Saturday, May 3, 2008

Know Thyself

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.

7 comments:

thailandchani said...

You know what gets me the most hits? "Thai MILF". Seriously. That is what people are looking for.

Just keep writing - but not for yourself. In my opinion. Write it for that one person who is going to come by, see it, recognize truth and become changed by it.

That's the target audience.

Its taken me a long time to get to this point because I was caught in the numbers stuff, too. Looking for external validation. Now I realize that my responsibility is to that one person - that unknown person.

John Torcello said...

I echo much of peter's and thailandchani's thoughts about why I write...and, I don't even consider myself a writer?!...

One thing that (so far) has worked as an explanation for me, I think, positively...is to write as if I was having a conversation or debate...a dialogue I wish was happening with the other side's participation too, but, isn't convenient, timely or deemed necessary - in that particular moment - for the other, or others, to participate...

My hope is one day they'll come back to the writing; consider it, take it and use it for whatever purposes would be helpful or useful to them...

Anonymous said...

Keep writing, Peter.

I don't often respond because I don't want to take the time, or because I don't care for my response to be judged. But I'm always interested in what you have to say.

Fred

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, Fred. I will. Can't help myself. And John and Chani, thanks for the helpful insights!

ErnestO said...

YOUR DOOMED

Robin said...

How true..

But if every writer cultivates goodness in his writings, certainly the blogosphere will be a better place.

Thanks for your writings, Sir.

PeterAtLarge said...

ErnestO--doomed, eh? Not sure whether to take that as a curse or a compliment....

Robin, thanks to YOU, for bearing with me in my wanderings!