A Few Notes On the Solitary
Art of Independent Blogging
People often ask me, where does the inspiration for Colltales come from? How does its worldwide audience react to its stories, and why do readers come back for more? Or do I have any tips to share? In reality, these are hardly ever asked questions; I just wish they were.
Instead, they want to know, what’s the blog about? Or why it isn’t about something else? Or why do I even blog? To say, ‘a few things,’ ‘it is,’ and ‘I don’t know,’ never seems to please anyone, so I’m done trying it. So how do I do it? boy, am I glad you have finally asked.
Few things are more complicated to explain than the reasons behind publishing a weekly online report in a world already littered with billions of them. Specially when such effort involves hours of research and agonizing about depth and accuracy, and rarely pays a single utility bill.
Then, to make things interesting, to pick subjects like someone shops for a coffin. Should I go for broke and delve into the DeLuxe line, or be humble, or rather, cheap, and choose the pine, with a little varnish on the corners, because, well, it’s late and we all need to get some sleep?
For sure, there are few constants: family and friends are usually non subscribers. In holiday gatherings, to mention online proclivities may actually lead to appalling arguments over better uses of wasted time. An ‘aren’t you searching for a better job?’ may bury you on the spot.
Also, if it the blog’s not about love, or life advice, celebrity quirks, or things to do at 9am, while waiting for the F Train, at West 4th station, it isn’t easy to get anyone to type its name on the address bar. For once they pick, say, the day when L’Origine du Monde was the cover picture, you must prepare to hear about it from years to come.
THE HELL YOU CAN
Which brings us to theme choice, and how escape branding (yes, we hate that too). Colltales has close to 2,000 stories on file, ranging from multicolored herds to menstruation, obituaries to crop circles. Things we like, such as Beatles and futebol, and others that enrage us, like racial profiling.
It used to sport a fresh new post every single day, until it became clear that the world didn’t care one way or another. So, it turned into that something else mentioned above. They all had a similar ignition key, though: a news story. Once we get hooked on a gem, we run with it like robbers on a getaway car.
Speaking of stealing, it’s indeed common online. Mostly text lifting, and none is too small to count, just as the most edifying sermon is downright immoral if made up of words by an unattributed author. And so is placing a picture without credit. Any is worth the same thousand words: theft. (By the way, hovering on the pics tells you their author; clicking, gives you a story.)
SPEAKING IN TONGUES
Go tell the Greek, the Angolan, the Mongolian, about earth, wind, water and fire. It gets through. Now speak of the Palisades to the Palestinian, or Thanksgiving to a Kurd, and the rest of your post will remain as untouched, and deeply misunderstood, as the Mariana Trench.
But gorges can be bridged and canyons reached across. A post about a ciphered message, found a few years ago in pocket of a con man, killed in a Midwest cornfield, found resonance with a reader, who, while struggling with English, did his own probing into the matter. We cherished our newfound common taste for ciphers.
And really, a typical Colltale, if there’s such, is about how we’re more alike than not, closer rather than apart. Yeah, we wrote about (more)
* It Blogs the Mind
* Ghost Writer
* Raise Your Voice
psychopaths and deranged loners, much more than ‘heart warming’ tales, which are as icy as serial killers to write about. But when someone says hi, we wag our coattail.
TIPS & GRATUITIES
Sure, I’ve learned some. Then again, I forget a lot. In fact, although I go through a ridiculous long set of tasks, to put together a post – topped by endless rewritings – nothing assures me that the end result won’t suck, or be riddled with typos, or plagued with bad grammar.
In the end, I’m always glad I did it. It feels like chasing madness away, at least for a good two minutes. Not much of an alternative, otherwise. Then the light of the new dawn comes up outside the window, and it’s all downhill. Like a heartless father, I kick the little orphans out of my head, and they’d better not look back.
To say that I haven’t written anything that I’ve regretted means little and sounds wimpy. True to form, I don’t really know how to write about ‘the truth,’ and try to stay away from sounding as if I am. But it’s inherent from using the news as a springboard that at least part of a post is based on a morsel of real substance.
DRONING OVER THE WORLD
Calling this blog independent, let’s admit, it’s mostly for entertainment purposes. As is most of this content, by the way. Surely, there’s no need to AdBlock this site, and neither we’re affiliated to any group, credo, faith or militia. But we wonder, are these real choices, or just our default mode?
As Michel de Montaigne – who arguably would’ve made a great blogger of our era – once wrote, I quote others only in order to better express myself. Writing is always a form of borrowing, rephrasing, even stealing, if we can improve on what others labored to express. And give them the credit for it, of course.
When time comes to quit, I may deem blogging shallow and self serving. Still as such, the prospect haunts me. As I mangle the grand finale, you reader, is the one left to make sense of what’s on the page. Does it speak to you, entice you to drop everything and go get some fresh air? If that’s so, Colltales has just explained itself.