READER CAUTION: this blog contains links to what might be objectionable language and potentially horrifying plane accidents.
It was not that long ago when I just didn’t get the whole blogging thing.
My original goal was to combine my love of travel and my desire to be the next Tim Cahill, minus the beard and albeit a few inches shorter.
The desire to combine the two interests probably began when I starting reading Outside Magazine many years ago, and discovered the wonderful travel adventure tales of said Cahill.
And I had no intention of letting my lack of writing prowess in any way hinder my dream of seeing my stories grace the pages of Outside–or more recently–National Geographic Traveler magazine.
(Hey, if I was grounded in reality it wouldn’t be called a “dream,” right?)
In my attempt to become a Johnny-come-lately professional travel writer I even went so far as taking a writing class at the local college. There, I was introduced to what was certainly created solely to intimidate me into submission, the iconic writing “bible,” The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.
Even though the entire book is about the size of a Reader’s Digest (in other words, relatively small), I have only made it to page 14.
I need a book just to explain in plain English what this book on writing in plain English is even talking about.
For those of you who missed putting the date on your Outlook calendar, this is the 50th anniversary of that tiny tome of transcendental tutelage.
“The Elements of Style” preaches clarity, precision and simplicity. It does not promote fancy writing and big words.”
So much for me scouring the online thesaurus for source material.
And even worse,
“Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating.”
Ah, that explains why my writing makes my wife sick…it’s my rich ornate prose.
But back to the blogging, a friend of mine convinced me that writing–ANY writing–exercises my writing muscles that will eventually pay off in some manner.
So far the only payoff has been all this keyboard time has kept me from any physical exercise, wherein I would just make myself all hot and sweaty (but without the pleasurable payoff in the conclusion of activities).
Hence I blog.
And just when I thought I got the whole Web 2.0 – Social Networking – Blogging – My Space – Facebook phenomena, along came Twitter.
My daughter is patiently trying to help me understand what I see as basically a method of, in essence, texting a whole bunch of people at the same time to let them know I just had the most successful dump of the century; or that I am putting on a coat because it is cold; or I need to buy eggs tomorrow.
I will let you go to the Twitter.com site if you want to watch a short video that explains how someone in Albuquerque is waiting to hear what color socks you are wearing today.
My first introduction to the topic was when Leif, over on his travel site http://KillingBatteries.com, started posting his Tweets on his blogsite.
In her efforts to give me examples of how Twittering can be used to disseminate timely information to the masses, my daughter forwarded this link to me about a guy who was on that plane in Denver that unsuccessfully took off but successfully ended up off the runway in a mass of molten metal. (Be forewarned, he uses words that your mother would take offense in.)
One woman succinctly summarized the experience by saying,
“It was bumpy, then it was bumpier, then it wasn’t bumpy.”
I read most of the comments on that guy’s Twitter page (or whatever they are called) and they ranged from relief to rank ridicule.
The funniest comment might have been from a person who felt that a plane that almost took off, skidded off the runway, broke in two, became engulfed in flames did not qualify for being called a plane crash. Gee, why don’t we just back the plane up to the end of the runway and try again.
What caught my attention was the contrast in the story of the 50th anniversary for a book that preaches very strict rules for writing when compared to a Tweet that uses incomplete sentences, made-up abbreviations and “bad” language.
I am not judging here–honest–I am still trying to figure out what Twitter means in terms of world peace, or at least in my future as a wannabe travel writer.
In the meantime, I did find this neat “Twitter Toy” (that’s MY term) that shows a 3-D rotating earth with Twittering Tweets as they are Twittered.
In about five seconds I saw someone mention breast-feeding and someone from the other side of the globe mention a puking baby.
I can only assume the two were unrelated.