Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

04 April 2007

Other Voices, Part 2

I feel that I have come late to the blog party. I discounted them at first, failing as usual to anticipate the significance of a growing cultural trend. I should have realized it when syndicated national newspaper columnists began to routinely make references to blogs a long time ago. If blogs had gotten the attention of “real” media people, then perhaps there was more to them than I knew.

So now I have a blog. Mine has not (to my knowledge) been quoted by syndicated national newspaper columnists. Yet. Maybe if I ever have something interesting to say…

The list of blogs that I read grows too. As I discover them, I add them to my Favorites and check in regularly. Blogs may not be the most reliable source of genuine news, but they are informative, inspiring and often very funny.

Blogs are kind of self-perpetuating. We all list blogs that we like on our blogs. People click on the links and then add them to their own Favorites list. Like music, taste in literature is personal. But I urge you to sample the blogs I list to the right. Nothing heavy or overly-technical or religious or political - just some lighthearted things by some interesting people. I’ve already mentioned La Gringa and Feather Ridge, both fascinating glimpses into life here in Honduras. But there are others as well.

I believe that the secret to being a good writer is to read a lot. And notice that I say “a good writer” and not “of writing well.” I’m anal about grammar and punctuation and sentence structure and all that crap. But ultimately, getting the message across is what’s important.

I like to see how other writers turn phases, and how they put words into sentences and string sentences into paragraphs to convey their ideas. Sometimes I'm as much interested in how a paragraph is constructed than the actual message in it. Like watching other pilots fly (which I do), I like to see how other writers write. And the cool thing about writing is that even amateurs can do it well. And better yet, unlike flying, if you make a mistake, nobody dies. We don’t all have to be Stephen King or Tom Clancy. I particularly like writing in which it seems like the author is speaking to me informally, like an old friend. That’s an awfully hard trick to pull off. But there are those who do it well.

Speaking of which, I have struck up a correspondence with two other bloggers:

David is an aircraft mechanic living in Texas. He formerly worked here in Honduras and has some wonderful stories about his past – and about his current life too. He has one of those unique writing styles in which, like all good writers, his voice comes clearly through. I envy that so. Me, on the other hand, I often get told that my speaking voice doesn’t match my writing. One guest who came here even thought that this very blog! was written by our King Air pilot Mike because it didn’t “sound” like me. Anyway, check out David’s blog, “The Whole Lotta Nada.” Catchy title, that. And like La Gringa’s “blogicito,” it’s only a slight modification of a Spanish phrase. (Why do we enjoy mangling the Spanish language? Aren’t we content to murder our own?)

David is prolific, and he often posts faster than I can keep up. I like that, as opposed to those blogs I check in with that are seemingly never updated. I should write as much as he. Heck, I’d be happy to write as well as he!

Hal Johnson is a pilot who still works for the company at which I spent thirteen happy years, Petroleum Helicopters Inc (PHI). Naturally enough he has a blog, “Dispatches From The Away-Dad Nation,” so titled because his work schedule requires him to be away from home for two weeks at a time (but then he is home for a similar period of time too). Like mine, Hal’s isn't so much about flying but rather his/our unique "take" on life and the things that happen to us. We pilots see the world differently than most. It has to do with our perspective, I suppose.

Hal and David have wonderful blogs. Compared to their beautifully crafted and descriptive stories, mine are as dry and stilted as aircraft technical manuals (which I did actually edit for a living in my previous job, so there ya go).

There are many terrific, talented writers out there in the blogosphere. Our time available for surfing is usually well-accounted for and sometimes limited. I've listed some blogs I like, and please feel free to send me blogs you think are interesting.


Hal Johnson said...

Bob, thanks much for the kind words. However, I must disagree when you describe your stories as "dry and stilted as aircraft technical manuals." I find your style both very enjoyable and effective, and you have every reason to be proud of your writing. Now, that's not to say that I find fault in self-criticism; I'm that way myself. (Sometimes, when I read my own writing, it brings forth the image of a third-rate English teacher who makes the mistake of writing when he's had too much to drink. And heck, I seldom write when I drink.) I love your blog, Bob, and apparently a goodly number of other folks do as well. Now, please write something lousy. That'll give me the opportunity to criticize it so folks won't think I'm just kissin' yer butt.

Sharon Jones - sltmjones@hotmail.com said...

Hey Bob!
I really enjoy your blogs. Not only for the humor and information they provide but just to get another person's perspective on island living.
I'm still quite a novice at blogging and am increasingly frustrated by things I have to do over and over again while setting up my blog to get it right. Nine times out of ten there are several mistakes and I groan when I see them.
I am constantly amazed how people find other individual's blogs on-line. I had a man from Delaware write me asking about the island and diving prospects after reading my blog on the internet! I was totally amazed that he found me. Guess we can't hide as well as we thought.
Thanks for the blog suggestions. I enjoyed each and everyone one of them.

David said...

Thank You...
From the depths of the lump in my throat I Thank You.
Nuff a that.
You are a helluva read or the rest of us wouldn't be here!
I for one, like maintenance manuals. When, they tell me what I want to know.
The blend of fiascos, pissin' people off, busted knuckles, current events and the music all keep me in high cover over the FH100 Pilot!
San Antonio

island girl said...

I have told you far too many times that I enjoy reading your blog - so I'm not going to do so again. God knows I don't want you to get a big head ro anything......

Keep up the good work and thanks for the entertainment!

La Gringa said...

What a bunch of crap! -- "dry and stilted as aircraft technical manuals."

You can't really believe that. Your readers sure don't!

I found it really interesting that someone who knows you didn't think you were the author. That makes me more curious about you. I'll bet that people think the same about me when they meet me. I'm really shy in person and don't have all that much to say.

The network of blogs is so very amazing! There have been two occasions when I have been leaving a comment on a new blog that I "discovered" at the exact same moment that the author is leaving a comment on mine. It is an incredibly small world and we are all the better for it.

I don't live on an island and never will. I barely know the difference between an airplane and a helicopter, but your blog is tops with me.