Readers' Submissions

Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes, Notes To An Administrator

  • Written by Dana
  • September 19th, 2005
  • 11 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes 'Thoughts'…Notes To An Administrator


First of all Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes 1-100 actually includes 101 submissions. It goes like this: 1-12 and then 14–100 with an extra two submissions; 49.5 and 49.75 for a total of 101 submissions under the Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes name. In addition there were 14 extra submissions under their own titles for a total of 115 submissions. If I had known in advance that it was going to play out like this I would have started differently and kept the submissions to about 800-1000 words. Would have boosted me up to about Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 150. Just a fun thing. But the current total of 115 is enough–it makes me tired just to type the number.

In the beginning I had no plan. I was just writing. It was not unusual when I first started for submissions to have three to eight little stories. No plan. Later on around Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 60 I was seventeen submissions ahead. Seventeen submissions already written and up on the storyboard. A writer's dream for editing but a nutty way to live. The weekly schedule and the writing compulsion just took over my life. Little did I know when I submitted a little email about the state of the NEP in the daytime in the 4/5/2003 Weekly (note: appears as 4/5/2003 in the Weekly index but pops up as 5/5/2003) that I would start down this long road.

TRIVIA:
1. My longest submission was approximately 10,400 words.

2. Favorite submission: Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 77: Acceptance and Happiness and Love. I considered this an example of my best writing.

3. Favorite Title: Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 49.5: Snake Skulls and Ice Cream Cones. I think it would make a great book title.

4. Most controversial: Too numerous to mention . . . sometimes my writing was controversial to others because they disagreed with me or they found my aggressive presentation unappealing; and sometimes I wrote in a provocative way in the hopes of raising people's awareness and hopefully their participation in the site or on the topic. In the case of the latter I was rarely successful. It was a source of continual surprise and disappointment that Stickmanbangkok.com readers were not more proactive in counterpointing my views or in defending their own. Sending me obscene or unstable emails always was popular but constructing 800 carefully crafted words seemed like too high a hill to climb. After a while I just stopped trying to influence people on the site. Many of my last submissions were fun fiction. I had been beaten by ennui.

5. Most fun: Really too numerous to mention. I wrote fiction, non-fiction, faction, essays, social commentary, a few rants, fantasy pieces, a one act play, and even a poem. They are all my babies and I love them all. I wouldn't change an idea or a point-of-view or a method of presentation or the text of any of them. In the beginning because of the site's content I wrote non-fiction. Later when the site opened up a little bit and fiction was accepted the sparks flew from my fingers and it became a lot more fun. 1000-2000 words per story in one go–fast, fun, and easy. So many bottled up stories to tell. One night I sat down at 8 p.m. and had five submissions written by 4 a.m. Almost no editing or rewrites required. Fun. Being in the writing 'zone' is extremely pleasurable.

6. From the start I set standards: Always to write from personal experience, never to lie, always to be Thai accurate, and never to write to please someone else. I can think of only one 'fact' that I might change in one of my stories. Considering the word count I think that is an acceptable record. I stand by what I wrote. It represents me.

Regrets & Surprises:

1. I wish I would have been able to write about the Royal Family and the contemporary Thai government and Buddhism and Drugs and Police matters and civil servants and the middle class and the banking system. There are 1000 stories that will never be told. Not by me. Not by anyone. I accepted the limitations on content but it was contrary to my personality and to my western American culture. For writing about Thailand to flourish I believe it has to graduate to the next level of content and these are the subjects that should be available for examination. But this will never happen because of censorship. Too bad. All the world will keep hearing about is crime plots and bargirls. No one will ever get a complete picture of Thailand through western writing. Like any emerging country Thailand has many interesting stories to be told. Letting non-Thai authors write about your country is a way to advertise to the world who you are and what you are as a nation and as a people and as a culture. Love and confidence of self and nation and culture should be strong enough to accept the warts with the smiles. But because of the juvenile, provincial, xenophobic minds that inhabit the Land of Smiles this will never happen. A shame. Thailand is like a woman you want to love but can't love. Too many secrets, too many lies, too little reciprocity–Thailand.

2. I wish I could have been more influential in encouraging through example to get people to write in certain ways or about certain subjects. My net effect is hard to measure but probably hovers near zero. A hard lesson. We are islands.

3. I wish the Stickmanbangkok.com readership had been a little more open-minded. Often I felt as if I was swimming in the wrong fish tank and sometimes regretted starting a big project on potentially the wrong forum. On balance it was a good experience that gave pleasure and benefited me but it was not all party hats and martinis. There were many disappointments and bumps in the road and some unearned abuse. Nobody gives you anything. Life is a knife fight. You have to earn the right to breath. You are always outnumbered.

Around Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 20 I briefly considered quitting because of the level of incoming email negativity including threats against my life, my family, my property, and my freedom; but I soldiered on. Eventually through stamina and production and exposure and hopefully good writing the level of hostility and stupidity went down and I was able to capture an appreciative audience. Even people who disagreed with me wrote to say that they appreciated me. I'll take it. The experience gave me a respectful attitude towards writers who write for the general public such as weekly columnists. It can be a tough gig. Hanging and burning at the stake are still very popular ways of dealing with people who may not be 100% like you and everyone is a real tough guy on the net. I was shocked and disappointed.

4. Most of the responses to my submissions were to the content. Hey folks–how about the writing? For people interested in the craft of writing I was never convinced that the site was the best place for me.

5. In the beginning I thought writing for the Stickmanbangkok site would be kind of like belonging to a men's club. Like-minded people sharing experiences and supporting and encouraging each other. Boy was I wrong. I thought it would more fun than it was. I didn't make many friends. It also caused me to step back and reappraise men. There are some horrible people in this world and some of them are men. I guess I was naive.

I would encourage others to do the same as me (writing when you are in the ‘zone' is wonderful) but I would council them to do it for themselves. Don't expect love or friendship or respect. Life's a tough gig and writing personally in a public forum is asking for it. Writing anonymously would have solved some of the people problems but then I would have lost the opportunity to make contact with another nice human being–I'm a dreamer.

6. Through the site and my writing I had the opportunity to meet some of my readers. This was fun when it was fun and disappointing when it was not fun. In the beginning I used to unreservedly say yes to every invite. Now I am more circumspect and careful. I learned that there is not a guaranteed direct transference from email personality and fun to face-to-face personality and fun. You can be disappointed.

Some men wanted to use me as a sounding board for their personal problems. I wasn't interested in their personal problems. I was on vacation. Other men expected me to dance like a bear in a Russian circus. They were disappointed.

I only missed one appointment. That guy knows who he is. I am sorry. It still bothers me. I probably missed the opportunity to make a friend. He never wrote a friendly email to me again and I was too embarassed to email an apology to him. He deserved better. Sorry.

I did make some friends however, and my regret is that I do not live in the Kingdom permanently so that they can be a more important part of my life.

7. Three of the most interesting email contacts I made because of my writing were women. Very very smart and fun; and they read for more than just content. They had more to offer so I had more fun. One wrote for the site but stopped after receiving gender abuse, and another got involved in a misunderstanding with me and is now gone from my life. My loss.

8. A word should probably be said about the enduring and constant problem with the computer. I have what is called spikey intelligence. I am very smart at some things and completely inept at other things. I have zero commonality with or comfort level with or knowledge of or intuitive grasp of or interest in or basic learning curve response to the world of computers. My ignorance and ineptness stuns people. I have been using this computer now every morning and every evening for 5 years but I still do not know how to make things move or make sounds. I have never played a game. The world of graphics will never cross my path. And I have not been able to sign up for or register for any other Thai sites. Another gentleman has kindly tried to help me sign up for other Thai sites but inevitably I would not be able to follow through. I am probably the only reader of the Stickmanbangkok.com site who has not sampled NanaPlaza.com. Just too complicated. Can't do it. And I am sure you remember some instances in the past when I just could not send stories in to you easily or competently.

Producing the volume of material that I did and producing it on schedule using a tool that I do not understand or like was a nightmare of unimaginable proportions to the computer enthusiast. It was an ongoing horror that I would not have kept up with except that I had no choice and I had stories to tell. To have 3000 words in your mind ready to flash out through the ends of your fingers but you can't write a single sentence without the screen flashing unintelligible messages or shutting down was horrific and demeaning and dispiriting. It got so bad around Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 15 that I almost quit. Luckily a nice man from California stepped in and helped me. Without his help the project probably would have died an early death. I owe him a lot.

Now that I have completed the Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes 1-100 project the mind wanders. What next? I hate to dig up familiar ground and find the same old tubers. Something new calls. I am considering a new project. I am considering Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 101-200 from the point-of-view of a bargirl. Of course multiple surgeries will be necessary since I am such a manly man. Any thoughts on this?

So that's it. After posting this summing up email to you I will be retired. I will take the monitor and the mouse and the keyboard and the cube and the printer and the manual out to a field and pump shotgun blast after shotgun blast of slugs and shot into the hardware. Like a crazed tranny in a tu-tu dancing on top of a building that is on fire I will cavort and spin and jump and skip and slide and hop as I fire and fire and fire hot lead into the computer. This will be accompanied by hyena laughing until my throat fails and goes to a death rattle rasp. The final thing I will remember as I fall to the ground will be the hot metal in my hands and the loss of my bowels. Who says middle aged men can't have fun?

Dana

Stickman's thoughts:

I had hoped you would write something like this and I personally found it very interesting indeed..