Friday, July 11, 2008

Naked Ambition

I have been writing the blog for about nine months now, posting about 75 times. I hoped from the start to build its readership without any institutional affiliation--to approach this space with moral seriousness and see what happens. But the truth is, I don't really know what's happened. Standard blogging tools tell me that the blog has drawn something over 6000 "absolute unique visitors" during the past 6 weeks (and I confess that I love the idea of visitors being absolutely unique). But numbers can spike as a result of one especially widely read post, and the tools are rather impersonal.

So if you feel a certain loyalty to the blog, or would like to share an idea, I'd love to hear from you. You may write to a special purpose email address, (no hyperlink, alas; you must cut-and-paste). I'll interpret a blank email as a word of encouragement. And if you have not already done so, might this be a time to recommend the blog to someone you feel would appreciate it? (Subscription options are to the right.)

Meanwhile, I'm going to take off a week or so and swim as much as possible in the appropriately named Pleasant Lake. As a beach present, here is my favorite poem from Yehuda Amichai's glorious Open Closed Open. (The translation is by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld.)

Whoever puts on a tallis when he was young will never forget;
Taking it out of the soft velvet bag, opening the folded shawl,
Spreading it out, kissing the length of the neckband (embroidered
or trimmed in gold.) Then swinging it in a great swoop overhead
like a sky, a wedding canopy, a parachute. And then winding it
around his head as in hide-and-seek, wrapping
his whole body in it, close and slow, snuggling into it like the cocoon of a butterfly, then opening would-be wings to fly.
And why is the tallis striped and not checkered black-and-white
like a chessboard? Because squares are finite and hopeless.
Stripes come from infinity and to infinity they go
like airport runways where angels land and take off.
Whoever has put on a tallis will never forget.
When he comes out of a swimming pool or the sea,
he wraps himself in a large towel, spreads it out again
over his head, and again snuggles into it close and slow,
still shivering a little, and he laughs and blesses.


Leila said...

Hi Bernard - I don't work on building my blog hits particularly - however I have noticed I get spikes from several kinds of behavior:

1) commenting at well-read blogs. The more interesting the comment, the more "hits" I get.

2) attracting the attention of a well-read blog for some reason, generating a link.

3) Commenting on a hot-button news event. In the past during crises in Lebanon, if I blog the issue, I get lots of readers - for a time.

4) Belonging to aggregators. Again I have not worked to make this happen - some people do - but aggregators send traffic my way.

5) my archives. For some reason my food archives in particular generate a base-level of traffic all day, every day. People come to my site daily looking for Arabic food recipes, red lentil soup, kibbe, or Sephardic cooking. (??)

I will be happy to link to you again (generating at least a dozen hits for you, I'm sure!!!) but not when you're about to take a week off to go swimming! People like to read new content. I don't feel compelled to write something new every day, but if you want regular readers and daily hits, you have to post regularly.

And by the way, I think it's a good thing to take a week off to swim. It's all about timing. I'll link later in the summer when you're posting more.

The more posts, the more hits. If you post four times in one day, you will get more hits than if you post once a day.

If you post controversial material you will get more hits. I try not to post with an eye to "what will generate more hits." However when I posted about bare-breasted peace protesters in San Francisco, of course my hit counts spiked like crazy. Breast Not Bombs is still a popular search term.

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