Gosh, infamy at last!
According to the traffic-monitoring gizmo I use (Statcounter), I typically only get around 40 or 50 unique visitors each day here on Froogville (and slightly less on companion blog, Barstool Blues). As at 6pm today, I'd had very nearly 700 uniques in the last 3 days. Well, I always have a bit of a spike on Mondays, but..... yes, that is a huge jump in traffic.
Such is the power of The Duck! Veteran China blogger Richard Burger kindly recommended my frivolous post about China's online 'angry young men' brigade on his celebrated forum on Saturday.
I should be chuffed about the influx of new readers, and I am, I am, but.... well, I am also just a mite anxious. I've been writing my blogs for just over 2 years now, and I've always been quite content with a readership in the dozens - mostly personal friends, and a handful of random passers-by. I'm not sure that I want either the responsibility (of maintaining quality of posts, avoiding giving offence too much, monitoring comment threads and responding promptly to pertinent challenges or enquiries) or the potential hassle (of being overrun by freaks, loons, and dingbats) that comes with a wider readership.
I'm especially concerned about not attracting any fenqing types over here. When I want to play the fenwai and engage in some verbal fisticuffs with these guys, I go somewhere else - and I don't post my URL.
So, for any of those 700 first-time visitors who might possibly look in here again, and to any other newbies who might look in over the next few days, I thought I would try to set out what this blog is supposed to be about.
And, to adapt the immortal words of Jerry Seinfeld (or wasn't it actually George Costanza?): It's just a blog about nothing.
There is no theme. There is no purpose. There is no agenda.
It is purely and simply a 'hobby blog'. I thought it would be useful practice and self-discipline for me to try to force myself to write something on a daily or almost daily basis, and to try to write in as broad a range of styles and on as many diverse topics as possible.
Also, because of the demands of fitting such profuse production into an already rather overfull life, this tends to be a very unpremeditated blog. I try to write as quickly as possible. I very rarely plan anything out in advance (other than, occasionally, to try to keep in mind a topic I think is promising); I almost never do any substantive polishing or re-drafting (though I am a bit anal about checking for small stylistic inelegances or careless typos). I just sit down with a cup of coffee or a beer at some point in the day, and spend 40 or 50 minutes typing the first things that come into my head.
And what comes into my head, or out of it? Well, just about anything and everything. I wouldn't like to try and pin it down too much (I've always struggled with choosing 'categories' for my output).
This is not a humour blog; although I hope that the tone is generally light even when I am at my most serious; and I like to think that I have a few good jokes here and there.
This is not a 'China blog'; although, since I've been living here getting on for 7 years now, I do inevitably write about my experiences in this country from time to time.
This is not a political blog; although, again, I do have strong political views about many things, and may occasionally touch on them here; but most of the time I maintain a discreet silence about such things. Fenqing types, I think, will not find enough fuel for their indignation on here. Well, I hope not, anyway.
I like to think of this as primarily a literary blog - both in that I am concerned with the quality of my writing and am striving always to improve it, and in that favourite writers, books and poems (and films and songs) are amongst my most regular topics.
It is also a very personal blog - not just in the fragments of autobiography that I scatter through these posts, but in the self-examination I often conduct on here. I am a very meditative and philosophical person, and I like to think of my blog(s) - sometimes, at least - as a kind of spiritual journal. I imagine it can get a little too personal for many people: my writing here has been variously described as either "refreshingly honest" or "painfully frank".
Above all, I try to make my blogs a celebration of things I like - and that includes many aspects of life in China. (I have felt an uncanny affinity with China since my early childhood, and I may write more on this shortly, as I am about to pass the 15th anniversary of my first extended visit here - a major watershed in my life.)
However, since I am a frail human like everyone else, my blogs also occasionally serve as a place to vent about things that are pissing me off - and that too includes many aspects of life in China.
Overall, though, my blog-writing is very carefree, cheerful, frivolous, and superficial - and has fairly little to say about China or the Chinese government. So, if there are any fenqing (or fenwai) lurkers reading this, please move along. There's nothing for you here.