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Update of various things, and various site/blog issues

Wednesday 11/4/20

Time for a round-up.


Here is a new piece of mine in the The Smart Set--a personal essay--as well as an arts essay--on identity, via Linus and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and Val Lewton's The Curse of the Cat People. This is an op-ed I wrote for The Wall Street Journal on Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" 200 years later.


I walked ten miles on Sunday, ran three on Monday. Yesterday I walked twelve miles and ran the Boston College stairs ten times. Had a nice pace on the stairs. Sent birthday cards to my sister and nephew. She said that her kids liked the little notes I wrote for them with their Halloween cards. I try to put a tiny special something in them. Here is last night's Downtown radio interview which covered Radiohead's Kid A--I should have mentioned the proposed Radiohead book I'm doing, so I screwed up that--and Lewton's The Body Snatcher, the Who's remarkable 1975 North American tour, and John Atkinson Grimshaw's November Moonlight.



I went to Cafe Vittoria yesterday--the inside portion, that is--for the first time since March and finished reading William Sloane's To Walk the Night again. At Vittoria you get Otis Redding, Frank Sinatra, the Everly Brothers, Ella Fitzgerald, and Elvis on the sound system, which is nice. Lots of good Christmas music in December, too.


Subscribers for this blog are still not getting email notifications for when there is a new post, despite the settings saying they are. Wix phoned me today after I filled out their form. They couldn't fix it, and had to "escalate" the issue, which I gather means send the problem along to someone else who may or may not provide assistance via email. I say this because in the past, I've just received an email that said next to nothing when this has happened.


For instance, you should be able to type in anything you wish with the site's search bar function, and if that word or words--maybe it's your name--has been mentioned anywhere in the blog, those individual posts will be pulled up immediately. I'm not sure if that is working now. It worked at first, stopped working, and then Wix did nothing to fix the problem, after the phone conversation and subsequent "escalating." If you can't search the blog this way, that's a problem.


To be honest, though, I find it so demoralizing that people seem utterly dependent upon getting those email notifications to read this blog. That's not how I want this site to go, or the blog to go. What I wanted to have happen is for people to understand that this site was a different kind of experience, especially so far as writer and artist sites go. I actually thought the email notifications would be annoying, but it was a matter of, well, you have to do them, right? They're really, in my view, designed for sites that are fairly static--maybe they update once a week, once a month, every few months.


There are days on here where there might be four or five new blog posts. I'd find that annoying to get four or five emails telling me that there was something new. And the sites that I personally like, which have new content, I just go to. They're my regular stops. My plan/hope was that people would quickly learn how this site and blog work, and just come here. Daily. Hang out. Read. Get the latest skinny of this quest. And everything else that goes along with that. See what was in the News section. Read the new published pieces. Listen to the new radio interviews. I found it strange and, again, demoralizing, that people have written to ask me if I still do this blog--given that they don't get updates--rather than just come to the site and see.


It's just not good. It's not working. And it's certainly not coming across and going over as I hoped it would, and as I've worked so hard to make it come across and go over. This blog alone is more than ten books' worth of material. I've worked so hard at it. And it's not being seen by nearly enough people. What is truly disturbing is that there can be something like that WSJ op-ed and somehow--and I don't understand this at all--both site and blog traffic will go down. That should be an impossibility.


I'm certainly not being critical of anyone. This simply isn't working as I need it to work, and it's not being understood as I need it to be understood for what it is. I'm not going to get anywhere without this site and this blog working as I need them to work. I have too much against me elsewhere. Everywhere else.


I mean, I learn things like my own mother--who knows my work ethic and productivity--didn't even go to this journal for months because she wasn't getting email notifications. Not enough people have subscribed anyway over these two years to really have that matter that much in terms of traffic, but it's a problem that should be fixed, but what I don't get is why those same people wouldn't assume there is lots of new content here--always. Don't you know me better than that? Who I am as an artist, a person, someone who produces? Who tries? Who shares, and tries to reach?


It also seems like some random, spam-y looking email went out to subscribers in late July, which I just saw today, and didn't write myself--there was like a $ sign in the title--and which I think caused some people to unsubscribe. I don't know if this occurred when I had that possible new webmaster--who seemed smart and normal when I "interviewed" her, then ghosted me--or what. If you get something weird from me--and hopefully you don't--I didn't send you something weird. I'm sorry about the lack of notifications lately. I don't know how long the problem has been going on. I don't really talk to anyone, with the whole totally alone thing. What's also confusing is some people seem to have gotten notifications recently--October 20--but others haven't for months.


I have been working on that story from Monday. It has been changing and getting figured out. I don't know how it's going. It's not clear enough for me to say yet. There's been a lot of heavy-lifting. I should get back to it.