Fruit or Flowers

Evidently that’s the traditional gift for your fourth anniversary. Oh, but the modern gift is “appliances,” which I find delightfully capitalist. And I do need a new vacuum.

That’s right, kids, this ain’t livin’ turns four today. Oddly enough, the trial for the criminal event which served as an inspiration for the very first post on the website recently started, which says something about the slow grinding of the wheels of the justice system, if you ask me. (Evidently, the alleged hitman has declined to testify.)

I was talking to someone about this website the other day, and how it seems to have grown into a thing which is larger than itself, a sort of unstoppable juggernaut. There are a fair number of long-running personal websites which are updated daily by a single person, rather than a team, but I don’t know how many have lasted four years, or remained in the delightful state of obscurity I manage to maintain. I’m not really sure that anyone keeps statistics on these things, but it would be interesting to find out, because while about 1.4 new blogs are made every second, evidently, not many of them last long.

As in so many things, I exist on the fringe when it comes to blogging. The fact that this site defies categorization makes it a challenging thing for people to link to in their sidebars; they can’t file me under “feminism” in case a post about, say, NCIS suddenly pops up, I’m not a television or media critic so I can’t be stuffed under that category, I talk about a lot of things other than fat and size which exclude me from the circle of fat blogs, and my fumblings into race and disability issues are so nascent and pathetic that they aren’t worthy of linkage just yet. This site has also diverged radically in recent years from being a primarily personal site to…something else. I’ve been feeling kind of bitter that I put so much work into this site, that I talk about so many topics, and that I don’t get very much link love, but I think it’s actually the sheer scope of content which makes it hard for people to link to me. Not that I’m going to be narrowing my subject matter anytime soon, just that sometimes I feel like the little kid who just finished reading Watership Down and is standing at the edge of a room watching a bunch of adults talk about Watership Down without once referencing that I read it too and had some thoughts about it.

Sometimes, I’m glad to be on the fringe, with relatively few links and readers when compared to the big blogs, because it insulates me from the constant catfighting and popularity contests of the blogging world. I’m far too insignificant to bother with, and by all accounts in my traffic statistics, I have a fair number of loyal, hardcore readers who appear to come back again and again, even if they rarely comment. Mysteriously, I note that a lot of people subscribe to the comments feeds on individual posts, but don’t actually put in an effort to make the comments section less lethargic, and that people bother to respond to the strangest things, like the posts I toss off in a hurry to get something up, instead of the carefully crafted and repeatedly edited explorations of complex topics. When the comments explode, as they did earlier this week after my links from The Sexist and Whedonesque, it’s a rather giddy and sometime terrifying experience, and I totally love it. I think, though, that I’ve adopted the Joss Whedon approach to blogging: I would rather make a website which 100 people need to read, than a website that 1,000 people want to read.

Fundamentally, I realize, I have created this site more for myself than other people, taking advantage of the self-indulgent nature of instant publishing even as I rail against the immense signal to noise ratio which makes it difficult to sift through the chaff to finding meaningful and interesting things. But, at the same time, I hope that people are shaped and influenced by this website, that I have opened eyes and perhaps even changed minds. I know that my readers have occasionally opened my own eyes. I hope that every reader has benefited from something, somewhere, on this website, even if they don’t necessarily agree with me very often. I hope that people occasionally fall into the archives and surface hours later, as I occasionally do. I hope that people think about the issues I raise here, even if they don’t want to talk about them in the comments, I hope that everyone has found a post which resonates with them.

Now, if only I could get the people who steal my content to stop or give me due credit, I’d be all set.

3 Replies to “Fruit or Flowers”

  1. Well, it’s something that it’s pretty much impossible to stop people from doing. One just has to get used to it and occasionally send stock angry letters to their hosts, but a lot of hosts don’t really care.

  2. Congrats! And here’s to the next four years!

    I often wish you *were* a television critic. What you write is always more insightful and thought-provoking than the mainstream critics.

Comments are closed.