Thanks ( 2 years of blogging)
Like most folk, I’ve had my share of things that I’ve done and a certain number of disappointments. As a writer, I’ve had a lot more of the latter than the former. For many years, I’ve probably gotten along on the too common fantasy that someday someone in a position to help would “find my writing”. I’d then be rescued from the embarrassment of telling people that I write then having to explain that I’ve never been published by any publication that any normal person would recognize. Even worse, it turns out that everyone writes or thinks they can write and basically I’ve never had anything that separates what I do from what they do.
Over time, I’ve told fewer people in my regular life that I write creatively. Also, most of the people in my life who know that I do write ask less and less about it these days nor do they show any interest whatsoever if the topic does happen to come up. It’s been one of those things in my life that most people around me treat as a “tacit” failure. I’m pretty sure they think they’re being polite by not asking me about it. In the meantime, we talk about their kids, jobs, vacations, home woes, etc. and sad to say I have no idea what they may be dreaming about or yearning for either. Perhaps that’s the nature of middle-aged friendship or now that I’m well into middle-age I’m just a crummy friend.
Anyway, I had planned to post about the fact that this blog is now two years old, but I didn’t get the chance because I had too many other things to write about. For someone who battled “writer’s block” for many years, that’s an accomplishment. I also set a goal early this year of getting to a hundred thousand visitors by the end of 2007. I crossed that in Mid-May and am currently closing in on a hundred and twenty thousand.
Of course, this has come at a price. My family thinks I’m nuts and my wife has probably rightly not been happy with the way I obsessively check my hit counts. She’s repeatedly counseled me that it’s more important to write something that I’m proud of and have absolutely no readers than it is to spending so much of my time counting and analyzing my hits. There’s a logic to what she says. Most everything my wife does tell me makes sense. It’s just that I’ve internalized this belief that if no one reads what I write, it’s not real. Anyway, crossing a hundred thousand visitors is a big deal to me.
I know that doesn’t make my blog commercial. In fact, my dreams of any editors, publishers, agents, better known writers finding me here have never materialized. Well, one writer did find me here, but none of her e-mail addresses worked or she never responded to the e-mails that I sent to the three different addresses I found for her. Otherwise, I might as well just be sitting here on my URL and talking to a volleyball.
There are a lot of blogs that get a hundred thousand hits in a day. I also suspect that several thousand of my hits are me looking at or revising my site. Still, beyond the fact that I’m sort of obsessive-compulsive about numbers of any kind, I feel good to have gotten to my goal. Now I can say, “Yes, I write and my blog has had a hundred thousand visitors.”
Most people don’t know that this is very different from having a hundred thousand actual readers. It sounds like a big number though. I also don’t tell them that if I posted winning Lotto numbers or were offering pictures of Julianne Hough, I’d get that many hits in a couple days.
I learned very early in this process that blogging is a kind of virtual community in which people who may never meet in person or even directly e-mail one another find ways to support one another. Often that takes the form of an occasional comment on one another’s blogs, something that assures me and I assume them that someone else actually reads the posts. Other times, it goes well beyond that. The life of a blog can be spectacularly short. I’ve added then removed a lot more people on my blog roll in two years than I ever expected. Still, it seems like every couple weeks I have a new person to thank for supporting this blog and by extension my writing. The great thing is that these are friends who read what one writes almost by definition.
I want to acknowledge and thank the following people,
We don’t have a lot of contact, but Bella Rossa, a rising Chicago comedy writer, helped bring me one of the things I craved, regular commenters. Many months ago, Bella asked me to be one of her subjects for her Interviews with Bloggers project. While hardly anyone has ever read that interview, Dale and Atul (two of Bella’s other interviewees) began commenting on my blog.
Even though he’s Canadian, Dale’s one of the funnier people in blogland. Okay, that may be like being the tallest person in a six foot and under basketball league, but it’s still something. He mixes off-center observations from his daily life, odd often touching stories from his past , with occasional entertainment reviews. In addition, a couple of Dale’s regulars have wandered over here. These include Tanya Espanya, an endearingly goofy very-pregnant Canadian woman , Beckeye a very funny music writer from Brooklyn, and Pink Fluffy Slippers a woman who alternates between talking about her attempts to master the cello and discussions of her dietary habits.
A lot of my writing is about being Chinese-American and Atul’s perspective is especially interesting to me because he’s Indian-American, into cars, aphorisms, and, for lack of a better phrase, the ironies of daily life.
Benny is apparently actually a cat, but I met his alter-ego when I was blogging about the emergence of Cindy Sheehan. Ironically Cindy Sheehan has “retired” from public activism. Benny and Iddybud have slowly been converting me to supporting John Edwards candidacy for the presidency. Among other things, Edwards may be the most consistently pro-peace in all its senses of the major candidates.
Charles Lambert is a very fine fiction writer who lives in Italy but who happens to be British. While his fiction career looks like it’s beginning to get the attention it deserves (he won an O’henry this year and his first novel will be in print soon), his blog is very funny and far too often reminds me that America is not the only crazy place in the world. and that the Vatican has plenty of closet space.
Teriyaki Donuts/All the Wrong Faces keeps one blog about odd examples of cross-cultural bedfellows in California, e.g. the many Asian-owned doughnut shops that often also sell items like kung pao chicken or teriyaki beef sticks. All the Wrong Faces is a frank reprise of the big frustrations and little joys of being a single man navigating a major course correction in the middle of his life. I just wish he had the time to post a little more often.
Parklife found my blog through a post I made about the return of Don Nelson to the Golden State Warriors. Interestingly, we've hardly ever exchanged comments about sports since. He covers political-cultural matters with a very sharp eye. That same eye has especially interesting taste in photography. As someone who knows very little about photographers or art-photography, I find that Parklife constantly expands my cultural-political horizons.
Sunny was perhpas America's biggest supporter of Sanjaya Malakar, she had the patience to follow both my seasons of blogging about American Idol.
Lastly, I want to mention Mr. Pogblog whose blog is also two years old. Pogblog is both a real life friend and has been probably the most stalwart supporter of my writing I’ve known over the last twenty five years. Pogblog, the site, is a gem of the internet and likely the only Druidic site I’ll ever recommend here. The writing there is intricate, hilarious, exasperating, and fully original. It jumps from being a series of metaphysical puzzles about the seeming paradox of full consciousness or awareness to a somewhat disturbing obsession both with cats and Clive Owen. It’s often not easy reading, but I find that it’s always worth the effort.
One of the pleasures of keeping a blog has been having surprise guests drop in like the Grameen Foundation, the composer David Hykes, Polly Whitney the novelist, Ron Franscell, true crime writer (Fall), editor, and NPR contributor, and rather surprisingly I was even linked to the American Idol wing of Freepublic. I also want to mention that the single biggest source of readers has come from my reality tv reviews and I owe much of that to the very kind folk at Sirlinksalot, the leading link aggregator of reality tv articles on the web. I also want to thank my many volleyball readers.
In any case, support and encouragement are rare gifts in this life. Any time someone takes the time to read posts here or comment,it’s added to my reserve of both. My next goal is to get published conventionally. All those visits have helped me to think that next goal might be possible after all.