You know, I've been writing this journal for more than ten years now. In the beginning, getting readers was very important to me. I checked stats a lot and I tried to be interesting and do things that would bring me a greater readership, but over the years, I have developed a nice steady following--never one of the popular bloggers whose readers number in the thousands, but when I do remember to check, it's a generous number of people who log on to either Funny the World, or its mirror, Airy Persiflage every day. It's kind of humbling, to tell you the truth.
There are more people than I have had interaction with and I often wonder about the hundreds who are sitting out there silently, who have never left a comment, but who apparently still continue to read.
It's kind of a nice relationship we have. And I understand because there are blogs that I have followed for a very long time without ever leaving a message either. Something strikes a chord and I continue reading because I want to know how it all works out, or what the writer is doing, or sometimes just be inspired by some really good writing.
Some time ago my friend Kathy told me she worked with a woman who read my journal. The three of us had lunch together and I was kind of intimidated. This was a "fan" and I'd never had a fan before.
It was a lovely lunch and I don't know if she still reads because it was the last interaction I had with her. But there was no need to interact further. We both had our curiosity satisfied, we got along well and it was a delightful lunch.
Nowadays I don't (usually) try to create great literature or compete with my hero, Erma Bombeck for witty repartee (she made it look so easy). Mostly I do it for me. It's a record of where I've been, what I've done, the things that inspire--or infuriate--me and the dogs who have been a part of my life.
I write about the family a bit, but not as much as I used to because they've reached a point where they don't really like having their lives so public. One of our inlaws had a real adjustment to make because of wanting to never be have internet identity.
There are things I'd like to say from time to time, that I don't because I am more aware now than I was 10 years ago of hurting people's feelings. I probably still do it, but I try not to.
But somehow, with all the self-censoring and everything else, I must manage to keep things interesting enough that people I don't know continue to read.
Last week I had a note from a woman who has been reading my stuff for awhile. It came in an e-mail on Facebook:
I'll be about 3 miles from you starting Wednesday afternoon to start celebrations of my husband's grandmother's 90th bday and Easter...and was wondering 'what would Bev Sykes think if I offered to take her out to lunch?'
So, what do you think? I'd love to meet you! Feels like I know you already through your site and would love to say hello.
How cool is that? We're trying to coordinate with two other friends of hers for where to meet for lunch on Monday. I'm looking forward to meeting her.
And then this morning I had a call from Jim. (Hi, Jim!) Jim has also been reading this journal for years, tells me that Lawsuit was one of his favorite bands (and that he managed to see a concert once and has one of their CDs), and that I have been one of his favorites for a long time. He said that he has often wanted to pick up the phone and call me, but it was a friend of his today who looked up the number.
We had a very nice conversation, he told me about some videos he'd posted on YouTube (many of which I then went and watched).
He was just so nice and so complimentary that I was floored that there is somebody out there whom I do not know, who has never contacted me before, but who feels so strongly about the stuff I write.
Encounters like this come few and far between, but I so appreciate each and every one and it makes me remember that I'm not just writing in a vacuum here. It inspires me to try to improve the content a bit, at least for awhile!
So to everybody who has ever left a message...or NOT left a message...thank you so much for continuing to read. Knowing you are out there is very humbling indeed!