Hi, my name is Brian Harmer. I am married, an an enthusiastic amateur photographer and happily retired since 2011. I also enjoy narrative writing.
For sixteen years beginning in February 1994, before the word “blog” was known, and long before the mainstream news media saw any virtue in having a web presence, I posted via an email list and as a web page, a weekly compilation of news items from New Zealand. Called “WYSIWYG News”, it was also posted on the now moribund Usenet forum “soc.culture.new-zealand”. Targeted at expat Kiwis, and indeed anyone else with an interest in New Zealand, it reached a peak in about 2003 with 4,500 email subscribers, a hundred or so who interacted with it on usenet, and an unknowable number who looked at the web site.
As a preamble to each issue, I wrote two or three (sometimes more) pages of what I characterised as my “purple prose”. These were my reflections on events and places in my life. Mostly they were descriptive pieces extolling the beauty of our wonderful country, and occasionally they covered more personal events or family events, graduations, weddings, births, and deaths. I enjoyed writing them, and to my surprise, received a steady stream of encouragement to do more.
Over the years, the mainstream newsmedia finally understood that there was a market, if only they could find a business model, for their product on the web, and the original news-based purpose for the existence of WYSIWYG News was eroded. When I finally closed it in 2010, there were still 1,300 subscribed recipients, many of who wrote kind things and encouraged me to continue the purple prose part of the exercise. I needed the break, and so, nothing has happened until now, and what follows may, or may not meet their expectations. As before my main expectation is that I should have fun doing it.
Much has happened in my life since the cessation of WYSIWYG News, including the birth of Otis, my third grandson, and sixth grandchild. Of direct relevance to the resumption of my writing, is my retirement.
Prior to that, with the aid of the Hutt Camera Club, and attendance at the regional and national conventions of the Photographic Society of New Zealand, I reignited my dormant passion for photography (and spent a lot on equipment on the way). But before I go there, for the sake of any old friends who may be rejoining me, I should tell you that the family is all well, and I am revelling in the business of being retired. So now, with the introductions and pleasantries behind us, what’s the purpose of this blog?
Well in the first instance it provides me with a platform from which to resume writing, an activity I greatly enjoy. An audience is a prerequisite for most authors including me. I hope that those who read what I have to say will tell me what can be done better, and let me know if they enjoy what they see and read. Of course affirmation is always a pleasure to receive, but constructive criticism is where real learning and development occur. Please feel free to express your opinion.
What will the blog be about? Anything that takes my fancy, but as in the days of the original purple prose it is likely to arise from things I see and experience, in my family, in my travels, or anything else I feel like. It is unlikely to be political in any partisan sense, nor indeed technical.
It is no secret that I am a theist (not an atheist), and a Christian, but that will manifest itself in the way I live and the attitudes I profess, and certainly not in any deliberate preaching. Please don’t waste your time or mine trying to change that. I shall simply not engage in that conversation.
A major difference between this venture and the old WYSIWYG news is that my writing and my photography will be tightly integrated. Each post will contain at least one image (often more), and it will be related to the writing. Sometimes the image will illustrate the points made in the prose, and sometimes the prose will attempt to interpret the image.
What kind of images will they be? Always safe for work and family. Usually they will be representational, and sometimes they will be impressionistic or experimental.