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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Flophouse Milestone: 400,000 hits

A few days ago the hit counter on my blog dashboard reached 400,000 hits.  (That is the total number of hits received over the years the Flophouse has been in existence.)

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 a few posts a year. That changed in 2011 when all of a sudden I found my voice and started posting nearly every day.

Something that year just clicked and I think it had everything to do with getting sober and realizing that I had, more or less by accident, become a Lapsed Agnostic. 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 your 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. 

 Today there are nearly 900 posts on this blog on a wide range of subjects:  Crossing Cultures, Cancer, Citizenship and, of course, the American Diaspora Tax War.  Two of the most popular posts are about two very different topics:  bi-cultural marriages and my Godin woodstove.  Go figure.

I'm told (often) that I would get many more hits if I just focused better. I'm sure they are right.  The only answer I can give is this:  I was on my way out of this world and for some inexplicable reason, I am still here - more time bestowed on me by a benevolent universe.  I don't think that this was for my benefit (and it sure as hell wasn't a reward for virtuous living). I think it's because I still have work to do.  Discerning what that work is and getting out there and doing it is my purpose.

So 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.  If not, I gently let it go and go about my day.  I believe that this impulse does not come from me but from something outside of me.  Dante Deo.

Certain posts and some topics get more hits than others but that's completely irrelevant. It's 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 5,000 hits, it doesn't matter as long as it has served.

Some days I still can't believe that I have readers - I just don't have enough relatives to account for  400,000 hits. Some of you I've come to know over the past couple of years through your comments, emails and snail mail letters.  More recently, I've walked into meeting rooms, restaurants and halls and met some of you in person. You have no idea how much joy I get from those encounters or seeing your missives in my mailboxes.  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. 

Thank you. 


Inaka Nezumi said...

Your writings on the Diaspota Tax War have been some of the most articulate and motivational I have read. I can honestly say that writings have at times actually inspired me to get off my butt and do something at times when I have felt like throwing in the towel.

I'm sure God has higher ambitions for you than motivating my lazy butt, but do continue!

Inaka Nezumi said...

"Diaspota" -> "Diaspora"
"that writings" -> "that your writings"

(Clearly not cut out to be a blog writer myself!)

P. Moore said...

I stop by the Flophouse regularly on-line. Its a great place to drop in.
Don't ever shut the place down!!

Ellen Lebelle said...

You've got lots and lots of friends from this blog -- all happy to meet you when they get the chance. Congratulations on passing 400000 and now on to half a million!

Laure said...

Thank you for writing. No matter what the topic of the day is, I'm happy to find the Flophouse in my RSS reader !

Rowan said...

Glad you're still around and speaking your prolific truth. Enquiring minds want to know: How fast do you type?

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've commented before, but I've been reading now for about a year (I found you via The Isaac Brock Society). Congratulations on the milestone, and thank you so much for the wonderful writing. A definite service, for many of us trying to find our way in this crazy new world.

And all the best on the upcoming move. Will be interesting to read your thoughts on, and from, your new home!


Anonymous said...

Congrats on reaching this blogging milestone! Please don't focus - part of what I like about your blog is the interesting mix of topics (citizenship, migration, tax policy and personal life). I think blog focused on any one of those topics would be less interesting to me than this pleasant mixture. Keep up the great blogging! -Kristin from BC

Catherine said...

Congratulations to you on 400,000 hits. I love reading about your blogging philosophy. To blog is to release - and, as you say, it's such a good thing, 5 readers or 5000 :)

Thank you for your writing. I relate in many different ways.

LKY said...

Thanks Victoria,

I love all your stories about your garden, travel, FATCA, books.
I believe we can beat FATCA as it is intrinsically wrong. No one should spend so much time and money with lawyers and accountants to please Big Brother.

Marina said...

Victoria, Congratulations on the milestone! I too love the mix of subjects. That's the way life is. As we're really not too far away from one another, let's get together before the year is out!

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Thank you, everyone. It feels like a birthday - one of those important ones like turning 21 (or 50 which will happen next year).

I'm really happy that you folks don't mind the eclectic nature of the topics here. I don't think I would enjoy writing about just one topic all the time.

I type pretty fast, Rowan, but not as fast as I read. Just finished a book of George Orwell's essays. This is one to read (or re-read). I think his work was wasted on me when I was in my 20's. But he's a good one to read right now for all kinds of reasons.

Thank you Ira and others for finding what I write here worthy of passing along. I try to be as thoughtful as I can while still expressing a strong opinion. Sometimes gentle mockery ("isn't this ridiculous?") is very effective in getting one's point across, as is just exposing the unfortunate fact that one person's "progress" is another person's purgatory - that something designed to catch the 1% has instead turned itself toward easier prey - the 99%. That needs to be pointed out by as many people as possible.

Time for another cup of coffee. I've managed to get some good reading done in the past week or so. Feeling a tug to talk about them. I went for some books that I had a visceral aversion to and was pleasantly surprised when I actually made myself read them.

Have a great day (and weekend), folks.


bubblebustin said...

Focus? Keep writing what inspires you, and you'll always be a 'hit' with me, Victoria. What I like is how you often respond to people's comments. It's not expected, so it's really nice when you do. Thank you and congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Pretty amazing blog and community that you have created. Congrats!

Rhodri C. Williams said...

Hi Victoria, congrats on 400K! You have a wonderful voice, melodious but with a salutary sting in its tail. Keep up the good work. I'm sorry we have never had the pleasure of actually meeting but I always refer people to the blog of 'a friend of mine in Paris'.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@bubblebustin, Good to see you here! I'll be in Canada in about a week (Montreal). Any chance you'll be in the area?

I try very ahrd to keep up with the comments and to respond. It was easier when I had moderation enabled because then I received an email every time someone left a note. Now I have to make myself remember to check and every so often I miss something - in particular when it's an older post. So....

Bear with me folks. And if you have left something and don't see a reply, feel free to give me a heads-up by leaving a comment in a more recent post so I am sure to see it.

@Andrew and Rhodri, Right back at you. I really enjoy both your blogs.

Community - yes that's what makes these virtual places meaningful to people. And a blog does not stand alone - it becomes a part of a network, a web of connections. Those are the things that make a blog "successful" - when it becomes part of something larger.

At least that is what I learned from this fellow:

And I really recommend his book Vitual Communities

Allou said...

I chanced upon your blog via IBS - two fortunate events of serendipity. Your presence shines through the topics you reflect on - and brings a warm and caring thoughtfulness. I always enjoy reading your thoughts, and often the comments too. Congratulations on passing the 400K post - and please keep on whatever the topic!

bubblebustin said...

Darn, was just there for my mother-in-law's 100th birthday and not planning to go back for a few months...have a great time and prepare yourself for any weather in October!

DL NELSON said...

My blog is eclectic too. I started it as a warm up writing exercise for my fiction. but it became anything I wanted it to be: a short story, a series of jokes about stuffed animals for my daughter, political observations, letters to the NSA, FATCA, happy experiences, sad experiences...I am glad when I get a lot of hits, but I write for me and my close friends. Everything else is extra. I love your variety.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@allou, Thank you! I try very hard to engage brain before hitting the keyboard. :-)

@bubblebustin, Well, damn! Hopefully the stars will align one of these days. I'm thinking maybe Seattle next year? Osaka - Seattle is not such a long trip...

@Donna, Oh I like that idea - a "warm up" for writing. A blog is really a fantastic way to stretch as a writer because you can do as you like and you own your own words. One type of post I find very difficult and that is the book review. I am always dissatisfied with what I write - it does not come naturally.

Never tried fiction but I'd like to and one of my goals in Japan is to give it a try while I have a room of my own and 500 pounds a year. Frankly I'm afraid of it. Any particular blog posts you could point me to that might help?