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i did what you see there :: the state of the blog, 2017

last year, i started off this post by noting that i'd done less blogging in 2016 than at any point since 2010. and apparently, my only reaction to that statistic was to blog even less in 2017. in fact, i've scaled back my writing activities in general, which is not a happy occurrence, although i'm happy that part of the reason for this was because i had more paying work that took up my time. i also had a move mid-year that took a lot of time in the build-up and a surprising amount of time to get settled. [i say that like it's something that is done with. it really isn't.] there were a few health concerns thrown in there that made it difficult to work regularly. multiple sclerosis continues to wreak havoc with dom's health, although the move and some other changes have helped a lot in that regard. quite honestly, my own battles with mood and depression have been worse in the last year than they have been in a long time, which has definitely had the effect of limiting everything i do. for those of you who are fighting your own battles, i'm sending out especially hopeful wishes for 2018.

despite my inconsistency in posting, though, there was action going on here, and it's been interesting to look at what you guys are looking at. to whit...

last year, i promised that i wasn't just going to be one of those people who talked a lot about politics coming up to an american election year and then dropped the subject like it didn't matter anymore. and, although the frequency of posting was down in general, i'm happy to say that nearly half of the posts that i did make were political in nature. the current resident of the white house has said that the "fake news" would wither and die without him and, while i like to think that they'd use the passion that they've discovered in terms of countering his ridiculous narratives as inspiration to be more thorough, more probing and more demanding of those in power, the larger part of me knows that he's not entirely wrong. if there weren't a dangerously inept buffoon at the helm of the world's greatest military power, there wouldn't be nearly as much to say, but on the other hand... we wouldn't have to say it. the fact is that i really don't know that i would have written as much on the subject of politics if trump had turned out to be the sort of bland, weak president he might have been. even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day, and the idea that there is more media scrutiny on the government because it's run by a fool is one of the few things that this man has gotten right in the last twelve months.

since politics occupied such a prominent role this year, it's not entirely surprising that the two most viewed posts are all political in nature. the most popular, "long division" was a pretty angry piece about those voters who supported trump and then had buyer's remorse. although i don't like being entirely negative, i do still feel the same way that i did back in march when i wrote it. moreover, i think that there's a lesson to be learned from the people who feel the same way: fuck trying to win over the people who supported trump and focus on reaching out to people who've been too disillusioned to bother voting at all.

and what was the second most popular post? a much more conciliatory one i wrote about how i felt certain trump backers had been legitimately misled by his statements on the campaign trail. whatever one thinks of trump, it seems clear that the area of greatest division is that people don't know how they feel about each other. i don't either, at least not in any black and white way. there are certain things that make me think that certain people are "lost causes", but there are some areas where it's really not so clear. the real challenge is in finding a way to live peaceably, without killing each other. 

politics is more than trump, and a couple of other posts that proved popular were more generally political, without a focus on a specific country or politician: "whitewashing" and "long suffering". as much as i love dumping on trump and his supporters, i get a greater degree of personal satisfaction writing posts like these, so it makes me particularly warm and fuzzy when i see them attracting your attention.

of course, this space isn't just about politics. it's also about my journeys in language learning. this year marked two years that i've been using various internet resources, but primarily duolingo, to learn as many of the world's seven thousand remaining languages. that's led me to some new skills, of course, but it's also led me to some interesting realisations about languages and their place in the world. so it gives me a great deal of personal pleasure to know that these posts seem to strike a note with readers as well. in fact, just a hair behind the two political posts that got the most views was "don't speak", which is a very brief overview of what's happened with different languages and language groups that have been threatened with extinction. and in the tradition of readers loving posts about me doing something terribly wrong, "backing talkwards", about my singularly bizarre reason for being unable to get any traction with hebrew was also wildly popular. nothing succeeds like success, but nothing draws readers like failure.

something not so surprising was that the beauty posts were popular, and, as always seems to happen, they were uniformly popular. it's nice to know that there's a solid audience for the things i do that aren't quite so heady. that said, aside from things like the urban decay "naked heat" palette and my comments on viseart being popular, it was interesting to see that a couple of the most viewed posts were about beauty, but not quite in the usual way: "i could maybe not buy this one thing", about my [successful] attempt to find reasonable dupes for the anastasia "modern renaissance" palette in my collection and the look i did inspired by a video against female genital mutilation.


weirdest of all, this little brain drop about writing and dreaming and how the two are connected and how memory gets in the way was one of the most viewed posts of the year. as much as the things i mentioned at the outset of this post have interfered with my blogging, they've had a worse effect on my writing. that's not to say that i haven't had ideas that i've [mostly] written down, but i haven't been able to push them to completion. i'd make "finishing things" my new year's resolution, except that i've tried to make that resolution many times before and i don't think it's particularly helped me. and no, i never did remember the story from my dream. i can't even clearly remember what the giraffe-man had to do with things.

thank you all so much for reading the blog this year. i really do hope that i'm able to put greater time and effort into things in 2018. i can't promise, but i know that i'm going to feel pretty awful if i'm writing this recap next year with the theme of "fewest. posts. ever." have a safe and happy transition into the next celestial chapter, and i'll see you on the other side.

p.s. :: most shockingly, i didn't post about my fur-children this year! you can see what julia thinks of that. 

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