Henry David Thoreau said the man who goes “constantly and desperately to the post-office … has not heard from himself this long while.”
And so it is with a blogger, checking his traffic. Light traffic is disappointing, heavy traffic is thin gruel—and after eight years of daily posts, traffic patterns are predictable and not terribly instructive.
One bit of excitement comes when by checking the “Referring Address” details, I occasionally note that some single person gorged on a bunch of my posts in a single sitting, over the course of an hour or more.
Who could it have been? Typepad offers no clue. And so every time, I am forced to consider the whole range of possibilities:
• David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, on a desperate late-night search for fresh talent, realizes he has just discovered his own E.B. White. Remnick hasn’t reached out to me quite yet, because he hasn’t figured out a way to break the bad news to Ian Frazier.
• Kate Upton, wondering what a real man writes like.*
• A new business contact has stumbled onto Writing Boots, and is just blown away by my depth and humor, and decides that doing business with me is definitely a good idea.
• A family member or a friend who has been too busy to read the blog, is catching up on the latest posts with pleasure because it’s almost like having me in the room.
• A family member or a friend who will soon be a guest in my home is catching up on the blog out of a sense of duty.
• An old person somewhere is in too much pain to sleep.
• The programmer of a bot from Ukraine mistook “Boots” for “Boobs.”
• I am about to be sued for some reason, and a paralegal has been instructed to scour all 2,600 posts I’ve ever written to establish a pattern of asshole-ism. (After reading about a dozen posts, the paralegal feels he’s got more than enough material.)
• I drank a fifth of Old Overholt last night and sat with my laptop, clicking on my posts and cackling at my own prose, until I cried myself to sleep.
In the end, it does not matter. In the end, a writer responds to success or failure, obscurity or fame of any size by doing one thing—more writing.
* (This item added this afternoon, by my ghostwriter.)