I have a friend at the sailing club who loves to write long, rambling articles about her sailing adventures. Let's protect her anonymity and call her Vicky. Last fall she sent me a typical Vicky story about her trials, tribulations and triumphs sailing in a major regatta. I ran a couple of 'episodes' in winter issues of the club newsletter but even though I gave her generous space in the rag each time, I think there was 80% of her article still unused. Now that the sailing season is in full swing there is so much topical news, photos and announcements of events to include in the newsletter, I never have room for further episodes of Vicky's story.
She grabbed me after sailing on Sunday and asked if I was ever going to finish publishing her regatta account.
I tried to be diplomatic. "It was a fascinating account, Vicky. But, you know, it's a little out of date now. I feel I really have to cover more recent events if people send me stuff."
She wasn't placated. "Yeah - but you sent out an email requesting articles for the newsletter and you said you would fill any space left over with stuff promoting the Laser fleet".
True. I did do that. Apparently Vicky doesn't share my sense of humor. The email was meant to be funny and to encourage submissions by making a self-deprecatory rhetorical threat.
She was insistent. "You could always edit it a bit, if you want. Just pick out the bits that are complimentary to me. Those first two parts made me look bad."
I spluttered. I could have said, "Well, you wrote that stuff."
But I bit my tongue and kept on in my diplomatic voice and said, "But Vicky - people love those stories where you describe what went wrong at the regatta. You are such a great sailor that sometimes people are scared to race against you. It makes you seem more human when you tell folk that you screw up sometimes too."
I'm not sure I convinced her.
Afterwards I got to thinking about her motivations and how they compared to my own in writing this blog. We are really quite similar in that we feel compelled to share our own fascination with the sport of sailing by writing at length about our sailing experiences. Maybe we are similar too in that other folk may not find the resulting stories as gripping as we think they are?
She clearly wanted to get the news out about the good things that happened at the regatta. I don't think I share that same compulsion to write self congratulatory material. I am much more comfortable writing stories that poke fun at myself such as Fixing a Hole and Heavy Air Fear.
On the other hand, luck has been running my way this year so I have ended up writing about some successes too such as The Regatta. Does that make me come across as pompous and arrogant? Am I too much in love with myself? Hope not.
Or does one need to be a little narcissistic to want to write a personal blog every day?