A year’s worth of pondering it all

Or, in other words, happy anniversary to this place. The proof is here if you need it.

On balance it’s been a good year, a surprising one at many turns. When I started the blog, as I explained in this post a few days after the initial one, I did so with these stated reasons in mind:

A desire to eventually create a low-key central clearing point for all my scattered work and interests separate from social networking sites, a handy ‘contact me here’ spot in general, a place to more generally muse and test out ideas beyond the very irregular blog thoughts on Myspace, and probably more reasons down the line that I haven’t fully brought on board yet.

This all pretty much stands as the general reasoning still behind the blog, a step which took quite some while to take. Inasmuch as I have any sense of myself as a writer, I was always at least faintly (and often greatly) surprised at the idea that people might want to read such a thing, but I’d received enough suggestions I should consider it that I eventually came around to the idea. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be the new number one site on the Net or any similar nonsense, but at the same time I felt a bit concerned that I’d essentially be talking to myself.

Now, I don’t really do diaries or personal journals — the few attempts I’ve tried over time have always tired me out after a few days, and while there are plenty of diaries others have written when I’m quite glad exist (I’ve recently redipped into Joe Orton’s diaries, done at the prompting of his agent, which contain some of his sharpest work, self-conscious but vibrant), they always struck me as something that would take up more time to write about than to live about, though I can sense the importance of them for others. A friend recently shared some selections from her earlier journals with a group of us via Facebook, and it prompted much comment and discussion, but they also reminded me why I’m glad I don’t have similar things to look back upon except via memory and discussion with others.

So I didn’t want to talk to myself — else why have something public! — but I wasn’t too sure what reaction I would get. I did know very clearly that I wanted to avoid simply having a ‘music blog’ in the broadest sense of the term, and the name of the blog was consciously chosen with that in mind. In that I ended up with my own overall hobbyhorses shouldn’t be surprising, and as I’ve said before I am well aware that what miniscule profile I have in the world at large lies with my earnest scribblings on the music I enjoy the most (or, in some cases, the least). Certainly I’ve used the blog for occasional thoughts on music that I haven’t intended to publish or work on elsewhere, being mostly immediate reflections or the occasional concert report or the like, when not linking to pieces published elsewhere.

But otherwise I wanted to use it as a place for general thoughts about many different things that I hoped would be of enough interest for readers…whoever they might be. My sense of an ‘audience’ is one of the most unfocused things I possess as a writer — it’s a bit curious to be in a position where one has regular employment and outlets for writing work that has a potentially huge reach while at the same time only receiving irregular feedback from both editors and readers. More on the one hand would definitely help improve my writing in general, more on the other, well, that’s admittedly a handy ego boost! This all said, I have been grateful for what I have received over time and figured, “Well, I must have something to offer…”

I don’t want to turn this into a huge step-by-step overview of where the blog went from there, really — it’s not needed and imposes some overall narrative that is inapplicable, and inaccurate. It was always as much impulse as it was planned, and more often the former than the latter. I’ve received a nice amount of hits on a regular basis over time with a clear sense of a growing audience on that level alone, and that combined with subscribers to my blog feed made it clear someone was indeed reading. (Another sign was the frankly absurd number of blog referral hits that were coming through from people specifically searching my name. Maybe that ‘fan club’ of mine has taken on a life of its own.) Just the fact that I got linked in the blogroll at such a high profile site as Balloon Juice was a thrill enough.

I suppose if there’s a regret it’s that I would love much more regular discussion in comments, but then again I don’t always know what will catch people’s attention, or if what I write about is interesting enough in the first place, obviously. I don’t suffer any angst over my blog entries tending towards the longer side than the shorter — one of the more self-defeating things I ever read on the Net was someone saying that one needs to write only in short bursts because that’s all that people will be able to stand, and I find that ridiculous nonsense that says more about that person than the world in general. But maybe the length does almost overwhelm the impulse for discussion at times — nothing I write should be seen as a set-in-stone piece, merely trying to capture thoughts buzzing around my head — and then again I should really be commenting more on other blogs in turn!

In that I hope some of the posts have been a resource or general source of interest to folks, then I’m glad, and I’ve received enough comments over time — especially on the food/recipe ones, perhaps unsurprisingly! — to know that’s the case. And perhaps one of the most enjoyable side benefits of all is knowing that a number of my relatives read the blog just to see what’s up with me. Because hey, why not?

I’m my own worst judge of my writing but if I had to name a handful of pieces I found enjoyable to write and which I think act as reasonable enough samples of my work, it would be these:

But I’ll end by noting that my most popular piece in terms of comments and blog hits should, by its very nature, have never been written, because there was no need to write it in the first place, because the event that prompted it should never have happened.

Would that it were so.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to all my readers. Hope you keep finding things of interest here.