Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Strangers in Bars

Over the past few months, I've been brainstorming ideas for a new blog. Initially I was leaning toward a Portland focus, maybe something along the lines of "I Heart PDX." Each post would be titled "Reason # ___ Why I Love Portland." This would give me a pretty broad platform for writing about a multitude of topics.

I started searching online to see if anyone else had the same idea. It turns out there are a lot of bloggers who write about their love of Portland. Some are focused on food and/or drink, but many cover a wide range of topics. No one is using the exact format of listing reasons though. I'm still toying with this idea. But I've come up with another one as well.

Last month I was out drinking beer with my friend Cindy Anderson, publisher of the Portland Happy Hour Guidebook. I was telling her about my new blog idea and she suggested I write about my observations and conversations with people I meet at bars. Considering I do go out fairly often, usually on the hunt for the latest local brew, and I have a tendency to start conversations with total strangers, this idea intrigued me.

After some research, I discovered that Sandra O'Connell in Vancouver, BC publishes a blog called Tales From A Bar Stool. The first post dates back to September 2008 and records her observation of a male friend hitting on two older females. As her blog gained in popularity, and she focused more on her writing career as a whole, she gradually evolved from posts about strangers to more well-known personalities and events. She still writes about her experiences, including a list of lessons learned at the end, but this is no longer her primary purpose.

With this in mind, I started brainstorming a title for my new blog. I like the idea of something less obvious than "Strangers in Bars." For example, "A Glass Half-full." Turns out that's already taken! Or "One Pint at a Time." Also taken! I do not necessarily want the title to reference alcohol. I meet interesting people everywhere I go and enjoy chatting with strangers on the bus, at the grocery store, at the coffee shop, etc.

I'm still working on a general format for the blog. I don't want it to be written in the form of an interview or Q&A session. Beyond getting some basic background information from "the stranger," I prefer to just let the conversation flow on its own. Then I'll write about what I find most unique or interesting about that person, relative to the environment in which I met them.

My goal is to meet at least one new person each week and write a blog post about the encounter. I plan to continue writing here at Alethea's Excellent Adventures as well and will use this forum as I always have, as a way to share my travels & life experiences with friends, family and the general public who might find some of the information useful.

So, my dear readers, I'm asking all of you to weigh in on the title and subject matter of my new blog. I'd love to hear your thoughts and to know what you'd like to read about. Do you like the "Strangers in Bars" idea or some variation on that theme? What about "I Heart Portland?" Please feel free to leave your comments below this post or get in touch via Facebook or Twitter. Many thanks in advance!

1 comment:

  1. Fun ideas! I wouldn't limit it to Portland, just in case you move or just maybe, possibly travel someday :-)

    For inspiration, I recommend watching "Ira & Abby". I thought it was pretty cute. I love Abby's attitude in meeting people (well not really with Ira, but strangers :-)

    And thanks for the shout-out about the book too!

    A working title for a book idea of MINE was Tales from a Barstool! But I was going to elaborate and make stories up based on conversations I had, and also in asking to see the bar log (they often write down weird events like a diary).

    Do you like the "Strangers in Bars" idea or some variation on that theme? Yes! "Strangers" does add an element of scariness though... hmmm...

    In my author trainings, I've learned to really work at an intriguing, perfect title. Your name may be hard to remember. I like adventures as a word and a tie-in... I'd suggest coming up with about 100 of them! Get it all out on paper and one should all the sudden hit you. And then pray it's available! We should stew on it over a couple beers -- or mai tais! Personally, I get pretty creative over at Trader Vic's! :-)