Thursday, March 26, 2015

Poetics of Keeping Three Wishes Ready

essaysbysean.blogspot.com

The other morning it was a touch below freezing, and despite small patches of snow far off to the side, there was no snow beside the sidewalk, only frosty grass. It felt like the world was young and I was on a fresh morning walk to elementary school. (Of 1¼ miles or 2 kilometers) It felt like back when I memorized the start of that fairy wishes poem. Today I “search engined” for it, finding a most delightful blog posting (footnote) where two friends have experienced posting wishes on their refrigerator—with two different results.

As for my own wishes—
Today I wish to do my every-25-posts summing up…

Why? Because today the time has come around: My administrator’s page of 25 essay titles has filled up again. What have I learned? Maybe a bit about human nature. I have previously found out several times, always by accident, that I’ve been translated into several languages. That’s fine. Yet I don’t think I’ve been translated at all ever since I put into my About Me sidebar a request for translators to leave me a comment. (I believe one of my translations was into Turkish, but I can’t tell for sure) Maybe it could be easier for humans to not translate if this must involve the effort of typing in a couple lines to say, “Hello Sean, I’m translating from Xanadu for the benefit of my fairy ring…”

I imagine my site as a modest blog with modest readership, one where I might have to close one eye to the blog statistics, to avoid discouragement, saying to myself “Maybe some day it will get more readers.” Sometimes I click to see the titles of my “top ten” posts for “all time.” It’s nice to look… but I find no guidance for what makes a hit.

Well, the other day I finally thought to click on the “overview” graph for “all time.” Surprise: I have really increased my stats over the years—sweet. I guess I have been mislead by the ongoing hit counts. Due to technical reasons, the experts at Google, who run Blogger, can never register the hit counts for my latest essay: They can’t count home page hits. Don’t you wish there was an app for that? I suppose I could whip up a home page, (it’s easy) and then have people click through it onto my latest essay, and then count the essay hits, but no—I’m not quite so egotistical that I need stats. Not if it means an extra click-through for people. Not for a modest blog.

When it comes to blogs, some folks would say a blog is a requirement for everyone in the public eye. Then again, folks used to say that everybody should get a citizen band (CB) radio. My brother had one at home. The CB craze long ago died down, and I don’t miss it. Similarly, I suspect the public’s passion for blogging has begun to decline. …By the way, (BTW) Paul Brant, who remade the CB song Convoy, is a local. My client, as a patient, met him when Paul was working at the children’s hospital. …By “in the public eye” I am not thinking of singers and realtors and such, but of my fellow writers.

For various reasons, beyond the scope of this essay, writers are now being very strongly advised by agents and editors to have a blog as their “platform.”—I might not agree with this new wisdom. In the publishing trade, a platform is what implies a certain number of sales you could hope for, from your blog readers, as opposed to you putting a book out there as a complete unknown. 

My favorite platform was the one proposed by Chuck Norris, for his excellent book, which is not about fighting, entitled The Secret of My Inner Strength: My Story. As Chuck explains, when the skeptical publisher asked if there was any proof anyone would buy any copies, Chuck said he’d just won the championship for Karate-do. And so if all the practitioners of karate bought his book, well, that would be a lot of people.

In his book, Norris comes across as modest, like me and my writer friends. It must have been complete strangers who began making T-shirts showing his silhouette over slogans like, “The dark is afraid of Chuck Norris.”

As for me, let’s be clear: My blog is not my platform, because I am well aware there is almost no market for books of essays. To know that, I don’t have to seek out the teensy weensy essay section in a giant bookstore or big central library—it’s enough to say aloud, “I have a hobby of writing essays…” and then watch people’s eyes glaze over. For me, my blog is my chance to seek self-mastery… like attending Chuck’s dojo.

If I’m mentioning writers today it’s because writers are on my mind. Last week, for the first time in my life, I found out I’m on someone’s home page blog roll—wow—and wouldn’t you know, it’s a blog by a local fellow writer. Here’s the link.


And here’s the first verse of the poem, written in 1932:
I Keep Three Wishes Ready
by Annette Wynne

I keep three wishes ready,
Lest I should chance to meet
Any day a fairy,
Coming down the street.

Here’s the whole poem, on that delightful blog.

Sean Crawford
Calgary
March
2015
Footnotes:
~For those who skimmed fast, here’s that blog again.

~Myself, I disagree with skimming.

~I’m still not saying I agree with blog platforms—but if you’re thinking of starting one, for any form of art, there’s an exciting New York Times best seller called Show Your Work! By Austin Kleon, subtitled 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered.


~I wonder if my essays are being read by avid readers and writers, because for the past month my most popular essay, by hit count, is Not to Be Robert Heinlein, analyzing the reputation of the dean of science fiction writers, archived October 2014. If that essay keeps getting so many hits, then it will soon become one of my top ten posts. 

~Update to below's note: My last 25-title post was in May of 2014 called Acid Blog, Stupid Yankee University where I suggested a reason for how, during the war, a university could dis-invite someone with valuable military intelligence.

~Following the above, another 25-blog post was a denser, heavier piece called Measuring So People Matter in November of 2014. 

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