Last night I took a peek at my metrics and noticed that over the past few days, I’ve had a sudden spike of 100-300 more page views per day than I normally average. I took a closer look to figure out what was getting all the traffic, and I saw that all of it came from the same user.
Someone out there is reading my story. I mean really reading it, all 756 posts. She started at the beginning and is working her way up, post by post, through my life.
I didn’t notice how she managed to find her way here. Was one of my posts a search result and she got so sucked in that she had to see how it all started? Which angle of my life is it that keeps prompting her to click Next Post?
I feel like a character in someone’s good book that she can’t put down. As I am the author, I am flattered that someone is so gripped by my narrative that she’s spent literally hours a day here reading.
I can’t help but wonder, “Does she already know how the story ends?”
Ensconced within this blog, there is a long, sweeping saga for which the conclusion has been already been written. January 2008 – June 2011 is a story within my story. I follow Dear Reader’s activity in Statcounter and see titles of posts that I’d long-forgotten. I click in here and there to read along with her, and I find myself laughing at the memories. Or worse, crying because of them. I click away and return to the present. Reading words that I wrote when in the twist of such raw emotion shines away the welcome dullness that time and distance sometimes offers. The opaque memory is enough; reading takes me back to a clarity that I don’t need to experience again.
Dear Reader is about to enter January 2010. I know what happens next. I know how the story ends.
And I know how it continues, and how it changes into something different. I know why The Smart One became The Smartness. I know how a superwoman evolved into a gangsta.
As the author, I worry that my story as it exists today is not as important, not as intriguing as it was then. I sometimes feel like the narrative of my life is now meandering on without a distinct plot line, without a conflict clear enough to result in the cycles of rising actions and climaxes that hooks readers and keeps them following along.
And I wonder about my character. What is next for her? When I get right down to it, that is really what the theme of my past two years has been: what is next?
Unlike Dear Reader, I don’t have the luxury of turning the page to see what happens.
Even if I could, would I?
Dear Reader, please don’t let the fact that I know you’re here deter you from reading. I’m rather glad that you came. I hope you’ll say hello.