Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Announcement & Blog FAQS

Amitah Shel Torah
By Rabbi Yitzchak Twersky
There is a new and important sefer available.
I have mentioned Rabbi Yitzchak Twersky
and his Torah several times on this blog.
He is my colleague, friend, and teacher.
His 2 volume work, Amitah Shel Torah, has just been published
and was on sale in my school as of this morning.
I highly recommend this work!



How many people visit your blog a day?

This question is generally asked and then re-asked by the same people. It seems to be some people's blog related patter, like some people have their party joke or their first date lines. The answer I usually give is "about a hundred." This elicits feigned or real surprise - I can't tell. I am not sure how to read the Stat Counter (the one I have to log in to see, the other one anyone can see - but that one I never look at). Sometimes I say somewhere between 50-100 hits a day, which may be more accurate. For example, yesterday I had 66 page loads, 40 unique visitors and 11 returning visitors. What these mean - if these numbers get added or not, I couldn't tell you. Some days, like last Thursday may be a lot more - or maybe not; that day had 100 page loads, 51 unique visitors, and 25 returning visitors.

You post every day?

Pretty much every day. I don't force myself to do it daily. The thing about my blogging is that it grew out of my diary and parsha writing. For many years I've been writing for myself. For the last seven or so I've been writing weekly parsha emails that I try to write well and that also have a personal component. The blog was originally suggested by Moshe Radinsky because he saw that my style fit well with blogging. After reading an article that impressed me (about special Al Cheits for singles) by Esther Kustanowitz that included her blog address I decided to try it. To some extent it's taken over for my diary. I kind of figured if I write anyway, I may as well save it here. If others take a look at enjoy or otherwise benefit - great.

How do you decide what to write about?

It's what the kids today would call random - although I think they mean arbitrary. Sometimes I free flow, just write without knowing what will lead to what to where. Sometimes something happened and I don't feel like writing about it. Sometimes I do. When I first started and now again I think its been about thoughts and feelings more than about today I did X. Sometimes I jot something in a diary and then transfer it to here. This site has inspired some good new poems and new essays that I just sat down and wrote in a way that I can't call a decision.

Doesn't it take a lot of time?

They say that when your work is your play you are truly blessed and that if you love what you do as work then you never work a day in your life. So I am truly blessed that this blog is my livelihood. No, wait - it's not. Ummm... OK, let's try again. Yes, it takes a lot of time, but so does breathing. For some time now I have found writing to be therapeutic and crucial in my life. I remember once staying in people's home and I forgot my diary so I asked if they had any writing paper in the house. And they said no. And I felt the walls closing in... Maybe it'll change on day, but for now I feel like I need to write. For me it's time well spent. And when others read and appreciate that's gravy, makes the time investment more worthwhile.

Why do you open yourself up like you do?

Someone once asked me if I was open and I replied that if I was any more open I'd have to walk around wrapped in gauze. Given the fact that this is open to all to see I try to be discrete. The kind of writing that I like in others is open and personal in a distinct voice. If I'm going to write, it's going to be in that direction.

Don't you think the fact that things are posted in backwards order (most recent on top, the one before it under it even if one leads into the other) turns people off from reading?

I think some people don't know what personal blogs are and don't want to know. This line, that they're uncomfortable with the format is just a way of saying that they're not interested. And, as Stuart Smalley used to say, that's O.K.

What's with the haikus?

I think in haiku
Don't know when/how this happened
It's the way it is


Blogger Unknown said...

A friend complimented me on my blog the other day and added, "It must be very time-consuming!" I don't blog as often as you, Neil, but still I have never thought of it as burdensome or an obligation. As a writer by vocation who no longer gets to write much "fun" stuff in my job (I used to write magazine features), I love blogging just to flex the ol' muscles a bit. It's recreation, not duty.

Also, I started to write a short blog item a few days ago about some amazing cumulus clouds I'd seen between rainstorms. And I realized I was writing it as free verse! I gave in and let it become a poem of sorts. Your influence? I haven't written poetry for years. Decades. More than half a lifetime! :-)

June 7, 2007 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

There are a lot of different ways to measure your traffic. People try to determine how many individuals (unique users) are coming to your blog and of those how many come more than once.

They also try to identify how much time they spend there and how many pages they read through.

But if you blog recreationally the ultimate question is whether you enjoy it, not how many visitors you have.

June 7, 2007 at 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am bothered by the question of how many people read your blog. It seems to imply that popularity is the measure of good writing. I am sure that we all favorite books that for wahtever reason did not become best sellers. For sure if this blog had more attacks on people and tried to stir up controversy it would be more popular, but popularity is not the measure of quality. I have come accross no other blog that makes me think about things as much as yours. Keep up with your fine wine and let others pour the 5$ Manischewitz.


June 7, 2007 at 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pesach, i second the motion. i couldn't have said that better myself!

June 7, 2007 at 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking in Haiku is nice.

June 7, 2007 at 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learnt some things here that are good to know for my new blog.

June 7, 2007 at 11:19 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Thank you each for your kind and diverse comments on this post!

June 8, 2007 at 1:04 AM  

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