Visiting a zoo (such as my dear beloved Memphis Zoo) in the summer can be an interesting experience. Even the animals that are accustomed to hot weather prefer to take it easy during the day, and those that prefer colder climes retreat to air conditioned enclosures. For instance, a few years ago I snapped this photo of a female Pongo abelii who decided the best move was to just nap in the clover. As a fellow great ape with red hair, I know how she feels.
In addition to the long, hot, miserable summer we've endured here in the southeastern quarter of the United States, various winebloggers around the country have found themselves wondering, "Where are the comments?" "Is anybody reading?" "Should I admit that I'm dropping ice cubes in my Chenin Blanc?" Summers are always a little dry as folks go on vacation, kids are bugging them all the time, and various responsibilities of life eat away at time. Plus, the heat and humidity can sap the gumption of the best of us. "I've been meaning to comment on your blog, but every time I sit down on the couch with the laptop I zonk out within fifteen minutes. Also, I love wine but right now an ice cold Coors Light is about as much as I can handle."
Over the years I've noticed this summer drought of communication, and it's easy to read some of the lack of enthusiasm from other bloggers. How do you keep it fresh and interesting? How do you maintain readers without resorting to repeats or gimmicks?
I'm thinking that next summer I'm going to devote a day a week to random odds and ends. Maybe some short fiction, maybe some humor, maybe I'll fantasize and design some Chateau Benito wine labels, maybe post a dozen links to my favorite summer songs and explain where I was when I first heard them. There's a lot of debate over the border between writers and bloggers, but to do either well you have to want to convert ideas to text, and care about what you're doing. The joy of this particular format is that you can write about whatever you want. The weakness is that few take that opportunity. Nobody challenges you to step out of your subject area or comfort zone. There's no teacher that assigns you 500 words on the color green or an editor that needs you to review a Swedish death metal concert when you've been covering city council meetings for ten years.
Fear not, this blog isn't going to turn into wistful musings on my time playing catcher for a church league baseball team, and I'm not going to replace wine reviews with funny pictures of cats with amusing captions. I'm examining the idea that these dreary summer months might be better spent recharging the batteries and exploring some experimental territory. I've got a hunch that you'd see some pretty spectacular wine writing in the fall.