Friday, April 5, 2013

Sitemeter Is Dead

...or maybe just asleep.  Sitemeter is the statistics counter that lets me know how many people click on my blog.  And its death, or its prolonged nap, has given me reason to, as we Catholics used to say, examine my conscience.

And I have concluded that I am addicted to stats.

Loneliness is the writer's main occupational hazard.  Here I am tunneling like a mole in the compost of my mind, scooping up bits and flinging them out into the ether day after day.   And when I finally surface and sniff the air with my little pink snout and listen for a sound with my little furry ears, what do I hear?  Mostly silence.
I am hugely grateful, of course, to those (you know who you are!) who patiently read me and faithfully comment.  You warm the cockles of my heart and make me want to tunnel in my brain again and again.  I do understand that you have to sleep at night, and must occasionally take a break from giving me feedback.  But never underestimate a writer's need for audience:  while you're sleeping or working or enjoying life I am wondering what the heck I'm doing wrong that nobody ever reads what I write, and wouldn't it be the sensible thing for me to just give up and learn to play golf instead?

That is where the stats counter comes in.  For while you're sleeping or working I can click on Sitemeter and know that in Peoria a person of exquisite literary taste has devoted one and a half minutes to reading five of my pages, and a sheik in Saudi Arabia just spent thirty-five seconds perusing what I wrote about wattle fences four years ago. 

It may seem silly, but in the lonely watches of the night every click means a lot.

But now Sitemeter is dead, or faking it, and I am left to consider that time-worn bit of advice to artists:  "write/paint/sculpt/dance/play the piccolo because you must, regardless of what anybody thinks."  I have never understood that.  If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?  If a flautist plays a piece and nobody listens, did he make music?  What if a painter paints but nobody looks, or a writer writes but nobody reads--has art still happened?

Unless Sitemeter comes back to life, I'm often going to feel like a voice crying in the desert.  Unless, that is, I choose to imagine thousands of readers all over the planet--far more than Sitemeter ever counted--clicking on my blog night and day, shaking their heads with amusement, swallowing tears of emotion, and wondering who in the world is this mystery genius writing a blog in Vermont.

15 comments :

  1. Your mole mind is wonderful. Given we have a yard full of moles, I will think of you daily!

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  2. Oh, I'm sorry about your moles. I hope they're not all writers!

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  3. Go with the golf plan!

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    1. I may some day give up writing, but it probably won't be in favor of golf.

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  4. I so love reading your posts...you are an AMAZING writer and I still cannot believe you have not been picked up by a publisher yet...!!

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    1. I'll be thinking of this in the watches of the night.

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  5. That's funny, my site meter works and I do know how many people stop by and it doesn't help at all, so I feel that I basically write for my own pleasure. I look at it as keeping a diary that I can look back on later in time and remember what used to keep me occupied and what state of mind I was in. The fact that people read me, does add value to this, I won't deny it.

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  6. Glad to hear that Sitemeter isn't completely dead. Maybe there's hope for me.

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  7. I've been reading your blog regularly ever since I first stumbled upon it. I was reluctant to comment because you don't know me, and you might be intending this for friends and family, and you'd think I was some kind of weird stalker-lady. Because I'd probably be overly effusive because I LOVE your blog. I have the feed on my home page and check it first thing when I log on, in hopes of a new post. I did finally break my silence when I could no longer stand not to respond. But now you've given me permission, so I feel free to gush a little. I agree with Jaimie that your musing would make a good book, or a Molly Ivins type commentary on NPR.

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  8. Hi whaledancer, I'm so glad you broke your silence!

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  9. I'm still here. Too busy, too quiet, always behind, but still here, enjoying...

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  10. Lali, Lali, Lali! Just as you write in silence many of us read in silence. And now and then we just have to offer a comment :~)

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  11. Please don't stop writing. I look forward to each new post. So just in case you don't already know: I am out here enjoying every word, mostly quietly.

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