Just the other day a teenager asked me how many hits I get on this blog. It was a good feeling that someone young enough to be my son had any interest in me at all. It’s rare for anyone to ask about my writing. So I answered with joy and pride. “Over 12,000 hits!” I confessed eagerly.
He looked at me and asked, “A day?”
“No,” I answered with childlike naiveté. “Over 12,000 hits since I started writing it, over a year and a half ago.”
I saw the look on his face. Pitiful, he’s thinking, downright pitiful. He remained courteous.
“After all,” I continued, my defenses rising, “my blog is mostly poetry and artistic writing. It appeals to a certain small audience, not a mass market.”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” he answered carefully, looking down at his cell, clearly embarrassed for me. Clearly done, interest-free.
It was okay, because kids nowadays have incredibly short attention spans. I wasn’t offended. But in the aura of his sudden apathy, I wonder – am I just killing time? Am I wasting my life with irrelevant writing that no one cares about? I’ve blown serious amounts of time over the years, hours and hours I’ll never get back. Years even.
Am I simply repeating the same mistakes over and again? What is the long run of my life? Am I destined to merely exist and never produce anything of real value? What constitutes value? Is it making money, or finding popularity with thousands of daily hits? Is it serious juried critiques and literary fame? Is it the satisfaction of pouring my emotions and thoughts onto a virtual page, no matter how unlikely it is that I’ll ever find a publisher who wants me?
(Then I tell myself…) Most people never write a blog posting every week for more than a year and a half. Most people don’t write poetry. Most people haven’t written a novel, or started a second novel…I tell myself. These are worthy endeavors.
I cling to those notions. I am serious about writing. I don’t know what the long run holds. Keep trying, I imagine me saying to myself. Don’t give up just because you’re not so popular. Just because you count new hits in analog instead of digital speed. Because you can’t compete with a generation born into computer ease. Don’t give up. Your long run is just beginning. The rest of your life is upon you.