Wow, time files. Fifty two consecutive weekly blog posts later, here we are. Where it is that we are, well, that will take a little more time to figure out. But wherever “here” is, that’s the place.
When I began this project, I was having trouble coming up with a focus. If you have been reading for awhile, you can probably see that I still am having that struggle. I suppose that the topics covered here mimic the pathways of my sometimes difficult-to-focus brain as they jump from this topic to that one. The only constant is that all of these topics interest me. So at least there is one of us who is completely pleased with the scope of things here.
When I started out, my basic rule was that I wanted to keep things interesting. Not by being a provocateur, but by writing about interesting things in an interesting way. In other words, your time is valuable and I don’t want to waste it. There is too much boring and shallow writing out there, so none of us needs one more place to find it. Overall, I think I have succeeded, although my opinion of this is not nearly as important as yours. And I hope I am not breaking that rule today.
Conventional wisdom says that we should never discuss religion or politics, and I have broken both rules. I have ventured into some pretty deep political waters once or thrice. My rule there is that I will only go there when I can come at it from an angle that is not being beaten to death elsewhere, and when I can do so in a spirit of civility and charity towards those who don’t agree with me. This has also been my rule when diving into matters of faith. I make no secret here that I am a Catholic, and I have tried to use this space to give readers a little insight into Catholic beliefs and practices, things that you are not likely to pick up from your other casual reading.
My mental meanderings have also taken me some places that I had not intended to go. A couple of my stories have been deeply personal ones, and those are not easy for me to write. I also find myself drawn to some of life’s absurdities and have gone there more often than I had expected at the outset. The pieces on old jazz music have been the most lightly visited, but that won’t stop me from going back there when the mood strikes. I guess I’m just not listening to enough music lately.
There is a big gaping hole here – but on purpose. I love cars, particularly old ones. I cut my blogging chops on Curbside Classic, where I have been accorded total editorial freedom to say what I want to say on whatever topics I might choose. And because that site does such a great job on the subject of old cars (and with levels of readership that I can only dream about here), I have no desire to try to bring that writing under this banner. Some of you have followed me from there to here, and I hope that others will follow me from here to there. My one regret has been that my output at CC has tapered off. Self-imposed deadlines can do that. Well, that and having a job, a Mrs., a family, a house, a yard, and . . . you get the idea.
The Friday morning deadline for a new weekly piece has worked fairly well for me, and I hope that it has for readers as well. Besides, nobody is in a mood to get to work right away on a Friday morning, so perhaps this makes it easier to bite into one of the relatively lengthy pieces that are featured here.
So, why do I keep doing this? A good question. I like to think that I would keep this up if nobody read it at all, but I’m not sure that this is true. There are less time-consuming ways to keep a journal, and I am honest enough with myself to admit that I enjoy that others keep coming back to see what I have to say. I have promised myself that when I sit at a blank screen at 7 pm on a Thursday night, it will be time to hang things up. I am happy to report that I am not in that place. I have several pieces in various stages of partly-written and several other ideas bouncing about between my ears for more.
A couple of final thoughts. First, I have been quite happy with the pace at which this modest little effort has grown. With no promotion other than a notification to friends on social media, things have progressed to where I will typically see maybe a hundred page views every week, and have approached or broken three hundred a couple of times. Things have gone well enough that when I type J P Cavanaugh in a Google search bar, this blog is at or near the top of the search results. So there’s that.
I have really been surprised by where those views come from, with page views coming from fifty countries outside the U.S. this year. Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Denmark make up the top five foreign countries for 2016 page views. This kind of foreign exposure makes a corn-fed Indiana boy feel mighty multi-cultural. Maybe those ten page views from Denmark were an accident, but maybe they were not.
Also, I really do enjoy reading the comments that you leave in response to what I have written, so don’t be shy. My page is set to require managerial approval for your first comment, so if you make one and it does not show up immediately, it is because I have not had time to see it. The only rule for comments is that they stay inside the lines in matters of good attitude and good taste. I am cool with people who disagree on me (wrong though they may be) so long as they are as respectful of my thoughts and opinions as I have tried to be with theirs. Feedback is important, and don’t we all prefer conversations to monologues?
So, there you have it. Year One is in the books and we begin Year Two right now. I am glad you stopped by, and I hope to see you again next week, when we shall resume our regularly scheduled programming. Thanks for reading!