a favor. Instead of me doing a blog, I’d appreciate us sharing a blog. If you enjoy the blog, comment. View my posts not as articles for consumption, but rather as something to provoke thought, and more importantly, discourse. I value learning highly, so would like to take advantge of your experiences. Tell me how my experience differs from yours, or what you have learned that expounds on my post, improves on it, or takes a different approach. What paddling trips would you like to take? What are your aspirations? The exchange of thoughts will not only enrich my experience, but I’m certain will do the same for other readers. Come on! Let’s share.

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