Tonight, Other Men's Flowers marches (staggers? crawls?) into its ninth year, having since January 2004 amassed (garnered? spewed?) 347,768 words in 1,213 posts, with 598 pictures, 1,290 links and 1,852 comments (not counting comment spam).
I know a dozen people who read every word of the blog, and there are perhaps a hundred more who glance at it from time to time. This is quite enough for me and the figure of 237,091 page views logged by one of my counters over the past eight years is of no interest, since the great majority of visitors will have stumbled on OMF when looking for something else, and there is no reason to suppose that more than a handful actually read any of it; I do not labour under the delusion that I am reaching out to a planet-wide community.
So why do I bother?
Well, actually, maintaining the thing is really no bother: I am committed only to publishing five or six posts a month (used to be fifteen) of any length, in any style and on any topic, and if I sometimes don't quite make it no-one will care or even notice. Also, only about 60% of the content is actually written by me: the rest is plagiarised or merely pasted wholesale from books, newspapers or elsewhere on the web, so there is no stress and little sweat involved.
The benefits to me are substantial:
First, it gives me something to do; Other Men's Flowers, a couple of websites and nine other blogs (rarely updated) keep me happily occupied and I am never bored.
Second, it brings me acquaintanceship with an extraordinary variety of people around the world: I never feel lonely.
Third, it is a modest intellectual exercise, helping to keep the mind alive.
Finally, after a few hours at the keyboard I have a sense of achievement, much more than I get from any of my other major activities such as emptying the dishwasher or watching old movies. I have done something, even if it was only drafting a paragraph of a post which I later decide is not worth publishing.
Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR to everybody. Fat chance, we are told.