My husband connected my blog to a stats program so I can catch a glimpse of who reads the blog (or rather, where the blog is being read). I don't indulge in checking the updated numbers very regularly--maybe twice a month. In part, I don't want to become the kind of self-conscious writer that needs the numbers to provide positive reinforcement. But, lately I have become surprisingly tickled at the growing readership of this little blog. There have been posts that have been read 200 times and others that have been read 40. Some pages have had just a few visits. Frankly, I am honored that anyone reads at all, much less returns to read regularly.
Readers come from as close as my American city of residence to as far away as Iran. While many readers are those who already know me on a personal level, I have begun to attract readers of whom I have no real knowledge. And, as naive as this may sound, I just don't know why. What kind of appeal does my blog have to someone in Iran? Who is/was this reader?
Periodically, as someone urges me to update a topic (Chester's fans miss him awfully) or writes to comment about specific posts, I wonder if I should eventually join the bloggers that monetize (attach advertising) to the blog. After all, how pleasant would it be to earn a meager income doing something I enjoy? But intimacy is lost on those grander designed and ad-flanked blogs. Still, I don't know if I am missing some kind of opportunity or journey by not marketing this blog more than I do. And I hesitate not just in part of losing the perceived level of warmth that some readers claim to feel here, but something my mother would likely say: Monetizing and marketing this blog might just be, well, tacky.
Here, I must digress a bit. Readers in the United States are well familiar with the term tacky, but for those that live out of this amazing country, tacky means gauche or tasteless. For those of us who are born and bred in the South, tacky exceeds this definition; it is a sin. It's social death. Potentially, we could lose all sense of self. Tacky isn't just wearing white after Labor Day (some still adhere to this, yes). Our use of tacky indicates you may as well wear a floor-length white tulle gown to your daughter's wedding. (And only a southerner could use this as an example, I'm sure.)
Of course, over at http://thepioneerwoman.com/ one can see that writer Ree Drummond has become enormously successful. And she started much the way I did: she had something to say and wrote about personal experience in an intimate and direct way. I envy Drummond for her recent appearance in The New Yorker, and while she receives a certain degree of criticism for having gone from humble to high roller in income and tangible marks of success, I congratulate her for finding something she did well and making a place in the world doing so. Good for this mother of four who has found a way to pad her wallet in the process--pad being a relative term as she has earned about a million dollars in the last year!
I am, however, the kind of person who does not expect that kind of success to find me or for me to carve it. Unfortunately, I am the kind of person who labels that kind of success as "something for other people, something I was not meant for or could not become." Perhaps I am wrong. It might be nice to be wrong, in fact. But I did not start this blog with aspirations of million dollar readership and I won't deign to delude myself with such aspirations, either. If you remember from my first post, http://cafecatiche.blogspot.com/2010/02/welcome-to-catiches.html, I had this to say about my desire to write publicly: I was "a mother with small children, a writer and artist re-establishing herself after multiple life changes." I had even chosen a namesake from an unseen character in my favorite novel. So this is how I have seen myself, as somewhat invisible and in transition.
But perhaps I digress again. Readership is to be celebrated. You read this likely because you either identify with my words or find them to be a curious window into someone else's world. You are either enlightened, entertained, or informed. (And if you are repulsed, go away and oblige me by not returning.) And I write because I have something to say. This week, I was amazed to realize that I have finally created a niche for myself--I am a 21st century writer who blogs, a mommy blogger, if you will, even though I despise the term. Interestingly enough, this is how I have earned my place in history. Until the blogosphere implodes, a record of my existence is "out there". My voice is engraved in binary code. I am part of a movement, perhaps.
To my readers, who keep returning and reading this blog. Thank you. I wonder what you are thinking. I added an email link to the blog for the purpose of getting feedback from those who are not connected onto blogger, who have not listed themselves as followers, and who aren't linked with me on Facebook. Thank you again. I see you. I see you all.