There is an old joke about the number of readers of this blog. It is that there is always one less reader than the last time I checked.
There are 100 readers of this blog. Maybe even 200. But not right now.
That's my total of adding up all the dedicated readers who were ever once here as regulars and then slipped away into the other world. The other world is the vast anything that is not this blog and so definitionally beyond the purview of anything we could ever discuss.
By Internetland standards 200 is such a statistically small number as to be meaningless, like a lottery chance or the amount of an active ingredient in a homeopathic remedy, closer to zero than to something that will register or make a mark. But it's a number that nevertheless looks okay to me. It is just enough for me to remember everything here and everyone who has ever dropped by. We keep a catalog of everyone's footprint, their favorite drink, their cozy corner, their preferred subject, and when they mysteriously slip away we keep their spot, forever if need be, growing dusty and old in its undisturbed place.
I remember a passionate follower of the blog who once responded to some post, probably not so different than this one, many many years ago, to say he enjoyed my obscurity against all the other bloggers he followed who cashed in on their success and were ruined.
Hey, I'm not ruined!
To that reader: your red leather chair you loved still awaits you. Have you been by? It looks covered in a deep layer of dust. Regardless, there it will sit, used or not.
Another time I wrote something that caused a reader to cry out "I am here. I read clerkmanifesto almost all the time!" And this reader enumerated the many things they liked about this blog, pointing only to the "Letters to the Publisher" posts as the ones they dreaded and did not enjoy. I thought of this reader during my very recent last two letters to publisher posts, eyeing their empty tea table in a favored spot in the sun, a cat sleeping under the chair, the tea long grown cold.
Maybe they're there, maybe they aren't. On February 6, 2015, at precisely 12:54 pm, under this post, a reader wrote: "You do have "fans". This fan chooses to remain anonymous yet loyal." I take them at their word then. There they are, right now, at their old study table deep in the great library, dark beer in hand, owl perched on the overwrought chandelier above them, reading along with us now, never forgotten.