Friday, February 6, 2015
Every once in awhile someone will ask me how long I think I will keep up my unbroken streak of daily blogging. I always say that if my streak did break, and my blog, as I suspect it might, fell apart, it would all be likely to come apart fast, and without warning. It could be two weeks from now or it could be in 27 years. I don't know.
But there is something that keeps me going. There is something that makes me think it will take a mighty hard blow, or a great landslide of disillusionment to sweep all my words away.
Oh, man, the fan!
I cannot begin to tell you how sketchy it is to figure out what is going on with my blog out in the public. I am deluged and fascinated by an array of Google statistics I can pour over from a variety of sources. They tell me suggestive, mysterious things, almost none of them conclusive, nearly all of them misleading or complicating. I am confident of little. Are the readers from Netanya, The Dalles, Quito, Baldwinsville real? Some are, some aren't. I get anecdotal, sometimes even specific accounts, from people that I know personally, and those can instruct me some about their readership habits, and an occasional blog comment is always an emphatic, meaningful measure of engagement, but these are both rare, and unless it all happened today, or quite recently, I figure, what do I know? Things change and they change fast.
Except with the fan.
I know everything about the fan.
He has read every post ever on this blog at least ten times. If there is nothing new he rereads. He delves back into the blog history.
He snorts at every joke, relishing them, rereading them, and snorting again. He chortles in his joy. He is funny to watch reading this, twisting in his chair, making faces, grinning, and then... riveted.
He exclaims things like "That was fantastic!" and "My god!" and "I can't believe this stuff isn't world famous!" and, quietly, like in some holy place "This, this is the best one ever!" He gets chills. He giggles. He sighs. He smiles warmly. He reflects into a deep sadness and a quiet, still wisdom.
He loves this blog. He pours over the deeper meanings of it, is astounded at how richly even the most frivolous seeming post seems to speak profoundly to his life, and he reads closely enough to divine a relentless vision in the blog, an almost religious awareness, a sense that everything is being seen at once and seen perfectly.
He has a life, and there is much in it; work, play, friendship, love, but the blog is a touchstone, a marker, a star, guiding him, rewarding him, centering him. He references it. He brings it up in conversation whenever it seems relevant, and he is always surprised at how amazingly often it seems exactly that: relevant, predictive, insightful, clarifying. He is disappointed when other people do not know this blog, or do not read it all the time, or do not feel precisely like he does about it, because it seems to make the range of other people's discussion smaller, the breadth of their very being into something more constrained and less enlightened.
He is a very big fan.
He is an enormous fan!
Sometimes he is seized with a missionary zeal, and tries to spread the blog he loves so much out into the world, but nothing much happens. He is no salesman and doesn't know so many people. He doesn't understand why it doesn't spread, but he knows people are different, with different tastes and different visions and that they're mostly broken, and he knows that he's broken too. And he knows that proselytizing is not really his job.
He thinks maybe his only job is to love this blog.
He is good at that job. He is great at that job.
And it means a lot to me.
I think it's true that in the end one can't just do art for other people. In some deep place it has to be fundamentally for oneself. I know this. This is the right thing. This is true.
And sometimes I think that this fan is exactly who I write this blog for. And that is the right thing. Who could deserve it more?
It is probably for the best, then, that it turns out that the two, are one.