One year* anniversary
It's my one-year blog anniversary. Sort of. Kind of.
Why the asterisk? Although the first day I ever posted on this blog was nominally almost exactly a year ago--September 16, 2004--I wrote very little for the first five months.
To tell the truth, starting the blog wasn't even my idea. I'd been reading blogs and commenting on them for about two years, and that was more than enough for me. But when my son was up for a visit he suggested I start a blog of my own, since I was already spending so much time writing comments and letters to other blogs.
My first reaction was a vehement "No way." I craved neither the spotlight nor the amount of work it would take. But my son said it was really easy to set one up; he'd even do it for me. And I didn't have to ever actually post on it--but it would be there waiting for me, just in case.
He went to Blogger and showed me the templates, and to humor him (and to shut him up) I chose one. It was all done in a minute or two, and when he asked me what I wanted to call it I thought of "neophyte neocon." But he pronounced that too long (I agreed) and suggested "neo-neocon." So "neo-neocon" it was.
I didn't much care. It was all quite irrelevant, since of course it would only be seen by me and by him and perhaps one or two other people on earth.
Here's my first post, in its entirety: A test to see whether everything's in order, blogwise. I didn't post again for twelve days, and in those first few posts I'd not even figured out how to do a link. In September there were a grand total of two posts, in October a whopping four, then one in November and two in December (the election had exhausted me). I had a huge surge in January with six.
Then in February something happened. I'm not sure why, but suddenly I was writing more. I had installed a sitemeter during the last week of January, and it was sobering to see the tiniest of trickles. In late February it occurred to me that if I was doing this anyway, why not experiment and see if I could actually get some readers?
Despite the casualness of my start, I did have an idea for my blog, even from the first. I was determined to tell the story of my political change, the tale that my friends and family didn't want to hear. I wanted to provide a forum for people who had similar stories to come and compare notes. I wanted to write about whatever else I wanted to write about.
So in late February I sent out a couple of e-mails introducing myself and my blog to a very small group of bloggers I considered simpatico.
I immediately was on the receiving end of kindness and got a couple of links. The traffic started climbing, the links kept coming, and the rest is history, of a sort. There are so many people to thank along the way that it's probably easier to say thanks to 75% of my blogroll rather than to list them all--but a special thanks to Dr. Sanity, Vietpundit, and Norm Geras, who, whether they know it or not, I consider my original blogmother and blogfathers. Then there are Roger Simon and Austin Bay and and Michael Totten and Clive Davis and Dean Esmay and Dymphna and the Baron and...well, as I said, take a look at my blogroll.
And of course I want to thank all of the readers and commenters here. I've been very gratified at the uniformly high caliber of the comments--I think it's worth coming just for those alone. After all, I know I'm not everybody's cup of tea--for one thing, I tend to specialize in the long essay rather than the short and snappy, and for another thing, well--I'll just reiterate that I'm not everybody's cup of tea (or, as one commenter here famously wrote, "one of the most painfully boring blogs of all times").
Writing this blog has been hard work, but it's been wonderful.
One of the best things about blogging is seeing readers come here from all over the world. I hadn't known what tales a sitemeter could tell until I had one of my own, so it was wondrous to me when I first saw sights such as this typical one, representing a random snapshot of the time zones of recent readers :
or this one, of the countries of recent visitors:
So welcome to my blog, and welcome to my first anniversary party. The cake will have to be virtual, but at least it won't be fattening: