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A word about email notifications, which are now basically nonexistent

Thursday 10/19/23

Yesterday I saw an email that had come in almost a couple weeks ago, informing me that I was out of notification emails for this site for this month, meaning the emails that go out with each update for this record (and, in theory, newsletters for things being published, books coming out, etc., though there has never been one of those, which is among the many things I need to tend to/rectify).

Why there is now a monthly allotment, I do not know. The notification emails were never useful and have always created problems because if a person goes three emails without opening an email--that is, before they receive a fourth--the site host automatically stops sending those notification emails, which is something I have no control over, and unsubscribes you on its own. That's draconian, right? One can resubscribe, but the same thing is just going to happen again in all probability.

So, if you don't come here on a random Wednesday, chances are you'll be unsubscribed. Or, if I am up like I'm normally up at four in the morning and four entries go up in this journal before seven in the morning--which is entirely possible--then the person who was asleep because they keep normal hours will be unsubscribed without their choosing or knowledge that they were unsubscribed or reason to suspect they were (because what would work in such a counterintuitive way, right?), though most who do subscribe unsubscribe on their own anyway because they tend to sign up after having read something I wrote on film or jazz or sports and thinking this will be your garden variety film or jazz or sports blog, and it is none of those things. This is a work of the deepest humanity. Film and jazz and sports are in there, but I'm not some journalist with a once-a-fortnight post that anyone else versed in that field could have done. Or really anyone, for that matter, if they wished to.

Whereas, the people who read these pages the most are normally people who just come here because they know what this record is and that chances are any time they visit there will be something new, even if their last visit was the day before. For this is the actual longest such record in human history and also the longest sustained artistic work comprised of words. That is a fact.

It is true, though, that people often don't want to read about someone doing much, and working hard, and never stopping, and knowing and learning and growing, because they measure that against what they're doing, and it doesn't make them feel good. If one thinks they should exercise more--something that simple--and feels bad because they don't, they're not going to want to read about me lambasting myself for only running 13,000 stairs last week, are they? And that's exercise, the simplest, most replicatable thing, in theory, in these pages. If one calls one's self an author, never writes anything, struggles to think of anything they might ever write, and has a deep-seated fear of the blank page, they're probably not going to want to read about someone writing 7000 words a day, right? And on and on.

And what I've discovered, too, is that someone can know me, they can know this record, and if they don't get those emails, they'll conclude more often than not that there's just nothing new in these pages. For weeks. Months. Which beggars belief, really, but that's how we are now. They could just check, which is a simple matter of letting autofill do it's thing in the URL field. Usually, though, it takes quite a while for it to occur to them that they should do so. And these can be ardent readers of what I write ordinarily. Including people I'm about to send a new story to via email probably this morning.

But the email notifications are now virtually useless, because even if you're someone who somehow never goes three emails without clicking on one, you won't be getting any notifications anyway because I blow through that allotted quota in mere days, apparently.

The world is oriented to doing less and less. To knowing less and less. Trying less and less. Producing less and less. If one goes on any other blog--a term I try not to use for what this journal is--they'll note how little is written. And it is always the same. A person writes about A, and they write about nothing but A. On Substack, people pay for other people to write about one thing, not well, and bore them, which is one of the depressing mysteries--though perhaps it's not so very mysterious--of our time.

But essentially, nothing is built or designed--certainly at this point in the world--to keep up with my productivity. There are times when things are so hard that I can't even take to these pages, and other times when I'm just not in them for other reasons, and on several occasions I believe I've gone five or six days--perhaps even a week--between entries. But that's not the norm, certainly.

A person, on their own--a concept that is increasingly foreign these days--would just have to think, "I'm going to go to that journal and see what is new," without a reminder being jammed in front of their face, which, frankly, is what almost everyone needs in this world in order to do anything. But I think there's something to be done about that--or I hope so, anyway--and this record can play a part. You just have to come here on your own if you want to read what's here, which need not be a bad thing and really how it should work anyway.


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