The area most of us are most familiar with is our home town, and the surrounding area, such as the county it is in. And, unless you live in a major city like London or New York, chances are nothing has been written about your home yet.
And even if it has, chances are there is a lot it has missed out, so that even if there is an article about it, you can still write about its history, its restaurants and pubs, or any of an almost infinite variety of angles you can look at your home town from. You could, afterall, concentrate on just a small part of your home town - one building or fountain, or write a general peice on the whole county. The possibilities are endless.
We are now going to look at two different parts of the world which have been written about a lot, the Isle of Wight and Pennsylvania, to see some of the different ways we can approach writting about our local area.
The way that Jimi X first approached writing about his local area is a way that many of us begin - by writing a blurb in the collaborative International Driving Etiquette entry, talking about driving in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This was the first-ever thing he posted to h2g2!
So, what does Jimi X think of the articles he's written? Can the ordinary researcher really follow in his footsteps, or is he only able to write like this because he is super-intelligent and really does know everything about Pennsylvania? When asked, this is his reply:
As far as my knowledge of the Keystone State, I'd say it's probably better than most. I'm really very familiar with the southcentral and southwestern parts of the state, but there are huge parts of it that I could learn more about.
I'm never totally happy with anything I write and I tend to want to keep re-writing things until I get it 'just so'. Probably my least favourite is the one about Hawk Mountain because it's so superficial and I could do so much more with that topic today.
A look through the list of the articles on Pennsylvania show a vast range of different sides to the same state, and indeed Jimi X's writing. It includes everything, from the Historic, to Places to visit. From the Supernatural to the bizzare, and to the everyday as well.
- Da'Pits Restaurant, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
- Middletown-Hummelstown Railroad, Pennsylvania, USA
- Groundhog Day
- Mad Anthony's Ghost
- Hawk Mountain
- Deer Season
- Easton, Pennsylvania, USA
- Ground Glass Mill, Pennsylvania, USA
- Fabrizi's Restaurant, Jumonville, Pennsylvania, USA
- Jumonville, Pennsylvania, USA
- The Great Cross of Christ, Jumonville, Pennsylvania, USA
- Dirty Simon Girty - Outlaw
- Iron City Beer
- Early American Farm Implements Museum, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, USA
- Lost Treasures of Pennsylvania, USA
- 'Robber' Lewis
- The Covered Bridges of Perry County, Pennsylvania, USA
- Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
- The Cocoa Bean Bowl Game
- Jubilee Day, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, USA
- The Great Erie Gauge War, Pennsylvania, USA
- Ghosts in Pennsylvania, USA
- Ferncliff Peninsula, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, USA
- Groff's Meats, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, USA
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
- Pennsylvania's Great Walking Purchase
- Parks in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
- Run for the Ribbon, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, USA
- Trotter's Curse
- Scotland, Pennsylvania, USA
- State Museum, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
- State Capitol, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
- Miss Penn
- Milton S Hershey
- The Legacy of Milton S Hershey
- The Hershey Trusts
- Education in Hershey
- Milton Hershey School
- MS Hershey Foundation
- The Milton S Hershey Medical Centre
- Philadelphia Cheesesteak
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
- Pennsylvania's Buckshot War
- Pymatuning Reservoir, Pennsylvania, USA
- Pennsylvania, USA
- Pennsylvania's Hot Water War
- Perry County, Pennsylvania, USA
- Pennsylvania's Bucktail Regiment
- Pennsylvania's Notorious Ann Carson
- Simon Candy Company, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, USA
- Pennsylvania's Union Canal
- Speeding in Pennsylvania
- The Pennsylvania Dutch
- Pennsylvania State Farm Show, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
So the big unanswered question is Why does he do it? What makes a perfectly sane H2G2 Researcher2 write so much about his home? This is why:
I really do love the idea that Douglas had for the site - creating an 'unconventional' Guide to Life, the Universe and Everything. Being the only Researcher in my immediate surroundings, I reckon I've got unique knowledge that I can share with the rest of the world.
Really, I'm glad some people read them and enjoy them. Nice to know my writing's still better than a stick in the eye.
His first article on the Isle of Wight was about Yaverland, a little village next door to his home town of Sandown. Written in the comparatively early days of H2G2, when most articles resembled short one-liners rather than informed you of any information, it appeared long and descriptive. Compared to more recent H2G2 standards it is short and only covers as much as to whet your appetite.
Bluebottle has since felt dissatisfied with this, and other articles written in the same period, and plans to update them. One article, on the nearby village of Bembridge, has already been updated and modernised.
Essentially, Bluebottle's approach has been to try toite more about the history of an area than just concentrate on what exists at the present. Although this approach does not tell you where the best restaurants and pubs are, it does perhaps give you a better idea of what the place is and why it exists.
Bluebottle's articles show that there is a wide range of ways you can cover each topic. Some of the articles are quite short, yet others that he was particularly interested in have been expanded to cover quite a few articles.
In conclusion, we have seen that there is a large number of different ways that H2G2 articles about your local area can be written. Although both Jimi X and Bluebottle have written quite a few articles on their homes, they have both written articles on different aspects of their homes, and in different styles. It shows that there is no "right" way of writing about your home, and suggests that to make Douglas Adams' dream of a Hitchhiker's Guide To The Earth a reality, we should all try our best to write about our homes.