I went on holiday recently, and being the terrible caregiver that I am, completely forgot to do anything about my plants. I don’t know any of my neighbours so noone was going to come in and water them. I’d meant to put them in the bath and fill it up a bit so they’d have something to drink whilst I was gone but…that never happened. Anyway I came home to find they’d made a bid for freedom. Now I have to find some enormous plant pots and rehouse them before their escape attempt turns into a suicide mission.
I don’t even know what they are. When I moved into my flat they were outside on the windowsill and looked like dead blades of grass stuck in herb pots. I brought them in and watered them just for the hell of it. Next thing I knew, I was growing trees in my tiny one bedroom flat.
Something similar seems to have happened with this blog. I am a terrible blogger. I’ll write five posts in a week then neglect the entire blog for three months. In the last two years I’ve only managed fifteen posts. Yet somehow the other day I logged on to find I have 1000 followers. This is a huge deal to me for two reasons.
Firstly because, all evidence to the contrary, I continue to think of myself as a writer, and it’s hugely gratifying to think that someone, somewhere is reading what I write and identifying with it in some way. For me blogging is, or should be, about becoming part of a community; sharing, giving and receiving feedback and feeling a little less alone in the world. A thousand followers is nothing to many of you, but to me it matters. So thank you. Each and every one of you.
The second reason that this achievement strikes a chord with me is that this blog is anonymous. My name isn’t on it, there are no photographs of me and none of my friends know that it exists. That means that none of you are following because you have to. None of you are here because you feel that you should support me, or out of loyalty, or because I’m a nice person. (I’m not, I’m quite sarcastic and awkward and difficult to talk to). The only reason that any of you have for choosing to follow my blog is that you like something I’ve written. So today I’m very happy that I’ve managed to connect in some small way with a thousand strangers.
I think in return, it’s about time I started putting some effort in. As you can see, thus far I haven’t really been that committed to the cause, but that’s about to change. I’ve recently become a lot more committed to other neglected areas of my life (my career, vegetables, shaving my legs) and am in the process of generally getting my act together and moving in a vaguely forward direction. As a child I had three ambitions – become Prime Minister, be a librarian and write a novel. I really didn’t see why I couldn’t do all three simultaneously, though I’m not sure how I thought I’d run the country from the returns desk of a very small town library. Anyway I now have a politics degree, studying for which seriously put me off ever running for office, and although I still quite fancy the librarian job, I’ve come to realise that it’s less about reading and more about numbers and putting things back in the right place. Neither of which I’m that good at. That leaves just the one goal. Writer. And I’m not ready to let that one go yet.
The point I’m trying to make in my usual roundabout ramble is that this little blog of mine is about to undergo a radical overhaul. I say radical, it probably won’t look much different, but over the next few weeks it’s going to get organised, categorised and, most importantly, updated more than once in a blue moon. I’ll also try very hard to stop writing drivel. The other thing that’s changing is the name. But to what?
When I started this blog, it wasn’t out of any desire to BE a blogger, it was just that I suddenly had something to say and felt like I needed to say it immediately. By the time I’d found a site, set it up and gotten to the naming bit I was just about ready to explode. Smoke was practically pouring out of my ears as name after name was rejected as taken. I didn’t care what it was called, I just wanted to write my post. The name I went with fit the mood I was in at the time, but hasn’t really fit anything else since then. I am most definitely in possession of a free mind, but a loud voice? No. I always worry that if I’m ever attacked in a dark alley, I won’t scream. I’m not a shouter.
So the new blog needs a new name, and I’m as stumped now as I was two years ago. Suggestions on a postcard please?