Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Waitress, I need two more boat drinks

I'm a native Floridian and as such I love the beach. Not the ones you see on TV with condos and high rise hotels and flashing lights and fine dining. No. I like the ones that haven't been taken over by tourists, the ones tucked away and still obscure (though rarer and rarer), with weathered houses and sand on the floor and dive bars and sticker burrs and restaurants with plastic tablecloths and fried mullet.

I come from a long line of boat and beach people. We've had a place at one of those out-of-the-way redneck beaches since I was little, and my fondest memories of childhood are there, pulling the net and learning to waterski and building drip sand castles on the beach for hours and digging up sand dollars with my toes in the Gulf and paying toothless shrimpers to buy us beer when I was 13. My father and all my uncles spent summers as hands on boats, and one of them, the craziest of them, has spent most of his life on a boat, running from and just "running." He's down there now somewhere south, surfing and telling fish tales and going crazier every day.

So, inherently, I appreciate the inclination to go native, to go tropical. Which is why I was eager to review Lindi's Ideas, bland name and all. Because Lindi has done just that -- gone native -- and she's done it for a while now. And I admire that so very much. She's been all over, working on boats and scuba diving and teaching and, I imagine, having every kind of adventure. She's lost and found and has found herself in the Yucatan with a young Latin lover (I assume he's her lover; she doesn't quite say) and a house in Merida and a life of serenity and observation.

The template, like the name, leaves a lot to be desired. It's your standard blue blogger template. Blah. Flavorless. Soulless. Find something with flavor, something with a little kick. Linda, I know you don't know much about this whole blogging thing, but figure it out. Ask for help. Or go here.

There's no blogroll, or anything else for that matter, which does make it entirely uncluttered. But there's little in the design or in the "extras" to tell us who you are. And for some reason you contribute to your blog twice. How does that work?

The posts are loooong. Like this one, which I'm sure is interesting, but I can't be bothered because it goes on forever without paragraph breaks. Pick a topic and write about it. If the topic is expansive, narrow it down. Break it up. Especially if it's a "we went here and did this and here are the pictures" kind of post. Yawn. People won't care unless you make them care, and dragging on ad nauseum with no break isn't going to do it.

The writing is serene, almost formal. And it tends tends to plod. I wonder if it has to do with switching between English and Spanish (and Mayan!) in her day-to-day life. I have a friend who's lived in Korea for 10 years, and his English writing is now a bit... stilted. Without a voice.

The blog description uses the dreaded word "ramble," and it fits. There's no knowledge of where to end, of when enough is enough. I had a friend like this who couldn't for the life of her end a voicemail message. It's like she had no off switch. She didn't want to sit there rambling forever, awkwardly saying things like, "So, yeah, either call or whatever, you know? Um.... So. Did I say it's me? It is. And it's six o'clock. And we'll be here until whenever, so just, um... Yeah. Oh! Calamity says hi! And... um..." but she couldn't help herself. Hang up the phone already! Have a point! Even in your blog submission form, where you tell us about yourself, the form cut you off. I'm serious! You wrote so much the form said, nope, you're done, we're gonna stop you right there.

And when I say "have a point," I don't mean cat stuff. I like animals, too, mostly of the canine variety, but I don't know anyone who wants monthly updates on my furry friends. They wouldn't want updates if they were my actual children, either, so find something else. You're living in the dang-diddly Yucatan! There has got to be all sorts of junk to write about other than cats.

Linda, you are a fascinating, bold, and brave woman, who no doubt has reams of stories to tell... but you're not telling them. In your submission form you said, "I thought maybe I would sit my ass down to write every day instead of smokin too much dope and staring at teh computer..." Girl, do I ever know the feeling. Trust me, I'm all over that. You also say, "and although I know you will crucify me, fuck it, I am in the mood today. I must be a masochist because I have not shown my real self on that page, in fear of offending my family with my f..." (that's where the form said buh-bye). Awesome. You know there's a problem, you know you're muzzling yourself. And this is never a recipe for good blogging.

This is where it got interesting to me. The calm, peaceful, la-la-la of it all came crumbling down and we see some personality, some frustration, some life. Do more of this! Stop worrying if you offend people. This is the problem with non-anonymous blogs -- people get all wrapped up in what they're saying instead of just saying it. You have, I'm sure, lived one of the most interesting lives being blogged about, but we wouldn't know it because your posts are sanitized and travelogged and shuttered to hell and back. Take the ball gag out and give it back to Love Bites.

Also, in that bit up there from your submission form that I posted? There we get to see how you might talk, what you might sound like. It's more natural, less forced, less "I'm writing so I better write like I'm writing and take it seriously and inject it all with formality and all due decorum." Fuck that. Get real. Tell us the truth, tell us who you are, or don't bother.

Because I do absolutely find you fascinating, and because there's the potential for some great storytelling, I'm giving you

But if you don't step it up, if you don't start editing your writing so that it sounds like you and start telling us the good stuff and start revealing who you are and what you think and where you've been, well: you've been warned. Those flaming fingers singe something fierce.

P.S. Why not write the masterpiece on the blog instead of using the blog to escape from the masterpiece?


  1. Thanks. I survived.

    In response, Pablo is my young Latin lover. He's fantastic.

    The blog name comes from years of using "Lindi's Ideas" on all my creations. It was my trademark. I might change it.

    I need patience to fix the background of the blog. I'll check out those sites.

    Somehow I have two sources from which I submit my blogs and my name thus appears twice. Since I didn't know what I was doing when I set up the blogs, I was signed in on my other email when I set up the Mayan Ruins blog. Now it thinks I'm two people. I don't know how to fix it.

    I will take your advice to heart. I will try to edit my writing, and open up. I have been writing the blogs as if they were writing exercises for a class instead of just laying into shit. The that is a problem.

  2. "Why not write the masterpiece on the blog instead of using the blog to escape from the masterpiece?"

    I dig that.

  3. Ok, new names for the blog.
    When I first lived and worked in the Yucatan, twenty some years ago, I worked illegally, and was scuba diving all the time. I decided then that my adventure book would be called I WAS A WETBACK IN MEXICO.
    How does that ring for a title?
    Or something like CRAZY GONE NATIVE

    How about some crazy feedback from your crazy readers? I am not the only loon out there.

  4. I like Crazy Gone Native, a lot!

  5. I like "Crazy Gone Native" ... but I think I like "Gone Native" even better.

    This was a really constructive review. Your blog will kick ex-pat butt (and a whole bunch of others besides) if you can open it up a little, let more of you onto the page.


Grow a pair.