CURRENT LOCATION: Tied to a mooring ball near Cayo Pirata, in Ensenada Honda, Culebra, Puerto Rico
18 18.400' N, 065 17.842' W
The magic of the internet never ceases to amaze me (even though I previously worked for a global company and interacted, through virtual means, with people from around the globe on a regular basis). It has been interesting to get an informal survey of where our regular readers are when they check in to see if there is a new posting to our blogsite. There are other, more hi-tec ways of collecting that kind of info (and we may play with a few widgets on our site in the future); however, we enjoyed this slightly more personal approach to data gathering.
We have responded to each and every e-mail sent to us this week (as we have done with every e-mail we have gotten from the start). We have received both compliments and constructive criticism (and we appreciate both). As one would expect, many readers fall into different categories of people we know: friends, relatives, and fellow cruisers. However, an equal (if not larger) number are people we have never met. They include those preparing for the cruising lifestyle, armchair sailors wishing they were back on the water, and a surprising number of non-sailing dreamers.
It is the continued diversity of this audience which brings me such great joy. I have been working on attempts at putting together a book, but have found it a task which is much different than writing blogs or short articles for publication. In the blog, I have the most freedom. I can use whatever format suits the information to be shared and my mood at the time. Sometimes it is mostly words, and sometimes it is mostly Sheryl's wonderful photos. The only restrictions are our own time and technology. It is a fantastic writing medium.
Writing articles for publication poses a different challenge. There always seems to be much to say and not enough space in which to say it. Also, you have to come up with good illustrations for the story you wish to write. As I mentioned before, Sheryl is a fantastic photographer, but there is a constant conundrum in that area when it comes to sailing stories. When something exciting is happening, one is often too busy dealing with the excitement to snap pictures. Also, pictures rarely convey the state of the sea or the strength of the wind. Still, she is a great partner in this (as in all) endeavors. Those of you who reside in the Carolinas may notice that we have published another article in the most recent issue of Carolina Currents. I haven't seen it yet myself, but a good friend is tossing a copy in the US Mail for us today (one of the advantages of being in Puerto Rico is the availability of the USPS through General Delivery). Thanks so much, Lane.
A book, on the other hand, gives me total freedom in terms of space (I can write as much as I want), and there is no need to illustrate with photos (instead, my words must serve to paint mental pictures for the reader). The only drawback is the fact that in order to make a book successful, I will need to write for a broad audience. I want to be certain to reach the land-based dreamers as well as the sailors browsing in the bookstores. This desire has caused me several false starts. I've considered intercalating simple definitions for all nautical terminology within the text of the story, but in practice that became much too cumbersome. I want to keep it entertaining, but I am not sure that quirky humor suits my style (and, fortunately, ours is not a dramatic 'survival at sea' story). So, I am working to find a consistent voice, an underlying theme, and a level of detail which presents a complete story while not boring the reader to tears. Hopefully, it will turn out to be an inspirational story without sounding like a preachy 'you can do it too!' kind of book. I have been reading and re-reading some of my favorite escapist narratives for motivation, and have had at least one day of writing this week where I felt that it might be coming together at last (of course, that is only one chapter on paper, thus far). If I can be successful, it appears as though I might have the nucleus of an audience for the book in our list of regular readers. That gives me encouragement.
In any case, the readers' tally has been both fun and informative for us. However, for those of you reading along from home, watching that list grow must be about as exciting as watching paint dry. Thanks for bearing with us. I have placed a link to the survey results in the upper left corner of the site (REGULAR READERS), and I will update it as frequently as possible. If you wish to be added to the list, just send us an e-mail.
In the meantime, we'll get back to our regularly scheduled blog entries. And, as I have learned that many of you are checking for new entries daily, I will endeavor to keep the site updated with postings as often as I have something interesting to write. It is my promise to you.