Saturday, November 25, 2006

More fun with sitemeters: reading in Tehran

When I first started my blog one of the main attractions was to click on my sitemeter. It was astounding for me to see that anyone was reading here at all, and to watch the numbers climb was satisfying. There was a time when 100 visitors in a day seemed a richness beyond measure. Viewing the breakdown of countries from which they came was an occasion for more awe: someone in Japan, reading my blog? Australia, India, Kuwait?

Now, of course, I'm somewhat jaded. But never totally so; it still seems a wonderful and almost magical thing that people from all over the world can come to read the words I type (excuse me: keyboard) onto a computer in a little room on the second floor of a house in a moderate-sized town in northern New England. I'm often alone when I write and when I hit that "publish post" button. But I'm never really alone at all.

The other night I took a glance at the country distribution on my sitemeter. I hadn't done that in a long time. What I found was a typical late-night spread here:

I noticed the one from Iran especially. I've found in the past that this sort of visitor is usually--although certainly not always--the result of a Google search.

So, what had brought this particular visitor to my blog? Perhaps, I thought, it was my series on the Iranian revolution, a hefty three-parter? Or my post on Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran?

No, no, a thousand times no. It was a search for discussion of Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken," which had led to this post of mine.

So, not Lolita in Tehran, but the quintessential New England poet Robert Frost in Tehran. Somehow, that made me very happy. Call me a cultural imperialist if you wish (and I'm sure some of you will wish), but I like to think that people everywhere have the same basic underlying makeup, and the same response to beauty and the truths expressed in great literature.

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