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Two Thousand and Fifteen. Happy?

Can’t say that I am. There’s really no excuse for that, except that “men” are asserting their “honour” and “courage” by killing a family in Edmonton or by shooting dozens of verb-slingers at a magazine in Paris. (And they call that faith?) Or that this man has staggered about “trying to find” his writing groove, which is where it always is, of course — in scheduled or impulsive, thoughtful or brainless, inspired or insipid attempts to do my thing.

But I’m happy that it’s 2015, I guess. Fresh starts, and all that, not to mention holiday visiting (and overeating) that we missed during the China Years. 2014 was a pretty good year at JH.com, lots of growth and bigger numbers than ever before, so my electronic muttering and waving is being engraved on more eyeballs. Yay, eyeballs! Heck, 4 or 6 of you might even be interested in this WordPress traffic report for this site:

http://jetpack.me/annual-report/39522313/2014/

My most-read article of the year is over a year old, so WordPress encourages me: Look! Your writing has staying power! As a long-time wader in the chalk-infested swamp of high school English teaching, however, it’s a licorice-all-sorts sentiment when I see that a fall 2013 “Better Read Than Never” review of the great John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is the blogatory gift that keeps on giving. I can think, fantastic, kids are researching! but that is drowned out by congratulations, idiot, you’ve provided fresh undigested essay fodder and a new playground for plagiarism! Ah, well. It’s a fine, fine thing, that short novel — yup, you should read it even if you do succumb to my blatant emotionally blackmailish appeals to read my half-century past-due appreciation (which also contains a bonus movie adaptation guide!).

December was a writing desert. I published one lonely thing, early in the month. It did give me some muted pleasure to note that even without pumping the publishing (and Twittification) crank handle, there was still a modest flow of readership, numbers I would’ve been pleased with two years ago. But now December looks dreadful on my handy-dandy site-stats graphs, because mysteriously, Monday the fifth o’ Jan was suddenly my biggest readership day ever. Two years back, Monday’s would’ve been a satisfying monthly total, and it still represents a heckuva week of viewing for me. So what was that about? The way bar graphs work, of course, is that a monster day like that requires a new scale, which makes the month of December look bloody anemic. (Yes, if you saw what I did there, it was on purpose.)

I went hunting, and it didn’t take long to figure out where the bump, which extended through yesterday, came from: there’s a site, obviously just a little more widely read than mine, called Slashdot.org. It’s not for techno-primitives like me, so I’d never heard of it, but rather for computer and programming fans who can also read. It’s a clearing-house for intelligent, sometimes inscrutable (well, to me) commentary on computing platforms and other high-technology applications. Monday, Slashdot ran an article by the founder of Tumblr decrying the decline in Apple software. The second or third response to that article — there were many, smart and opinionated and eloquent — recommended, somewhat out of the blue, the reading of John Ralston Saul’s The Unconscious Civilizationparticularly that activist/philosopher‘s criticisms of managerial elites and the perils of hiring narrowly educated MBAs, as Apple has apparently done both before and after the Steve Jobs comeback. The commenter quoted Saul, and referenced one of a series of brief summaries I did of JRS’s 1995 lecture and book, which is an excellent brief introduction to his thought. (Not so excellent, of course, as the original, but tremendously brief, are my little précis exercises, which start here.)

And, hey presto! I’ve taken the bat off my shoulder. I’ve written something. It’s no home run, but I didn’t strike out, either. It’s fun to think of baseball when a winter wind moans at minus 30, and I’m under a duvet. Having written. Happy New Year.

Comments (3)

  1. Jane Pearce

    I’m feeling it, James! 🙂

  2. Karl King

    I loved the Year in Review infographics and statistics. What a fantastic way to quantify the various aspects of your site. As a fan of sports statistics and records, I am inspired by the diligence of Michael Freeman who commented on your site 28 times in 2014. Funny thing is, Mike is my breakfast partner and dear friend and it seems as though I will have to step up my “game” in 2015 if I hope to be immortalized in the blogging record books. By the way: not surprised that JR Saul’s influence showed up on a site of cutting-edge thinkers. He’s a Big Mind that I’ve admired for years. Happy New Year’s, James!

  3. Sherri Yazdani

    The year in review is really interesting! And indeed, encouraging. I am not always keen on your subject of the day, but what you do with that subject always interests me. Just like a good teacher, I suppose! 😉

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