To write a blog is to agree to go through the nail-biting crunch of getting your book published. Only, here it comes with every blog post.
In an attempt to explore the feelings of blog writer, I’ve written the musings of a fictitious writer of a fictitious blog. Any resemblance to anyone, blogging or retired-from-blogging-to-tend-to-a-broken-ego, is purely coincidental. If you find you can relate to one, some or all of the thoughts of Bee, our heroine, join the club. If you do not, ask yourself this, “I am really blogging?” If nothing here really applies to you, consider patting yourself on the back for being a hard-boiled egg.
I gently rub the tips of my forefinger and thumb together, clockwise and then counter, to ease the tension whenever I am feeling it. Any hand will do. Sometimes I am holding my tea cup with one, which is what I am doing right now, and ease the tension with the other. So, the cup in my right hand, the tips moving counter-clockwise of the left finger and thumb, I am set to make blogging history. Fingers crossed.
The morning sun is filling the kitchen table. There is more life in the rays than usual. My email inbox for blog notifications, when checked 10 minutes back, was painfully parched. As always. The site stats showed a routine meagre 16. Will Lucy have found time and read my latest post? Perhaps I should go and check. Maybe she’s even left a comment. The tea cup is on the kitchen table, and my hands are on it, too. No rubbing of fingers and thumbs. Am I addicted? Vishal seems to think so. His iPad is on the counter top, ready to use. The news on it is “Drowning in debt, EU hits a moment of truth.” Virtual reality in any form can be addictive. Only some, like Vishal, seem to think that everyone else is dependent on a virtual “high”, while they aren’t. He is quite convinced he is just doing his job. That he is “simply manning stocks for the trading market, and getting loads of profit from it.”
Things were different a year back. Vishal was safely employed at a hotel. I was a demure housewife, tending to our little Asha and our cute apartment. She is four now, already quite independent, Vishal is a day trader, I am an avid blogger, and the cute apartment is the hub of our little, addictive world.
The bar shows 17. One more visit! Do I sound pathetic and desperate? Well, you’re free to interpret my obsessive desire for a teensy bit of popularity as desperation. I am one of the many, who think everyday, possibly every hour (or even more often) about their blog readers. Or the lack of them. I am one of the few in my circle of bloggers, who do not have visitors and responders to compete with the Louvre. I have 31 subscribers. Thirty-one. Amanda has 215. Jeremy 85. Derek might have at least thousand, judging by the number of people who respond to his posts every week. What am I not doing right? Why not me?
“Why not me?”
“People like all sorts of worthless things these days. This shows you’re good,” Vishal reasoned.
“You have a twisted sense of logic,” I spat with a relieved smile. Perhaps he is right, I thought.
That was yesterday.
This is now. My post, timed precisely for when people are supposed to be free from the day’s routine and get down on to the computer to read, has not even attracted enough interest for one comment. And I’d day dreamt of a Freshly Pressed for this one.
Who selects Freshly Pressed posts, anyway?
I used to be a devil-may-care back in school. The clothes, I wore, the chewing gum I chewed, the songs I listened to, were all carefully selected to please and comfort me — not the self-proclaimed authorities on style and coolness. What has changed now? Why do I look for appreciation and popularity?
“Bee, I need a black coffee. Please?”
Vishal has had a way of getting me away from my thoughts without ever making me impatient at a personal time lost. But things have changed lately. I shrug off thoughts of Sarika, recently Pressed Fresh for the nth time, mumble something incoherent to my increasingly distant-seeming husband, and get up to make some coffee. I could use a mug, too. Tea for thinking. Coffee for acting.
I was living in a world of immensely good things before I began blogging. I was aware of having a wonderfully delightful husband, a sweet child, a fulfilled, full life. Sometimes, though, when I looked at old pictures from my grade 12 farewell, or this trip to Kerala, or that to Florence, I felt a sense of something slipping out of my hands. Something I couldn’t describe then. I think what was slipping out of my hands was me.
Without thinking of what good it’d do to me, I started Aubergine Dreams.
For a while, I did wallow in an illusion that I wrote for myself. I had been writing in my notebooks all my life, I told myself, I did not need readers. A blog was just a convenient means to jot down thoughts. But I was fooling myself, I realised soon. Readers, appreciators, challengers are essential for a writer to grow, and to feel motivated.
Gradually, visitors increased. The increase in numbers brought with them a few, who left words of appreciation, encouragement, and more importantly, interest. I began checking my mail more often, waited for hours after publishing a post to see how many had visited, and, hopefully, read with interest. Every single comment brought me joy. Someone was reading my words!
Unbridled joy is an elusive thing, and this time was no exception. With the happiness came disbelief. As I read more blogs, I began to expect dishonesty, or at least a compulsive show of interest in the posts with the hope that the favour would be returned. As the number of blogs I read increased, I discovered some brilliant ones. The responses they received matched the brilliance of the writer. Every responder seemed to take interest in the writer’s words, and rightly so. Would I ever get that?
The disbelief warped into a reluctance of accepting sincerity in the appreciation I received. A small worm of doubt always lurked. I began to question, not the feelings of person, but my own eligibility. Were people just being kind? They left messages that were difficult to believe. They praised my abilities, skills I didn’t think I have. I couldn’t possibly believe that!
In less than a year, I had reached from seeking readership to doubting its intentions. How did that happen?
And now, today, on the first anniversary of my blog, I want to drown myself in candid appreciation. And not so candid drops of it, too. Just to see the numbers increase. To feel a sense of joy of having found a kindred soul.
All I want is to feel the happiness a child feels when people gather around to see the finger painting she’s created. I am becoming like Asha. A child eager to please, to sense appreciation. I try my best, but there surely must be something I am missing.
Where is the inundation?
Asha’s woken up, the coffee’s ready. Vishal is already busy with his stocks. There are clothes to wash, furniture to dust. There’re site stats to see. What first?
Just one look won’t harm. 21! Well, there should be a comment soon.