Pressed for Time

Posted on October 23, 2011


This is going to annoy some people, and I know that because I have a well-developed sense of when I’m being annoying. But that isn’t what I’m worried about. My fear is that I’ll sound ungrateful, like I’m some insanely wealthy person whining about not having enough room for all of his money. The thing is, I am grateful. And I realize that the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience. It’s just that my wrists are going to fall off and my eyes feel as though I’ve been staring directly into the sun for about a week and a half.

But I’ve already gotten ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

My blog was Freshly Pressed on October 13. I had told a friend that very morning that I had already been selected for the WordPress front page back in April, so the chances of my getting it again were nearly zero. It was just probability. There are more than four hundred thousand blogs. Twelve of those — one dozen — are featured every two or three days. That comes out to about fourteen hundred blogs in a year, out of four hundred thousand. Not good odds.

A few hours later, my Inbox began to fill with comments and subscribers. It had happened: I was Freshly Pressed again.

It was a Thursday. I answered the comments as quickly as I could, while also exploring many of the senders’ blogs, and leaving them feedback. I thought it would last until Saturday. On Sunday, all twelve of us were still there on the Freshly Pressed page. “I’m sure it’ll be over by Monday morning,” I thought. “Something called Freshly Pressed has to have an expiration date.” But Monday came and went; so did Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Freshly Pressed for an entire week? Something was up. They never leave it stagnant for so long. Meanwhile, the comments came in faster than I could respond. I also noticed that the more comments there were, the longer it took to answer each one. With a few dozen visitors, I can reply and the page refreshes in about five seconds. But with hundreds, it’s like trying to add plates to the middle of a stack that’s as tall as an apartment building. Every comment made the stack taller, and therefore heavier to lift in order to slip a reply into the middle somewhere. Once typed, each response was taking almost a full minute to upload.

Then it was Friday. And then Saturday. It’s now been ten days, and the comments continue to arrive. Almost all have been sincere, supportive, and wonderfully thoughtful. A few have been blatant marketing attempts. Two or three others have been completely incomprehensible. Okay, five or six. One consisted entirely of a couple of dots. Or it may have been a single dot and a period.

Another friend told me this could go on until October 29. I don’t know how she knows this, and I’m hoping her ability to foretell the future is as pathetic as mine.

How do I handle this ongoing honor? Not long ago, it would have seemed like a fantasy situation — a continual flow of readers, commenters, and subscribers. But it also began to feel like cheating, like getting cable without paying for it. Then I remembered that three people had given me the Versatile Blogger Award in the past few weeks. The idea, in case you don’t know, is to tell some things about yourself, acknowledge the person who nominated you, and pass the award along to a number of other writers. I’ve done this before. I think everyone listed on my blogroll has received this award, and others, at least once.

But now, in the past ten days, I’ve met hundreds of bloggers. Not surprisingly, many of them are excellent writers, photographers, and artists whose blogs are a treat to visit. The thought also occurred to me that I’ve been talking a lot lately about how much our society gushes over a handful of celebrities, and how out-of-balance it all seems. Everyone needs to be paid attention to, at some point and by somebody. I’ve suddenly had more than my share. And so I’d like to divert that attention toward a few of the many friends I’ve made, whose blogs may be brand new, or have, for whatever reason, gone largely unnoticed. Hearing from just a few unexpected readers could make the difference for someone — the difference between giving up and hanging in there.

Thank you to Kavya, Punit, and Charly Walker for the Versatile Blogger Award. I was sorry it took me so long to do something with it, but now I’m glad I waited.

First, here’s some useless information about me:

1. I recently discovered that when I’m taking a shower, if I stick my finger into my ear and pull it out quickly, I get dizzy for a second. I don’t know how I could have lived so long without realizing this sooner.

2. Every time I go to a restaurant and see turnips on the menu, I’m shocked all over again.

3. I own more books than I will ever have time for. I frequently buy the same book twice, and sometimes don’t realize it until months or years later. I secretly wish to be put under house arrest, and ordered to read.

4. There’s a tiny part of my brain that knows exactly what my spleen is supposed to do, and the rest of it has no idea. I try not to dwell on things like that.

5. At fifty-six, I’m ready to accept the possibility that I may never be a major league baseball player. I’m okay with this; I just don’t know what to do with the Hall of Fame induction speech I’ve been rehearsing since 1967.

6. I think the local radio station plays too many Elton John songs.

7. I don’t really believe in reincarnation, yet I have this unexplainable feeling that I died in the American Civil War. I wasn’t killed in battle. I was a cook on the Union side, and was shot dead by my own men.

Here are a few of the blogs I’ve discovered over the past week and a half. Please know that for each one listed here, I could have named ten more. Also, I’m going to be answering comments on my Freshly Pressed post for the rest of my natural life. If you decide to leave a comment on one of these other blogs, rather than here, that would be fine with me.

People Do Things In Taiwan
Emily is an English teacher from Texas, now living in Taiwan.

Memoirs of An Evil Stepmom
“MJ” blogs about marriage and her blended family.

Aun Aqui
Aun is young, married, and writes about the joys and sadness of life.

Today’s Dad Blog
A serious and sensitive look at modern fatherhood.

Essays on entertainment, technology, and everyday adventures.

Ronnie writes with wonderful humor and insight.

The Ruminations of Jess
Jessica’s blog is filled with great prose and stunning photography.

The Heartbreak of Invention
Patricemj writes long and very beautiful posts.

My Haphazard Proclivities
Joe publishes this blog about computers, sports, and family life.

Next Stop
Dounia writes about being a “third culture kid.” Great photographs, too.

Rootgilmore’s Blog
Joseph creates incredible stories, and has been doing so for a long time.

* * * * *

One more thing. A lot of people have been asking about the cartoons on my blog. I wish I could say I draw them myself, but I’ve lied enough about other things. The original artwork is done by a cartoonist named Ron Leishman. I modify them by adding captions and dialogue, but it’s the incredible selection of his work that makes it easy to create images for my posts. You can see more of Ron’s brilliance on his website.

Posted in: In Over My Head