4,999 Views… and Counting.

September 17, 2007 at 3:20 am (Uncategorized)

I am the keeper of odd anniversaries. Every New Year, I write in my spanking new desk calendar the important, conventional dates from the previous year’s diary: birthdays, wedding anniversaries, other important milestones in the lives of people I care about. But I also keep another, less conventional set of dates rolling forward year after year. For instance, I know the dates when some of my friends have lost people very dear to them. To me, it’s extremely important to remember these dates because my friends might need an especially warm word or two that day. Sometimes it’s nice, and I speak from my own experience of this, just knowing that someone else remembers. And because it’s usually a pretty crap, sad day remembering that, in my case, for example, it was on that day X number of years ago that my granddad died, or, worse, my niece, it can be a good, timely reminder to make sure the people I love know I love them. But perhaps it’s an eccentricity of mine – I’m never sure if other people observe these dates as I do.

In a similar spirit, I’ve been hoping to reach the 5,000 views mark on my blog stats on or before the one year anniversary of its commencement. I’ve written 209 posts, so that would give me an average of 24 views per post. It’s not breaking any records, but it’s enough to tell me that you’re out there, and that you’re coming back. Right now my stats read 4,999 views, and because the one year mark is September 29, I already know I – we – are going to make it, and that makes me feel just grand. Thank you for continuing to check in and justify this small project’s existence.

Then there are my other markers of progress or indeed the lack thereof. This year, May 26 marked a year since I graduated with my doctorate. May 29 was the date I posted my ultimately unsuccessful entry in The Australian/Vogel literary award; September 11 is when I found out it didn’t get anywhere. June 8 marked a year since my first day in a freelance stint at WHO magazine, and September 13 is down as the anniversary of being told by the editor that the full-time job was going to someone else. June 28 this year was the 6th anniversary of my giving up smoking. I like to see those years accrue. August 20 is the day I received my rejection slip from the Curtis Brown literary agency, which was one day shy of the 10 week mark of my having sent the sample of my writing in. You may look at this list and see occasions you’d think I’d prefer not to be reminded of, but it’s actually the opposite. I like to see what I’ve accomplished instead, in the meantime. I like looking back on the year since a job I was already doing, and as far as anyone could tell me, doing well, was given to a candidate I hadn’t even known existed. The reason I like reflecting on that day is that the job really wasn’t right for me, and I know I would have ended up hating it. I think in her wisdom the editor already knew that, and knew I probably wouldn’t stay. Still, our conversation was a big shock to me, and so I keep that date as a reminder of what I was ultimately spared. And I see the body of published work I have accumulated since with no small measure of gradually recovered pride.

It’s the same with my MS rejections. I have faith in my manuscript, if you want to know the honest truth. And I choose to believe – I have no other choice – that it will one day find a home with a publisher. Ultimately, I have to look at these dates of vast personal disappointment and distress as markers of their (the editor’s, agent’s, publisher’s) loss, not mine, and so it’ll be great, great fun to see where we are with all of this another year from now.

POSTSCRIPT: in case you’re interested, here’s the extract from the winning Vogel entry that appeared in Saturday’s Review section of The Weekend Australian.

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