Tag Archives: Readers

I Stand Here Freshly Pressed

I never thought it would happen. You bloggers out there know what I’m talking about. That startling moment when you are recognized. When your tiny corner of the virtual world gets someone’s attention. When your Stats page shows a bar chart on steroids and a wave of glorious comments pop up out of nowhere for your approval. If you’re a Word Press blogger, you know it’s all about the F word. That’s right. When you’re Fresh, baby. When the Word Press powers that be reach out and pluck you out of the gazillion posts that get served up every day and stick you on their Freshly Pressed landing page.

When it happened to me I was so excited that I screamed for my other half and she thought something happened to one of the dogs (not one of the kids of course but that’s fodder for another post). I thought something was wrong at first. That I’d been hacked. Suddenly I had over 600 views in one day. Over 900 the next. The most I ever had prior to this was 79 (but who’s counting?). Then it dawned on me. I’d been Pressed. I went to that ever sweet mecca of chosen blog posts and there I was, peanuts and all.

A few days have passed, the glory has faded, and I thought I should share a few things from the experience. Here goes:

1) First, it was incredibly exciting–ridiculously so, like I just sold a novel or got a phone call from Ellen to do her show. I have no life.

2) I thought, crap, why didn’t I redesign this blog ages ago? Peanuts? What’s that about? And the font, tiny and boring and my God I rarely include any original big shiny colorful photos of food or cool places or nature. I’m so embarrassed. It was like having half the neighborhood stop by without warning and your house is so dirty the kids can play ball with the dust bunnies or the t-shirt you’re wearing is from a Barry Manilow concert.

3) I was humbled. I received so many beautiful comments and I’ve tried really hard to reply to them all but I haven’t gotten to everyone. Please excuse my lousy blogging ways but know that if you read the post and commented, every word of encouragement sent me soaring. Every story about someone’s loss choked me up. People out there are amazing. It made me think about readers and what an incredible group of people they are and that if you write you have to think about them. You have to do this in part for them. And you kinda love them. It’s bizarre!

4) It was the first time I ever put any of my writing out there–I mean my writing that I hope gets finished and published somewhere someday. So it was an especially exciting/humbling/scary thing to have happen. It made me feel this tiny bit of possibility.

5) I hate not knowing who Freshly Pressed me! How the heck does it even happen? I probably should know the answer to that but like I said, I’m a lousy blogger. Is it one person? By vote? A random spin of the wheel? If you FPed me, let me know! I’ll bake you vegan cookies and name my next pet after you.

6) It was short-lived. Fame is fleeting after all. But I want to thank anyone who stopped by, anyone who took the time to read the post, or looked around a bit at past posts. It is amazing that you are out there. Reading, writing, high-fiving and hugging other bloggers. Making things real, and fun, and especially, fresh.

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Say It Ain’t So

The libraries are closing.

I know other things are closing too. Factories, big box stores, music/art/sports programs, restaurants, movie theaters, entire shopping malls.  I know half our towns are broke, people are out of work, our  house isn’t  worth what we bought it for, Zuckerberg lost a few billion dollars, college graduates can’t find jobs,  health care feels like a bonus and people can’t retire until they’re 80.

But the libraries are closing.

Perhaps the economic crisis is only part of the reason. Should we blame Kindle, Amazon, self-publishing, e-zines, Ask.com or Wikipedia? Are people just too busy to go to the library? Have our attention spans become too short? Is there a backlash in our tolerance for librarians? Are children suddenly developing an allergy to the smell of all those books in one place?

Maybe I’m to blame. I am a reader. If you are a reader you know what this statement means. It is a primal part of who you are. You have read so many books that their words, their stories are part of the way you look at life. Years and years of these books have layered inside you, like sedimentary rock. They are your foundation. You can’t imagine your life without books, without reading.

So I hate to admit this, but it’s true. I hardly ever go to the library anymore.

Then why in the world am I bemoaning the loss of a place I rarely use? Am I just being sentimental? Maybe libraries will show up in movies some day and we will laugh at them, like watching Michael Douglas strut through the streets of New York in Wall Street with a mobile phone the size of a toaster.

I think my attachment is so strong because that is how I became a reader. I loved libraries, felt at home in them, at peace. I also felt excitement and freedom and safety at a time in my life when there wasn’t a whole lotta of that going around. I loved the smell of paper, the hushed silence, the maze of stacks, the little drawers in the card catalog. It was like stepping into an alternative world. A world where stories lived. Where stories waited for me. Where it felt like anything could happen.

In Rhode Island Dunkin Donuts thrives, along with nail salons, strip clubs, and pizza joints. I happen to frequent 2 out of 4 of these places (unless you know me well, you will have to guess which), yet I honestly wouldn’t care if they all started closing. But not the libraries. I want to be able to go there if I need to spark those old feelings. I want other people to discover themselves there, to become readers. I want to be able to get free books when I’m retired and broke. I want to sit at a table and write, surrounded by thousands of stories whispering, you can do it!

Maybe this weekend I’ll go to the library. Before it’s too late.

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