Everyone Wins

I’m a dope. If an acceptance speech was required or expected, I did not deliver one. The one time an award was given to me at a real awards ceremony, I dashed from my seat upon hearing my name, ran to the front of the hotel ballroom, paused long enough to collect the plaque (long since lost), looked at it long enough to see that my name was in fact etched on its surface, and dashed back to my newspaper’s table. The presenters were not looked at long enough for their faces to be retained in my memory.

I grabbed that thing as if I expected the membership of the New York Press Association to demand an instant recount. As if someone had clicked start on a stopwatch. It was not my plan to turn into Carl Lewis and hurdle the tables of our rival newspapers, but something snapped. It was 1997 and I still could run, but I lived a life in which I did not expect good things, so when good things came I was not “pleasantly surprised” as I like to be now, I was shocked into feeling like I was getting away with something that I clearly did not deserve.

I reprinted the column here in December; it was called “The New Wave“; the link is to it.

At the conclusion of 2014, I wrote about this website’s metrics; on Saturday, I wrote about my relationship with metrics (“I Don’t Believe in Me“), so why not give you some more metrics about this website? In December I wrote:

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.2014 In Review

Two-plus months later, the numbers are larger. This website is slated to surpass its total 2014 views in a couple weeks, as it has received more than 8000 views in under 10 weeks. (These are the official WordPress numbers, which I have read are said to not be the best count.) As of this writing, 17,485 total views. This post or the next one will be number 250 and the comments are up to a total of 980, 335 received in 2015. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to comment. Again, thank you to everyone who takes the time to comment. The number of subscribers is 420 (to which some, not me, will say: Whoo-hoo!).

One column received more than 1000 views in a single week and another was viewed 1000 times in a single day. The two columns that got some attention are: “A tomar las armas compañeros” and “Pete Seeger, One Year Gone.” I woke one morning to the news that Pete Seeger’s Facebook page and Twitter account were featuring that particular column.

In December I wrote this about readers, about all of you (especially you, and you, and you, too):

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 do the following things: voluntarily send my résumé to some publication that I either admire or have never heard of but will act like I have always loved 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 hungry 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 hang out with [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 in this life. Those job interviews, many of them, are burned in my memory. Some of them are good anecdotes; I interviewed for a copy editor job at a porn magazine on Lexington Avenue once. Maybe I will write about that someday.
Of the 645 comments [now nearly 1000] given to this site, most have come from about a half-dozen individuals, none of whom I have (yet) met in person or even spoken with on the phone. Some readers have engaged with 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.

One more. A month ago, Lydia of A Lot from Lydia awarded this site the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you, Lydia. Without meaning to, I did the opposite of run to the podium and collect the thing; instead, it has taken me a month to publicly thank her. A whole month. Like I wrote above, I’m a dope.

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The WordPress Daily Prompt for March 9 asks, “You are receiving an award—either one that already exists, or a new one created just for you. What would the award be, why are you being honored, and what would you say in your acceptance speech?”


  1. wscottling · March 9, 2015

    I think I’d do much the same if I were to receive an award in real life… go up to the stage, grab the award and bolt back to my seat as quickly as possible. That’s if I could be dragged to a ceremony dinner (kicking and screaming the whole way) in the first place. I abhor those things. Ugh!

    Thanks for the mention!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. loisajay · March 9, 2015

    Mark–Lydia is one bad ass smart cookie who doesn’t give awards to dopes! Tell her she would look great with Colin and she will give you another award. 🙂 So I read your hyperlinks and cracked up at ‘the world needs to be more friendly, damn it!’ I love it! And yes, it does. So plaster that award on your website, damn it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TEG Diez · March 9, 2015

    Mark, this post was so inspiring. Thank you and congratulations!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · March 9, 2015

      Thank you. Shoot! You should have been included in the paragraph above, my abecedarian pal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TEG Diez · March 9, 2015

        😊 my aunt is a public school teacher in Ohio and she had her Spanish students write “sequencias abecedarias” as an assignment!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. lifelessons · March 10, 2015

    I really respect that you give us the whole ball of wax every time you post. No half-efforts here. Congrats on your newest award. Looks like you bolted again, then came back and did the “expected” thing…Thanks for the thanks…Judy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aldrich · March 10, 2015

      Thank you as always, Judy. I am not enjoying these “confessional” prompts as some are referring to them. I love and respect what you’ve been doing lately.


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  7. vermontbookworks · September 3, 2016

    Reblogged this on Vermont Book Works and commented:
    I liked your article and re-blogged.

    Vermont Book Works

    Liked by 1 person

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