Hello? Ha-llo! Who are you, all you thousands of followers?
The problem's not where to start, but how to end. Is there such a thing as a perfect ending?
I'm still trying to get my Book of all the Blogs - working title "Das Buch" - finished. So I started looking at how other writers finish their travel memoirs. Most seem to simply leave the reader in limbo. In How low can you go?, my favourite book on no-frills air travel, for example, Tom Chesshyre ends up saying "I suddenly have a moment of inspiration: 'Let's have a beer'. You call that an inspirational ending? Or take the brilliant Straying from the flock on travelling around New Zealand. This moving memoir, which had me on the edge of my sofa for 250 pages, "wraps up" with "I waved and went to the terminal". Did you? Wow...
Maybe I'm trying to go against the flow, but I don't want to leave the reader in the lurch like that. Of course if I'm ever going to finish the book I might have to. I'll just say something like "I ordered another Weißbier and waited for the sun to come out". Oops, just gave the grand climax away.
The other thing I can't quite get my head round is who actually reads my blog? According to the "ticker", since starting the blog in 2010 I've had 18132 visits. That's quite a lot of curious followers. Who are you all?
These last few weeks, however, have seen me grappling with slightly more pressing issues. Last week my car broke down on the autobahn. The friendly man from the ADAC car club talked about Totalschaden – a word guaranteed to strike a mixture of fear and frustration into even the most tough-skinned German. It ranks close behind that other terrifying word – Schienenersatzverkehr. Until the vehicle is repaired or replaced my own resilience is being put to the test. Germans boast about their efficient public transport system. I'm now being forced to test it out myself as I travel from my home to workplace in Munich, making the 130-km round trip by bus, train and tram.
But back to the elusive ending dilemma. Maybe I'm just using it as a lame excuse for not finishing my manuscript and self publishing. I need something or someone behind me, jivvying me up. Or – as the Germans say – an "Arschtritt".
So am I heading for a Happy End or am I destined for a Dead End? I'll keep you posted as I carry on coasting around the Lower Bavarian countryside...