Home > Germany, Personal > Where Can You Turn

Where Can You Turn

This blog is an experiment, a chance to try out new writing techniques and ideas (most rather small and subtle) as it is a way to remember my trip and my experiences. The experimental aspect I didn’t plan on was the way making my generally personal musings and observations public would introduce me, almost violently, to the old truth about it being impossible to please everyone. Whatever the subject, several people would complain. When I wrote about myself, people said it was too self-absorbed, when I wrote about others, it was too gossipy, writing about social events made it too shallow, writing about culture and museums made it too boring. If I wrote down everything I wanted it was offensive, if I censored out everything that might offend it became a tease (and frankly really short). Taking it down created anger over removing it, and putting it back up led almost immediately to more complaints.

I take it in stride as working at newspapers has given me no little insight into the nature of the beast (in this case consumers of my writing). While I want everyone who reads it to enjoy what I write, I recognize that’s impossible, so the best I can do is make sure I like what I write. And since I never write falsehoods or claim as truth what I only conjecture, I don’t feel guilty over it either, though I do occasionally feel bad after a particularly vehement complaint.

In a strange way it’s actually helped me learn more about other cultures since there’s a real pattern to what complaints come from people of which nationalities. Europeans (male and female) tend to find the cultural stuff boring, even when it’s things they haven’t seen or done before. Americans are more likely to take offense at having things written about them even as they beg for more details and stories. Germans tend to be more concerned over disclaimers between fact and opinion while Scandinavians and Brits just want to make sure the background behind stories is clear. A minor psychological study in its way.

Of course part of the reason I like writing the blog is that my professional writing is at the moment at least strictly limited in its format and level of creativity. Making puns and allusions to literature, writing about what I actually think, and otherwise having fun with the content is a release from that. But perhaps airing it all out in public is not the way to do it. I have much more musing to do on the subject, but I leave it for now with a limerick.

Eric worked hard on his writing

But his blog always caused lots of fighting

Fending off all complaints

With the patience of saints

He thought “well at least they’re not biting!”

Categories: Germany, Personal
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