In Flemish, the word “verjaardag” means “anniversary” or “birthday”. Flemish is one of those languages that ties together words, “Ver”in this case is like the prefix “re-” or “returning”, “jaar” is “year” and “dag” is “day”. The pronunciation is much like a background in English would suggest, except the “j” is pronounced as “y”. There are so many similarities to English I once believed learning Flemish would be easy, but three years into the project I’m still fumbling about. I’m not going to attempt to explain the word for “Happy” other than to explain “g” is pronounced like “h” and then “j” in “Gelukkige”. I take you down this road because today is my blog’s anniversary, or “vandaag is mijn blog verjaardag.”
One year ago I started this blog, with the initial goal of writing one thousand words a day. That changed to “around one thousand words, six days a week” rather quickly. Some days it is barely five hundred words, but I’ve been told that writers write, so being a writer this is what I do, moving along with whatever topic has my mind going that day. The exercise has been good for my writing skills and also has been a relief to my wife, who encouraged me to do this because I was “wasting my talent” commenting in public fora.
In global terms of popularity, readership has been small. I didn’t set unrealistic goals, so I managed to exceed them. As of this morning, there have been 10,171 unique visitors to the page, and those visitors have been based in 93 countries. Central Africa, China, and some of the former Soviet states are the only areas which haven’t produced readers, although there are many explanations for that. There are over one hundred and fifty people who receive the blog by email each day, and others find the blog through search engines or links in other articles. Sometimes I’m surprised by the popularity of an article, the third chapter of my series on world religions picks up a view almost everyday, the last few days have been from Singapore. The article on wave-particle duality gets a couple of hits a week, and thanks to a link in an astronomy journal the article on interstellar distances gets a fair amount of attention. There are two food articles and two obituaries (one a person, the other a career) in the top ten, then one just hits a chord, like an article on hypocritical intolerance, which became the most read article of the year even though it was only published two weeks ago.
The number of comments have been disappointing, averaging two a day, but I have no basis for my expectation on that. There are comments on the websites on which I publicize the blog, and some people email me directly, but the conversations I had hoped for on the blog itself have not materialized. Yet.
I have tried some unorthodox approaches, tying music into articles in unusual ways. I attempt to remain light-hearted and even humorous when writing about difficult issues. My politics encompass the entire spectrum, so someone who absolutely loves me for my stand on one issue may end up hating me for my position on another. This is my way of expressing the concept of duality, we are all grey, very few people are completely black or white, and those folks tend to be exceptionally boring.
There are drawbacks to having a variety of topics, and a couple of people have suggested I focus on one area, or compile a group of entries into a book. I think it is likely I’ll reformat the blog, separating topics into categories and providing a separate page for each category, all joined on a home page. Compilations will require more thought, my last adventure in publishing was not a textbook experience, and would not apply to any other project. Perhaps someone will volunteer to edit a book, or perhaps I’ll just write a book instead of compiling and editing blog articles. Spring is here, the magnolias in my office should be blooming soon, and I will be able to spend more time without distractions.
Most importantly, thank you all for reading, commenting on, and sharing my articles.