It is, as memory goes
Movies can make me think about many things: my life, my past, my future, my actions, my dreams. Every now and then one comes along that makes me rethink my actions and makes me doubt myself. I watched EDtv this evening and came away more disquieted than the premise of the movie would normally suggest.
Domesticat is my outlet, my creative energy, my place to write and think and design in peace. Yet I make it publicly viewable. I don't actively encourage people to come to the site; I mention it to people if the situation and conversation warrants it, but I do not force people to come here.
Yet…since I started the site thirteen months ago, I've watched quietly as my site hits went up every month. The first time I got queasy and a bit nervous was when I realized that people other than my close, immediate, living-here-in-town friends were reading what I wrote.
At first I was humbled, then terrified, then emboldened. Then I began to work more seriously on the site—to work on keeping things neat, updated. I went for standards compliance and better design. I scrapped a lot of old features to focus on journal-style entries (a decision, I might add, that I've never regretted).
It was a quiet thing, this website. I was not on any set of web rings or cliques, mostly due to my growing frustration and disgust with the self-referential attitude of the weblogging/journaling community. For a lot of people, it became more about how cool you were by whose site links you displayed or by the up-to-the-nanosecond blips than actual, lasting content.
It became webloggers linking to webloggers and reading other webloggers. Memes that flashed and died within a week. So much for fifteen minutes of fame—fame started from a link and ended when the next one was followed.
I've tried to stay out of this as much as possible. I read a few weblogs, but those links stay in my bookmarks and not on my page. My favorites—the ones whose content lasts more, in my opinion, than the proverbial fifteen seconds of weblog fame—are the ones I link here.
But, as far as my privacy and my site stats go, I've recently done a very uncharacteristic thing. I volunteered to maintain the hacks/mods site for greymatter—the set of scripts I use to automate the journaling section of my site.
I expected a large number of hits on the hacks/mods repository, and expected that a few people would probably cross over to see what the main site was like. I have been a fairly active and vocal member of the greymatter bulletin board since discovering it a few months ago. I host hacks, have made website skinning code publicly available, and pointed people to some useful tools like DoSomething.
As is usual for this sort of thing, I've gotten more than I bargained for. My site stats tell me that suddenly, a lot more people are reading domesticat. Reading a lot of it, and coming back more than once. I don't know how I feel about this, and I blathered to Brad about it a lot this evening, trying to sort through it in my mind.
It boils down to this: suddenly, this site is being looked at, and my words are being read—and not necessarily for the reasons I wanted. I wanted people to read what I wrote, yes. Otherwise this would be a collection of scrawled vignettes on notebook paper.
I write under the supposition that the things I experience are not exclusive to myself, but perhaps might have some value to the people—my family, my friends—that read them. But I envisioned something along the lines of a slow and gradual word-of-mouth.
That has been the case for the past twelve months; I would occasionally hear from people who said, "Someone suggested that I should read your site. Here's what I think—" followed by an agreement or disagreement.
Through no particular increase in the quality of my site, the quantity of my readers has increased. I don't know how I feel about that, but I know that the overwhelming feeling I have is one of vague dishonesty.
The motives for creating a public journaling site always have a bit of shade in them. I go back and forth about how shady my reasoning was: was I just asking for attention, or did I really think that what I had to say was worthwhile?
I don't know, and I suspect that I never will know. The uncertainty fuels my drive to write, and write well. The knowledge that each entry may be the only one that someone reads is knowledge that makes me go back and recheck entries for grammar, clarity, and meaning. Substance.
In the end, I'm honored that people take time out of their day to see what's going on in my world. I've never made apologies for not providing a day-by-day, round-by-round coverage of my life. It is, as memory goes, a hodgepodge of remembrance, ideals, plans, and contemplation.
Why? Life is no more about routine than your thoughts are about their sequence. It is the out-of-context, the juxtapositioning, that brings clarity to the entirety. It is all too easy to lose that in the daily attempt to chronicle something that has meaning to me.
In the end, I'll learn to accept the larger number of readers. It's just taking me a little while to adjust. Bear with me.
As for me, I have a fortuitously-timed trip to New Orleans tomorrow. I will not return until Sunday, and there will be no entries or answered emails until I return.
In the meantime, here is something for you. I'm curious to know who you are, if we've never met. Drop me a line at introductions [at] domesticat.net. Tell me who you are, who you aren't, what you love, what makes you laugh, and most of all—what makes you get up in the morning and keep going with your life. You have, in this site, the opportunity to see what I think comprises the totality of myself; tell me the same about you.
I'll return to the world of writing sometime on Monday. Until then, cheers.