The survey results are coming, I promise. Until then, I’ve been fascinated by some of the answers to the question, “Any PaperGirl entries stick out in your mind over the years?”
This one got several nods. In the interest of getting some sleep for heaven’s sakes, today’s post is archival. WARNING: This story involves “cute” little girls that aren’t, actually, a stern airline attendant, and farts. And if that doesn’t make you want to check it out, surely this will:
A couple thoughts on the blog. I will employ sub-headings for organizational purposes. I’ve been working all day and don’t feel confident I can weave anything elegant right now. Thanks, sub-heading!
1. I like it when you read it.
When I’m out teaching and speaking and dragging my suitcase around, folks come up to me and say, “I hope you don’t think I’m a stalker, but I read your blog… I have to ask: how’s your health? How are you dealing with Claus being gone? Congratulations on grad school! When do you start??” and so forth. Sometimes the person asking is sheepish in the extreme; they feel like they’re intruding. Don’t be sheepish! Actually, sheeps are cute, so be sheepish in a cute way, but know that I love that you read my blog. I write PaperGirl for you. I write it for myself, too; this is me practicing scales almost every day, trying to be a better writer like a flutist is trying to be a better flutist. This blog affords me opportunities to use the world flutist and say it in my mind: FLAU-tist. Now that’s entertainment. But yes: I love when I meet people who read the ol’ PG and you can ask me whatever you like. I reserve the right not to tell you, but I probably will tell you even more than you wanted to know.
2. The secret to a successful blog: consistency and variety. I’m teaching my blog class at the University of Chicago in a couple weeks and have been working on my syllabus. The research is confirming what I knew already: the secret to a good blog is consistency and variety. This is what I say when I’m asked about blogging and this is what I’ll share with my students. You can’t expect to keep readers if you post once a month, then three times in a week, then three months later, then two weeks later, and so on. That’s true for any blog, be it political, mommy, foodie, or otherwise. What is also true is that variety is the spice of blogs. If I tried to be funny-ish 100% of the time or earnest 100% of the time or anxious 100% of the time or weird 100% of the time, I’d get bored, you’d get bored, and, worse even than that, we’d all be missing out on the breadth of the human experience. This is true even in a foodie blog. I want to hear about the bad meals as well asthe good meals. Maybe that’s just me.
3. I still won’t advertise. I should. I could. But I won’t. I hate those ads. I hate them so much. I hate how web ads know that I just looked at underpants on Amazon but didn’t buy them so now they want to get me to buy them someplace else. I can’t do it to you or to me, friends. PaperGirl is an oasis for me and I hope it is for you, too, just for a minute or two in your Internet life. No ads. Ever. I promise.
The server. It had problems. There had to be a migration. The migration, it had problems. I was without you. Lost. Lost at sea. Lost at sea with no peanut butter. Lost at sea with no peanut butter, no coffee.
It was horrible! And over my birthday, too! What a rip-off!
Well, anyhow, PaperGirl and the site are both back up, obviously, and I apologize for any inconvencience. If not being able to access my blog rates anywhere near an inconvenience for even a handful of people, why, I’ve made it in this world.
Tomorrow, I can begin making the changes to the website I’ve long needed to make (turns out the server problem had to be handled first, bleh) and a fresh paper — PaperGirl, that is. What will we discover, friend? I’m considering observations on anything from Door County, Wisconsin, to turning [REDACTED] years old yesterday, or perhaps I’ll offer Reasons To Adore Yuri, or explain the kitten puppet I bought and named Belli. I promise no politics, no people-bashing, and no harsh language