It’s weird how a few different thoughts and ideas swirling around in my brain, perhaps tempered by a frustrating search for a more focused direction for this blog have coalesced into what could be a fascinating project. I hope it will prove interesting to you as visitors and readers, without readers I might as well just write in a diary or journal.
The first thought swirling around in my brain is that this blog is still a bit like a shotgun, posts on marketing, social media, business ideas, common sense, motivation and of course my tilts at political windmills like big government, the nanny state, socialism and political correctness. I know that I am often guilty of writing about subjects that interest me but may not interest most of my readers. I have written about the occasional creative blogging dry spell before.
Google analytics show that 80% of my readers are first time visitors. That means I am not providing enough good content on relevant subjects to keep regular, repeat visitors coming back or subscribing. I am grateful for all visitors even if you read one post and never come back, but obviously the aim for any blog is to attract and keep an increasing number of followers.
The second thought has been the idea of writing a full length book. Somewhere around 80% of the population of North America say they would like to write a book, but few do. I have been encouraged by readers of my story on this blog and many others who have learned about some of my experiences in Africa.
Like any good recipe, two ingredients are not enough, something else was needed to trigger the project.
The third ingredient came a few days ago in the form of a blog post by Nina Amir on her blog How to Blog a Book. I first saw her post on Social Media Examiner and bookmarked it to read later. Just having read it meant that a seed had been planted, my brain began ruminating on the three separate thoughts and at four this morning I woke up realising that I had found a project to overcome my blog focus and book writing problems.
That is a lesson in on the power of the subconscious all on its own.
The result of all that mental exercise is that I will now publish at least one post a week in the new category “Memorable Moments”. That is unlikely to be the title of the book, but is descriptive enough for the collection of memories that will eventually become the book. The advantage of blogging the book is that the collection of posts could be edited into either a novel or a set of memoirs, I do not have to decide that now, just keep writing.
I will continue to publish posts 3 or 4 times a week on my usual subjects, some with discreet links to stuff I would like you to look at and buy or invest in if possible. (bloggers have to eat too.) I will endeavour to provide interesting, useful or entertaining content which will either help you in some way, entertain you or at least challenge you to look at things differently.
The first Memorable Moment also flashed through my mind in the early hours of this morning, I have absolutely no idea what triggered the recollection unless it was my dog Mike quietly snoring next to the bed. He is getting to be as fat as a warthog.
I have many recollections of warthogs, but two are memorable.
The first was in the early 1970s on guard at a bush camp in the Zambezi valley, Rhodesia, during the terrorist war. Carefully camouflaged by the bush, dry as a bone and blisteringly hot, not a breath of wind and except for a few chirping insects, absolute silence. Sitting on part of a fallen tree trunk that the termites had not eaten. My 7.62 calibre FN rifle across my knees, right hand on the pistol grip finger near the trigger, ready for action. Alert and watchful despite the heat, facing away from camp but scanning in that direction every few minutes just in case.
A sixth sense telling me that I was being watched, but the same sense telling me that it was not cause for alarm. Turning my head very slowly and seeing a brown / grey warthog approaching silently from behind my left shoulder, staying motionless until he approached close enough for me to reach out and touch him. Seeing every whisker and eyelash in exquisite detail. Noticing the lines and scratches on his tusks, how his upper lip curled over the base of the tusks.
I remember feeling quite relaxed, he was not showing any signs of aggression, only curiosity. Not even sure if he knew that I was a human. A seeming eternity of intense but calm eye contact, then not wanting to risk a confrontation in which I might have to shoot him and not wanting to fire an unnecessary shot in an operational area, I slapped my hand hard on the magazine of my rifle.
He spun on his heels like a reining horse, head and trademark tail in the air like a radio antenna and disappeared into the stifling bush. The magical connection broken but remembered so clearly 0ver 40 years later.
The second memorable moment was in the late 1990s on our farm in what had become Zimbabwe, before the disastrous and murderous campaign to force all commercial farmers off our farms.
We were on our customary evening ride around the farm to look at our cattle, check the fences and exercise our horses, 4 or 5 of our dogs always came with us. Bush fires could be a problem, we disc-harrowed a fire-break about 4m or 12 ft around the perimeter of the farm. Our internal roads served a similar, dual purpose. The sandy soil that was common in the area, produced an ideal soft surface for the horses, regular harrowing and an absence of grass made it easy to spot the dreaded ant-bear (aardvark) holes that could easily break a horses leg or a riders neck.
In our Marandellas South district, the country side was dotted with rocky outcrops (kopjes) marshy areas (vleis) and other parts unsuitable for cultivation. Most farms had substantial areas of bush where indigenous trees, bushes and plants flourished. These areas provided a safe refuge to a wide variety of wild game including warthog.
We were near the South Western corner of the farm and had ridden away from the firebreak to check something out when we heard one of the dogs barking. Moving back to the track, we saw a young male warthog proceeding at a steady trot, not a panicked scramble, followed about 3 m or 10 ft behind by Brutus our largest dog. A mastiff x labrador, a good guard dog but otherwise a fairly gentle giant. The warthog could easily have run much faster, Brutus could easily have caught him. Both appeared to be reading from the same script, from the same play. There was no need for us to intervene, they both knew the rules of the game, they carried on in the same formation until they disappeared from sight.
Brutus caught up with us later, not injured at all. They had both obviously assessed their relative strengths and decided they were too evenly balanced to risk a scrap, normally a single dog will not overcome a male warthog, but because of Brutus’ size and the warthog’s immaturity, it could have gone either way. Good sense prevailed.
Sadly Brutus was poisoned by the political thugs while I was on my first visit to Canada and Sue was living temporarily in a tiny cottage with all 5 remaining dogs and 6 cats, in the turmoil of leaving our home, we did not bring any photographs of our animals with us.
That’s my first shot at recording a Memorable Moment, let me know what you think about it and the idea of “blogging a book”, leave a comment.
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.
Gear Brain Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
warthog image Wikipedia Commons