little blue circle

I avoid Elliequent readership stats like the plague. I installed StatCounter a long time ago, but the last time I logged in was pre-Terence, when I was trying to figure out whether a guy I was seeing was reading my blog. (It was wonderfully pathetic: I'd pore over any info coming from the area of town where he worked, as if it would decrypt the mixed messages he was sending in real life. Ah yes. He visited your About page for seven seconds before clicking out through Instagram. Never mind those ignored texts, girl. Romeo here is clearly ready to take a knee. The moral of this sad little aside being that dating emotionally unavailable, uncommunicative dudes is bewildering, dignity draining, may reduce you to reverse internet stalking and JUST DON'T DO IT*.)

Blogger's interface loads a generalized view of my statistics when I open a blank post, but I try not to look at it. Dropping numbers would depress me. Rocketing numbers would alarm me. Even steadily rising numbers would make me nervous. At some point, having too many people follow my life would make me uncomfortable. The Elliequent army is small and smart and I like it that way.

All this being said, every so often curiosity does get the better of me and I peek to see how many FeedBurner subscribers I have. And while poking around last year I discovered that I can actually bring up a list of the email addresses of those who've signed up for inbox delivery, over there on the right. This flabbergasted me. It seems like such a violation of privacy. Maybe it's crazy to say that since it's my blog, but I don't think it's any of my business what you do or don't read - and that includes my blog.

But yeah, I did read the list when I stumbled across it; I couldn't help myself. Some of the addresses were familiar, a few were surprises, but most were unknown to me. Overall it was like getting passed a stack of notes saying things like You're occasionally entertaining! or I find you tolerable! or I guess if I had to choose between watching your train wreck and scouring my shower grout, I'd pick your train! But then I closed the page and tried to forget it, because I write much better with a semi-solid fourth wall.

I've wanted to post about all this, but there's a Venn diagram in my head of Whats and Whys, and I'm unsure if they should be separate topics or mashed into some meta manifesto the navel-gazingness of which might explode the blogosphere outright. Witness:



And yeah I know that's not graphically accurate but pie charts almost NEVER taste like pie, so whatever.

I don't know why it's taking me so long to get to what I want to say, but that little blue circle is where I'm headed. Simply put: despite my money-back guarantee that at some point I will annoy or disappoint you (lol as if I haven't already), I do work hard at this gig, because I believe the surest way to show my gratitude is to put out the best possible product I can.

So for one thing, I edit obsessively. The two most useful things I learned in college were how to jimmy a dorm room lock with my dad's Chevron card and that writing is revision. If you could see how many times in a row I will jump out of bed in the middle of the night, run to my computer to change something in a post, dive back under the covers, hit refresh on my phone, find another edit to make, get back up again...it's a good thing Terence could sleep through an earthquake.

I take great care with my word choices, and I really do keep in mind all the rules of powerful writing. Descriptive verbs! Active voice! Varied sentence length! I try to come up with interesting ways to approach the subjects I discuss often, and I at least aim for entertaining on those days when inspiring is out of reach. I take risks and talk openly about things I know may invite criticism. Bottom line: I love writing enough to honor it with my best efforts, and I respect my readers enough to acknowledge that they can and should ditch me if I stop doing so.

I'm not asking for a head pat or a cookie, and the cookie comment jar is closed, anyway. (No cookies means I stay hungry for your love, which arrives occasionally through email or Twitter or even, exotically, by snail. And when it does arrive, I feast like a snake who doesn't know when the next mouse will come along.) And I realize this is one of my more pointless posts. My writing should speak for itself - and I like to think it does. But it was important to me to tell you anyway. It's important to me that you feel valued. So that's what I wanted to say today: thanks for thinking enough of me to be here.

I'm thinking of you, too.

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* I've meant to post about Baggage Reclaim for ages, and I will at some point, but I'm just dropping the link for now in case anyone reading happens to be in dire relationship straits and need a life jacket, stat. Along with helping me make other huge changes related to my self-esteem and emotional life, I credit Natalie with teaching me to bring my dating standards up, and to hold out for the something better incredible that turned out to be Terence.