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.