The more I try to figure out readership in the blogosphere, the less I understand it. Sometimes I think it might have to do with what I write about (tattoos, strangely, never fail to promote a spike; and Cardozo, my trusty assistant, tells me that there's nothing like a discussion of that short-list of naughty words); but then I write about something truly controversial--and nobody shows up. Sometimes it's the political stuff that draws attention; sometimes the more personal, confessional. You just can't tell.
All of which, perhaps, is good. It reminds me of the one basic truth that all writers, sooner or later, have to face: if you're not writing first and foremost for yourself, you might as well find another job right away.
Don't get me wrong. I do understand that writing, like any other creative medium, is pretty much meaningless without the other part of the equation--the person who reads what's written. That somehow grounds the words back into the real world. But writing remains for me that process of finding out what I need to know. How do I know what I think--I've repeated this old adage countless times--'til I see what I say? The Buddha Diaries remains my (near) daily check-in point, the place where I come to find out what's bugging me today.
All this because I'm coming to the conclusion, in my own slow-to-get-it way, that I've been devoting too much time and energy to concerns about who's reading and who's responding to The Buddha Diaries. It's not about pushing the numbers up. No, it's really about the continuing search for an authentic sense of who I am and a simple desire to share the results with anyone who cares to know. It's about the old Socratic injunction, Know Thyself. Though, actually, Wikipedia informs me that this piece of wisdom has been attributed to many others than Socrates. And of course, did the Buddha have much different to say?
So when I next find myself playing the numbers game, I'll remind myself to come back to this most basic of all principles. And be content with it.
And to anyone who happens to stumble upon this entry, I trust that that you have a wonderful weekend to look forward do. May you find true happiness.