Friday, May 10, 2013

Tell Me a Story

It's the writing that matters. Give me a good story, and I'll read about anything.

I have always been an avid book reader. I don't read poorly written books because there are too many other great books. I rely on friends' recommendations and book reviews to narrow my selections, and I rarely need to eliminate "bad books" from my reading pile because this system does so for me.

I like any book that tells a good story, which means I lean toward fiction and memoir, but the most uninteresting subject can be a good story in the hands of a talented author. For me, Seabiscuit is this book. I care not at all about horse racing or jockey life, but Laura Hillenbrand is a gifted storyteller, and that made Seabiscuit a great read (her WWII book, Unbroken, was even better).

The converse is true. A book about an interesting subject will not keep my attention unless the author does so with her storytelling skills. More books fall into this category than I can name.

I recently have become an avid blog reader. I hold blogs to the same writing standards as I do books. The problem is that there are no blog standards. Anyone can do it (if I can, anyone can). No publishers whittle down the offerings, no editors improve them, and few review them.

I spend a lot of time separating the wheat from the chaff in the blog world.

To find new blogs, I usually search by subject, but an interesting subject is no guarantee of good writing. I recently abandoned a DIY blog I've enjoyed because the blogger brought in guest bloggers who cannot write.

If the writing is good, the subject matter is irrelevant. I sample a great number of blogs but I only follow those that tell an engaging story.

My latest find is the PocketFrenz blog. PocketFrenz is a fledgling company that makes unique hoodies for kids (check out their website for a better explanation and photos). The entrepreneurs behind the company are a married couple, Jason and Marni. In the PocketFrenz blog, Jason gives a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to start a company with your spouse from scratch using your own money.

I first read the PocketFrenz blog because (disclaimer) Jason is a friend of mine from college. I keep reading because it's well-written and tells a good story. When not working as an aspiring hoodie impresario, Jason is a writer. He has published a novel, written for television, and probably has written movies too, although I've lost track. He can use words in ways I only dream of, and he's damn funny. I'll keep reading because the blog makes me laugh and I can't wait to find out what happens next. It's like a reality show where only the host might get voted off the island.

I will continue to look for more great writers among bloggers. I know they are out there. I just need to find them. I'd love your help. If you follow any great blogs, please share them in the comments because I'm always in the market for a good story.

I admit bias because the PocketFrenz blogger is a friend of mine, but he didn't ask me to write this and doesn't know I'm doing it.  For all I know, in an Abercrombie kind of way, he may consider Flotsam of the Mind readers not cool enough for PocketFrenz and will not want us loitering around their blog or website scaring off better, cooler consumers. Not only have I not received any compensation or free products, I haven't ever seen the products other than on the website. They do look cool.


  1. Thanks so much, Cyn. So glag you enjoy the Pocket Frenz Blog -- a huge compliment coming from you! As far as Flotsam readers being cool enough... you know I set the coolness bar pretty low (I kept a mullet into the 2000s, so I may have actually invented uncool). Despite our Ambercrombie abs, we welcome your awesome readers and are flattered by your support! BTW, we need to get your kids some Pocket Frenz! Looking forward to the next Flotsam post!

  2. Unbroken was an amazing book! I did not know it was the same author of Seabiscuit. Now I have to add that to my growing reading list. Thanks, I think? Hopefully it's old enough that I can find it on Kindle addition from the library. Another good one I've read recently is the Dragon and the Pearl.

    I can only hope that my blog is entertaining enough for your reading pleasure. I have never fancied myself a writer so words, grammar, prose, or phonics are not my bag. That silly engineer's brain of mine always wanting to play with numbers.