Letter to the Reader


G’Day. Hi. Bonjour. Hullo. Guten Tag. Mornin’ all. A multilingual greeting to mark a new update of the clustrmap which has been analysing where Watermelon visitors come from geographically (see “Map of recent visits” about half way down right hand column). Runs in a great arc from New Zealand through SE Asia and Europe to NW USA, with relatively few from Africa and South America. But a very pleasing spread, Watermelon fans are a very cosmopolitan lot! Couple of odd stats. There are as many visitors from the US as from New South Wales, where I live. There are as many visitors from California, 20,000km away as there are from the Australian Capital Territory 50km away. The number of visitors from the UK is only one sixth of those from the US. Go figure. Anyway, wherever you come from, welcome, come again please.

“How am I”, I hear you ask? [The early part of this recent saga is the currently last chapter of my autobiography under the "Dream" tab above]. Well, do you want the good news or the bad news? No, not quite, but if 2011 was the year of having unpleasant treatments to deal with an unpleasant disease, 2012 is the year of dealing with the side-effects, after-effects, of that treatment, while continuing part of the treatment for 2 more years to prevent re-occurrence. Sort of like juggling a set of quite different objects – keeping ball, knife, glass of water and bunch of flowers in air simultaneously while standing on one leg and singing “Yesterday”. The two most common things people say to me (in a relieved tone of voice) are “You’re looking well” and “Aren’t you lucky”. Both, while absolutely true, make me quietly rage inside.

Which reminds me. Down at the bottom of the right hand column, “I am reading” I try to keep up to date what I am, you know, currently reading. Have been through a series lately of biographies of Rousseau, Keating, now Steve Jobs, and shortly Dickens. Not as bizarre a mixture as it might seem. Couple of common threads. Four geniuses, each in his own way, four absolutely unique characters in the way we all aspire to being unique, moulds broken etc. And all four, conversely, really difficult, in many ways unpleasant characters, while exuding charisma and often charm. Self-centred, driven, paranoid, domineering, thoughtless, careless with human relationships, and so on. People with a rage inside and often a rage outside as well. All to different degrees, obviously, in different combinations, but put the four in a room together and it would be an intellectual cage fight, no holds barred. But all admirable for their creativity. Do the two things go together? Is genius, creativity, necessarily associated with the kind of person you wouldn’t want to share a house with and certainly wouldn’t want to work for? Do nice guys and gals finish last? Do we have to put up with bad manners from people who are doing great things? Yes, it’s an old question, and I doubt it will ever be answered. Certainly not in a single post on a blog no matter how creative, how much a work of genius, that blog is. Which brings me to the final part of this Letter to the Reader

Decided to enter the blog in the “Best Australian Blogs” competition. You’ll see the logo button in the right column near the top. Click on it and it will take you to the Sydney Writer’s Centre site with all kinds of information about the help they provide to new and old writers, including courses (both for locals and online for people from America, Britain, France … Guadeloupe) and so on. Go on, have a look, I’ll wait until you get back.

Hullo, back already? Hope that was of interest to any budding or established writers among my blog friends. Anyway, when I entered they sent the information below. Have a quick read and then I’ll ask you to do couple of things for me.

What’s happening with the People’s Choice Award?
If you’ve entered the People’s Choice Award, you’ll receive an email on Thursday 12 April 2012 with details about how this round will work. Remember that nominations do not count as votes. So we recommend you let your followers know you’ve entered, and get them ready to vote for you from 5.00pm on Friday 13 April 2012.

We will start sorting blogs on Friday 13 April 2012
So make sure your blog is as good as it possibly can be by the 13th! Any great ideas you’ve always wanted to write about, or that face-lift you’ve been struggling to make the time for, make sure you squeeze it in by Friday 13 April 2012!

What criteria will your blog be judged on?
The criteria for the Best Australian Blogs competition is 70% writing, 20% appearance of your blog and 10% interaction and social media. Make sure your social media activity can be discovered through your blog.

Now you know what I am going to say. Do I need to do anything to give the blog a face lift (within limits of WordPress)? Any features you’d like to see, anything you don’t like? You are the customers, always right. Well, maybe not always, but, you know. It’s your blog, I just work here, let me know how you feel about the content (which goes for anytime of course, not just with a competition on). Second, one of the criteria for the judged part (as distinct from the People’s Choice” part) is relationship to social media. I’m very active on Twitter, and if you like what I do here you will like what I do there. Easy to follow, just click on the “Follow Watermelon_Man” button on the right. I’m always encouraging my Twitter followers to visit the blog, and they do, and it would be great to have more movement from this direction. Conversely, more of you actually following this blog to get automatic updates would look good for my blog cred. And finally, when the 13 April looms, It would be really great if you could vote for me. I will put a post up, with instructions, but it won’t be complicated.

What’s in it for you? Well, a warm sense of pride that you chose wisely all that time ago and are following a really really good blog. A short list or win would boost visitors so I would have to perform even better for you all, and there would be a lot more commenters for you to interact with. And finally the prizes involve writing courses at the Centre, so I could learn to write more proper and you would get a much better quality blog. So, easy, suggestions for improvement before the eagle-eyed blog judges come calling; twitter following; and then a really high voter turn out come 13 April. Bit of a boost to this old ego, that’d be.