2014: Mine, Yours, Ours

I am not the only person to have expressed a desire to see a “Best of 2014’s ‘Best of 2014 Lists'” list, but here are some of the bests of 2014 for The Gad About Town.

First a thank you to everyone who reads this website, even if this post is the first one by me that you have seen: Thank you.

This is a small publication with about 300 subscribers (“followers” in WordPress lingo) and a total of under 10000 views since January 2014. Of those 9000 views, it has received 645 comments and about 2000 “likes” (individuals’ faces and logos appear next to each like, making this feel like a community of sorts) across its 190 posts. Six hundred and forty-five comments out of 9207 visits is a 0.07 rate; I do not know if this is good, bad, an uncommonly high percentage, or so very extremely average and just like everyone else’s website as to be unworthy of even bothering to calculate.

I like to think of myself as a professional writer; a year ago, I built a platform out of nothing for myself, climbed on it, and started typing. Being disabled and with a tiny income means that I no longer need to: voluntarily send my résumé to some publication that I either admire or have never heard of in order to pursue a job that I almost certainly do not understand; hope to be invited to be interviewed; dress up or dress down for an interview in which “first impressions are everything” but when I am looking for a job, I do not make a good first impression; positively envision myself working with this staff for years to come (a silent thought, “I’m going to marry [looks around the office] … her”) but keep my expectations in check and understand that I will probably never lay eyes on any of these people again. Those interviews, many of them, are burned in my memory. They became good anecdotes, some of them; I interviewed for a copy editor job at a porn magazine on Lexington Avenue once.

Of the 645 comments given to this site, most have come from about a half-dozen individuals, none of whom I have (yet) met or even spoken with on the phone. Some readers have engaged me on each and every post for a week or so and then vanished. Some I think of as friends who made 2014 remarkable for me. I’m lucky to have met: Willow, who runs an “award-free” site, which is good, because this is not one of those. It’s a thank you note; Judy, a great writer and versifier who is leading a remarkable life, and I am grateful to be along for the part of the ride she shares; Mary, a fellow “spoonie” who has helped me open up in writing about my own condition; Leigh, who sometimes writes as many words in a response to one of my columns as some of the columns; Rebecca; Martha; Mrs. Anglo-Swiss; Catherine Lyons. I think I owe each of these readers a few comments in return. Please visit their sites.

The most frequently viewed post on this site in 2014 is “‘So It Goes,'” a brief reflection on Kurt Vonnegut and time’s passage. I have published some thoughts on the poet W.H. Auden five times: W.H. Auden.”

A Christmas Tree Story” received more “likes” than any other piece. “A Conspiracy Theory of Conspiracy Theories” received national attention because I am a jerk and posted a link to it in the comments section of an article on the same idea on Slate magazine, which led to me being called names. “Matt Coleman, Some Memories” and “Requiem for a Sponsor” were difficult to write. Readers wrote kind things about all of these columns. (I continue to insist on calling these posts, “columns,” because I used to work for a newspaper and I resist change.)

I am fond of three columns about equality and inequality: “Guilty of White,” the publication of which led to the end of a personal friendship when one friend revealed that they think that any person wearing a badge (especially if that badge-wearer is white) is always right, no matter what; “Inequality for No One“; and “Ice Water in My Veins,” about being disabled.

The company that hosts this and many other websites took the time to send each one of us and end-of-the-year round-up, which inspired this end-of-the-year round-up. The introduction to the letter reads:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,176 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you all for a remarkable 2014, Mark Aldrich.

The WordPress Daily Prompt for December 29 asks, “When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?”

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  1. Martha Kennedy · December 30, 2014

    Thank you for mentioning me — you definitely have a friend here. A comment you made on a disheartened post some months back sealed that not just because of the kindness of your words, but because it was clear that you had really READ “me”. I’ve enjoyed your blog very much, even though I was somewhat slow to come by and “follow” it (moving and all that was kind of distracting). I’ve enjoyed your articulate and discursive writing style and the thoughtfulness of your perception and the topics about which you write.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nonsmokingladybug · December 30, 2014

    I want to wish you a very happy and joyful New Year. I am glad we met in the blogging word and I am looking forward to your new posts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lifelessons · December 30, 2014

    Thanks for the mention in your blog today, Mark. It was both surprising and heart-warming. You deserve every positive comment you have received this year. I don’t know of any blog that is as constantly well-written, well-researched and entertaining. You never ever shirk the task or hurriedly jot something down to check it off your list. Your blog is always my treat for the day. Happy New Year! Judy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Relax · December 31, 2014

    Your columns are particularly diverse and interesting and always so readable because they are so well written. I’m glad you’re here!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. abodyofhope · December 31, 2014

    Thanks so much for the shout out 🙂 I am touched that I have made a difference for you. Thank you for saying so!
    I met you right off the bat and your writing has encouraged me to work harder editing my work and, also your love for bios recently inspired me to do an entry of my own on Fanny Crosby. (I often use the word “entry” as if I am writing in a diary.)
    If you would ever be game, I’d love to invite you to write a guest entry (or column) on my page regarding a part of your experience with your disability this year.
    Thank you again, Mark.
    And I think it’s funny you called yourself a “jerk.” Oh well… Can’t be perfect all the time! 😉


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Benn Bell · January 2, 2015

    Hi Mark. Keep up the good work. Proud to know you. Will keep reading your blog. A little slow to like and comment sometimes but I am here. Thank you for your support as well. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: A Thank You Note | The Gad About Town

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