The blog year in review

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The (almost) end to the weeks, months and years of anxiety that have dogged us through the demoralizing and dangerous Trump years is well-timed for me. This is my 52nd posting on this site, a full year of entries to review and to ponder what they amount to and how they do and don’t intersect with one of the most consequential years in our history. The brain space is now available for such an examination

In the introductory posting on November 15th, I said that I was approaching the blog as a skeptic, only an occasional reader of the vast universe of blogs myself, but that I hoped they would serve two personal purposes: to serve as a platform on which some of my previous unpublished writings could appear and as a stimulus for new writing:

               “I look forward to the chance to mix the writings already residing in my granary with new reflections, inspired by the knowledge that I have a place on the wall of the town square, content in the knowledge that some passing townsmen or townswomen will stop to take note.”

The question of how many passersby are taking note is an interesting one. I have a friend whose reputation translates into thousands of responses when he posts online. For me, that number is closer to 20 or 25. I know from random conversations that many others appear to be reading my weekly postings, but, exciting as it would be to have an audience of thousands, that’s not what motivated me to begin this journey. I am content with numbers more like what poets aspire to, rather than novelists. My reward comes from knowing that pieces that lay dormant in my computer for years are now publicly accessible and from the fact that I’ve been motivated to write every single week. I had no idea when I started how important this was going to be once we entered the Land of Covid. The postings have given me a sense of purpose and a way of cutting through the isolation that has bedeviled so many of us during these seemingly never-ending months.

One more point about readership. It’s hardly surprising that my most frequently read pieces are the shortest. A one-pager like this one will be more easily and readily read and responded to than some of what I think of as more “substantial,” which have run as long as 17 or 18 pages. I invite some of you who are reading this piece to look back at the entries about my former student Kia or the two teacher portraits of Alex and Kimberly when your busy lives allow. When you encounter pieces like these, initially the tendency is to put them aside for future reading, just as you do with emails that you know are going to require a serious investment of response time. Those languish in your mailbox as you knock off the ones you can respond to in three sentences.

Next week I begin a second journey around the sun. To those of you who have been regular readers and to those who have dipped in occasionally, thank you for your kind comments and the personal connections you’ve made to my writings. They’re the jet fuel that keeps me aloft. If you’re tired of my postings cluttering up your mailbox every Monday, let me know and I’ll take you off my list. Believe me, I understand.

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Marv Hoffman

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