Sometimes I'm Just A Miserable ****
05 December 2011
A weird thing happened on the website last week. And when I say "the website", I'm not talking like an old person when they say something like, "oh, can you check on the website" about absolutely anything, as if there's only the one website in existence containing all the information that anyone might require in the whole world.
I mean this website.
It's a sleepy place. Not many people come here. I quite like that about it. It's mine, I make shit up, I write what I like, when I'm creatively challenged and can't write for biscuits, I fiddle about with the graphics and give it a shiny new look. Every now and again someone leaves a comment, and I get to read it first and decide whether to post it.
On an average day I'll get about 30 - 40 visitors. I know, I know... Big sites, like Amazon and the BBC, must get double that.
Less than 30: well that constitutes a really, really shit day, and if it combines - as it often does - with catastrophically bad book sales, then it's likely to have me staring numbly into the dark heart of the most bitter melancholy and despair; the type of day when I would chuck this all in, if only I could think the fuck of something else to do.
Over 40: well, no one's getting excited, but it's quite nice I suppose.
One day last week I logged on to find that just under 350 people had visited the site in the middle of the night. (That's the weird thing that I alluded to in the first line.) At first I presumed it was due to some sort of robotic/spider search type thing, albeit I know the statistics are designed to ignore these. A closer check, however, revealed that several hundred people had been reading my blog from a couple of months ago on whether Alanis Morissette or Adele had written the bigger psycho song.
What was weirder than the fact that so many people had come from nowhere to read the blog was my immediate reaction to it. I thought:
oh God, here we go… They've discovered it. My little secret. I'll have fucking all sorts on here now.
Because, no mistake, there are a lot of weird, fucked up people in the world, and most of them spend time posting comments on websites because they've nothing else to do.
(Many of the people who post comments on websites can also vote. That's why democracy is not all it's cracked up to be.)
But then, what the fuck am I doing? I'm not some gentleman writer, rolling in cash, just doing this to give me something to do. I need people to come here. I need them to think, never heard of this bloke, I think I'll just buy eight of his books to get a better feel for the kind of thing he writes. Isn't that why writers blog? We're shouting:
Me! Me! Look at me! Over here! I'm funny! Me! Pick me! Pick me!
There have been enough times when I've written something that I thought was the work of the comedy gods, and it's been read by the usual 37.5 readers, and I've thought:
Bloody hell, that was worth more than that. Come on World, there are billions of you on the internet…
Then when it started to happen, my heart sank and I began to stress about people reading my opinion.
I needn't have worried. The blog never went viral; the rush of visitors slowed, and was back to its sleepy normal two days later; no one posted an odious comment protesting Adele's sanity and saying I deserved to die; no one bought a book; no one followed me on Twitter; no one, it seems, bothered to come back the next day.
And so, having been depressed that it started, I could move easily on to being depressed that it was over and that it had had no effect.
Sometimes I'm just a miserable cunt.