A comment on comments

In yesterday’s post, I linked THIS<<link post and my sister AnnMarie mentioned how nice it was to see multiple comments. I went back and counted . . . there were 16 unique individuals leaving comments.

It’s something I’ve also noted as I occasionally go back and read old posts. Namely, there used to be more people leaving comments as late as four years ago than this year. To be clear, the slowdown started sometime in the last three years and it has now reached a point where I can expect comments from a maximum of two, maybe three people leaving a comment, and it’s the same two or three people.

Most of the readers who at one time I considered “regulars” are no more. I don’t mean they’ve died (although — sadly — a few have, and they are deeply missed). I mean they no longer seem active in the blogging community. Some have blogs that have gone dormant without explanation, and some indicated their focus and interests have shifted.

Some are still around, but they don’t interact as much. They also don’t post as much, so there’s less chance to initiate any type of interaction.

As I mentioned to AnnMarie, it may be that I’ve finally perfected the art of alienating people (my secondary motto, after all, is “winning enemies and alienating friends since 1953“).

Coincidentally, just today, someone asked me if I felt OK. I answer “yes, why?” and they said that I’m not the same as I used to be. I kind of blew it off, joking that I’m older and that no one is how they used to be, but then I thought about it.

I mean, I don’t feel different, even as the world has drastically changed in the last three years. I still think I’m basically irreverent in an annoying but occasionally endearing way. But, if the truth were to be told, when I read older posts, the persona I’m reading does seem a bit different. The writing is looser, there are more jokes, there’s a level — and type — of cleverness I don’t see in my current posts.

Mind you, it’s not that I don’t think I can write like that, but rather that I don’t do it as often. What does “like that” mean? Bolder, more dynamic . . . panoramic, even. Current posts — including this one — seem dryer, duller.

I don’t feel any different . . . but I can plainly see I rarely have visitors interact, whereas that used to be a semi-regular occurrence. Mind you, I’m not complaining (so, no need to feel bad for me or tell me to ‘keep my chin up!’ . . . besides, that would hurt my neck) because I also think readers have changed . . . they face the same obstreperous world that I do, and it can weigh on a person.

Or, it could be that we’ve all changed. There’s more anger in the world, yes, but also a feeling of hopelessness, a dread of having lost control of one’s life (even if all along it was just an illusion of control). Big things are happening; things that are difficult to comprehend on their own, but that are even more difficult to understand in the context of their effect on the world.

Because, that’s the thing . . . even little news items are — these days — presented as if disproportionally important to the fate of humanity itself. With such distorting force pressing on our subconscious, regular stuff (like maintaining a blog or even just commenting on a blog) seems like a waste of time, meaningless, and not worthy of our attention.

Or, when it comes to my blog and commenting on it, it’s not all that interesting and hence people have nothing to say. And, that’s fine. I’d rather have no comment than a forced comment (I can usually perceive perfunctory versus genuine comments/interest.

Which, maybe, begs another question … was I ever that interesting? A lot of the then-regular readers who interacted were bloggers who started their blogs around the same time I did, and we connected on mutual interests (writing and photography). It could be they found more interesting blogs, or I so scarred them that they just gave up and are now happy just sitting in their rocking chair eating tapioca pudding. Yay me! I done changed people’s lives!

Or, maybe, I stopped offering what interested them (commentaries and thoughts about photography and writing). I wonder because it’s been a while since I’ve written anything about the writing craft itself. Certainly, not as many how-to posts about either photography or writing.

One other possibility has occurred to me . . . there is a redundancy in my posts . . . meaning, the same-birds-different-months, or the same-flowers-different-month year after year. Perhaps I now lack the originality of a few years ago (hardly anything unique here in the grand land of Illinois).

Maybe WordPress is onto something as it strives to offer options most of us will never use . . . they figured out you either keep making life more interesting, or people will lose interest.

Maybe an ornate post is just what I need to revamp interest in my writing, be it fiction or not.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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