A Salute to 2016

First, the apologies. I am sorry that I have no preditioning talents, so I do not know what 2017 will bring. I can only hope that 2017 spares all of us any sadness that can not be understood, all pointless rage, or a further coarsening of attitudes into an blank-faced acceptance of hate.

I know that all of the above is not possible without work, and that all I can offer is some hope in my immediate neighborhood, which includes this website right here.

When I started this website in December 2013, no one on this planet was waiting to read what I had to write about anything at all. No one was holding their breath.

Thank you to more than 25,000 visitors to this website in 2016. You tallied up 43,000-plus visits this year, which strikes me as 42,999 more than I understand.

To me, these are huge numbers. And then I remember that last year I spoke with a professional writer who is breaking into digital journalism, and he told me what writers at the most popular, eyeball-centric, websites get paid per visit: $1.00 per 1000 views among the more generous sites. (Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, the brand names.) What this means is that my good year by my standards would make for a bad day by their standards. I would have earned less than thirty-four bucks in all of 2015. Forty-three this year.

I spent more than $34 on this website last year and again this year. And then I remind myself that I do this for free.

There is one other number, and it is one that means more to me than 33,997 (last year’s visits) and 43,000 combined: because I do not charge a subscription (and WordPress would not allow that anyway) and because this is a one-man operation (which is sometimes sadly obvious), 99.9% of the comments I receive are complimentary and direct and addressed to me personally. I strive to respond to each one, even if only with a thank you; I know I fail in that a lot of the time, however, and I will strive to do even better. Forty-three thousand visits is nice, but this publication is so personal that I probably have seen the names of most of the 43,000 visitors.

The most-visited article on this website in 2016 is a piece from April titled, “Inside Raif Badawi’s Prison Cell,” which was the first actual work of journalism I have produced in two decades. I have an anonymous source who was able to share some details, basic details, about the Saudi writer’s prison circumstances, and I published the only exclusive that I have yet produced. It was shared on Facebook 677 times, and in August human rights activist Bianca Jagger (yes, you have heard of her) shared it on Twitter.

I am a terrible name-dropper, I admit, but when one of the names that one can drop is “Bianca Jagger,” one drops it.

This was a good year, and a challenging year and I need to write more about it. I have been hiding in plain sight for much of the year. Another column …

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

Have a safe New Year’s Eve and a happy start to 2017.

The WordPress Daily Prompt for December 31 asks us to reflect on the word, “Hopeful.”

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Martha Kennedy · December 31, 2016

    I’ve been confused for most of the past year so “hiding in plain sight” makes perfect sense to me. I’m glad you’re here, Mark! Happy New Year!


  2. Windmills of My Mind · January 1, 2017

    Happy New Year


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