New Flophouse Address:

You will find all the posts, comments, and reading lists (old and some new ones I just published) here:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Flophouse Milestone: 250,000 Hits

Sometime last night the hit counter on my blog dashboard reached 250,000 hits.

I started the Flophouse back in 2008 for reasons that seem rather vague today.  I knew I wanted to write but I couldn't muster the effort to publish more than 3 or 4 posts a year.  That changed in 2011 when all of a sudden I started posting nearly every day.  From 30 km an hour to 200.  Something just clicked and I think it had everything to do with getting sober.  I know that we all dream Hemingway dreams but, for me, any creativity I possess was only unleashed after I put the genie back in the bottle and set it aside for good.

2012 was, depending on the point of view, my annus horribilis (terrible year) or my annus mirabilis (year of wonders).  I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer (three tumors and it had spread to the lymph nodes).  But, oh miracle, I got through the poison and the rays and came out on the other side with my sanity intact.  The blog was a big part of that.  I couldn't even walk at one point but I could always write no matter what else was going on.  Today there are over 750 posts on this blog on a wide range of subjects.

I've been told that I would get many more hits if I just focused better.  I'm sure they are right.  There is also the name of the blog - the Flophouse - which some people look at and and think, "ce n'est pas sérieux."  Fair enough.  Personally think I wasted many Life Credit Units taking myself way too seriously and what a relief it was to, as Pema Chodron puts it "lighten up."  As a result I don't plan what I write and there is no publishing schedule.  I just get up every morning and have at it.  If it's meant to be then something will present itself as the topic of the day and I do believe that this impulse does not come from me but from something outside of me.

Certain posts and some topics get more hits than others but, in a sense, it's completely irrelevant.  It's exactly like "sharing" at an AA meeting.  There is structure - you raise your hand, the speaker gives you a nod and you have so many minutes to talk without interruption - but what you say is up to you and comes from the deepest parts of your soul.  This exercise is not only good for you (gets things off your chest) but it's also good for others.  What you have to say just might be exactly what just one person in that room needs to hear that day.  It's service. I hope that this blog is like that.  Whether a post gets 5 or 500 hits doesn't matter as long as it served its purpose and reached at least one individual who really needed that information or those words at that moment.

As I look at the counter again I'm a bit astonished.  Some days I still can't believe that I have readers - I just don't have enough relatives to account for the 250,000 hits. And some of you I've come to know over the past couple of years through your comments, emails and snail mail letters.  You are  amazing - thoughtful and kind - and I am so fortunate that you came into my life.  Whatever you may get from this blog, believe me, you've given so much more - the gift of your time and your attention.

Frère David Steindl-Rast is, I think, fundamentally right when he says that happiness comes from gratitude. The unexpected kindness, support and generosity that comes from strangers who become friends is something I never imagined would come my way (especially in very dark times).

As 2013 winds down I am so grateful to be sober, to be alive, to have had the chance to know you, and to be right where I am in this chair, in this house, happily tickling the keys and publishing these words on my odd little blog. 

Best Christmas present ever.  


Ellen Lebelle said...

Really, Victoria, it's your readers who thank you. As you say, sometimes what you are saying is exactly what we need to hear or what we want to say, too.

Anonymous said...

I started reading your blogs because you write about the FATCA problems, but I continue, and enjoy reading, because you write so well about so many interesting subjects! And, as well, I can identify with so much of what you write, despite many differences. Also, it's such an eye-opener to discover that there are so many other long-term "expats" around! (46 years for me, in Israel)

Catherine - said...

Congratulations on that awesome number. And I'm so onboard with your philosophy of writing. In fact, I love the variety on this blog and that's why it's a treat in my day to stop by for a read. Variety is a wonderful thing.


Anonymous said...

Joyeux Noel! to you Victoria. I check in on your blog once a week to read any new posts. I started reading here because of fatca related items but have enjoyed many of your other posts on a variety of topics.

P. Moore said...

I found this blog a little over a year or so ago. I thought it was so interesting, I went back through the posts from the beginning. Now I stop by several times a week and keep up with whatever is being discussed. You have a problem now, are you ever gonna retire from this? You are building up too much of a following!
Congrats on the milestone. I think the next 250K hits will come faster.

Blaze said...

Felicitations Victoria. Did I spell that correctly?

Thank you for sharing your life, home, family, thoughts, challenges and joie de vivre with us.

Today I met a young woman from France who is attending university in Quebec. She is spending the Christmas holidays in Ontario with family who are friends of mine.

She told me she would love to move to this country for the peanut butter. The peanut butter that has her so stuck on Canada is Kraft Creamy, so there's nothing very Canadian about that.

I asked her what she thinks about poutine. She likes that (Yuk!), but it doesn't begin to compare to
Kraft Creamy.

I thought "I must tell Victoria."

What are the Frenchings' favourite things about Canada?

Just Me said...

Your LCUs have been very well spent on the Flophouse. Thanks for what you share. It was a delight both finding you, and meeting you, and I enjoy every post even if I don't always comment.

Very Merry Christmas to you..

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@Ellen, Thank you!

@Anonymous, I was surprised too. There are far more of us then I ever dreamed. I'm glad you like the eclectic nature of the Flophouse. I think I'd be bored very quickly (and you folks too) if the Flophouse just had one theme.

@Catherine, And thank you for liking the variety and saying so. Have you seen the Brain Pickings latest on books about creativity?
My "to read" list is becoming unmanageable! :-)

@Anonymous, Thank you for coming back. And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

@P. Moore, You read back to the beginning? Wow. Thank you so much. That is so good to hear - made my day.

Retire? It may happen that the universe will tell me one of these days, "Madame, you have said enough. Time to gracefully withdraw." But then the unvierse will present something else. We'll see how it goes. One day at a time.

@Blaze, that is so funny. I'm a fan of peanut butter too and real maple syrup. Let me ask the younger Frenchling about Canada when she arrives in a few days. I know that the elder FRenchling really likes the Canadian style of teaching at her university and much prefers it to the French method.

@Just Me, you are one of my gurus, guides, fellow travellers and friends. You are an inspiration. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Beth Gainer said...

Victoria, I found your post through Marie's weekly round up, and I'm really enjoying it. Congratulations on the enormous number of hits. I'm so glad I went on your site, and I admire your ability to write every day.

While I write on the cancer experience primarily, I do branch out to other topics, such as motherhood. I'd like my blog to have various topics, too.

Here's a link to a popular post on my blog: it is about body image and cancer.

Jayne said...

Congratulations for another milestone. If you count those of us who appreciate your emails every week, the number is even higher!

Marie Ennis said...

COngratulations! I know who special these milestones are, and how much it means to know that your words resonate with readers. I;ve been asked why I put things out there so publicly in a blog, why not just journal instead, but I believe we bloggers write to know we are not alone. We share our stories to connect with others, and in telling our stories we find healing in knowing we are heard. Here's to the next blogging milestone Victoria x

CarnetsdeSeattle said...

Very nice milestone and well deserved! Congrats!

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@Beth, that was a great post. Much food for thought there as I contemplate going in and kicking off my reconstruction.

@Jayne, Thank you! I don't actually know how many folks are subscribed - it would be interesting to know.

@Marie, Thank YOU for your truly remarkable blog. Yes, it's about stories and the book that I think really does a fine job of describing this impulse is Kurtz' The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning.

@Loic, and a very Merry Christmas to you. I hear there was SNOW in Seattle.

jlbf said...

Love this, thank you! As a new blogger you are inspiring, but I also appreciate your humbleness and focus on the content, which can be difficult, as the view count can be so intoxicating. Thought you might find my post about self validation interesting ( Again, thank you so much for your courage in writing!

Victoria FERAUGE said...

That is a BRILLIANT post. I especially loved this:

"If I can find the validation within myself, my self-worth isn’t tied to the success of the blog, or eventually the book. It isn’t tied to how many views the blog gets or the courage it takes for other’s to share it. It isn’t tied to the people who criticize the blog or who read it and don’t like it and don’t get it. It isn’t tied to the people I so wish would read it, because more than anything I feel like I need (but really want) their understanding and empathy."

That is it exactly. Thank you so much for sharing that.