When I set up this blog, I had a welcome page that said: “Congratulations on reaching one of the internet’s hidden places. This is like finding a beautiful island and having it all to yourself.” One year later, this is still true.
I published my first post on 1 January 2018, after about a month of planning. Since then I have published 18 opinion or non-fiction pieces under the heading ‘Debatable’, 23 pieces of fiction under the heading ‘Unlikely parallels’, eight autobiographical notes under ‘Fish out of water’ and one post to reblog an interesting article written by someone else. I published a flurry of pages at the beginning, just to give the site some shape, and since then I have published three or four pieces a month.
Here’s what I have found out through publishing this stuff:
- The most viewed article on this site is ‘Celibacy and hypocrisy in the Catholic church’, possibly because it is controversial, probably because the title words ring bells in search engines, but probably not because it is the best article I have written.
- The next most viewed is ‘The networked car’, which is an opinion piece I am quite fond of. It was not particularly prescient, but in the months since it has been published, I have noticed plenty of comment in the media that is less insightful than this piece. People are not very good at imagining what networked driverless cars might be like, how different to what we have now, or how good they might be.
- Fiction, which is the real heart of this site, generally is less read than the opinion pieces. The most-viewed story is ‘Pregnant girl’, which is a good one, really it is. At about 5000 words it is rather long for on-screen reading. Who knows how many people just click on it because the title is intriguing, and how many read it through to its sad ending?
Where to next?
- On this desert island of mine, I find it increasingly difficult to motivate myself to write opinion pieces. Here’s an opinion I will share with you nonetheless: too many people are too quick to voice their opinions. The phrase “I’m entitled to my opinion” is one of those horribly untrue commonplaces: all too often people are not entitled to their opinions, because they really don’t know what they are talking about. Far too many opinions are based in a lack of evidence or expertise, have been developed without regard to logic or plausibility, and are carried around as shields against the threat of having to engage with a disagreeable reality. While this continues to be the case, I’m not sure what I’m achieving by expressing opinions of my own. The noise of the world is tremendous, and it is mostly just noise. Having said that, I bet I’ll be back at opionating sometime soon. As I have said before “I was raised to believe in the power of rational debate to test ideas and discover truth.” The crazy optimism of this runs deep.
- When I started out, I knew it would be difficult to write about my own life. There’s plenty to write about, but I’m shy. I imagined that a gradual exposure of minor details would eventually acclimatise me to self-revelation, but it’s not happening so far.
- This leaves me with fiction. This is going well, I think. I’ve spent a lifetime writing fiction that few people notice — why stop now? This site is starting to have quite an interesting selection of material on it. In 2019 I hope to add more.
However, right now we are entering into Sydney’s silly season. The days will be long and hot. Great days for a surf at the beach, long boozy lunches, parties under the stars. The Sydney Festival will be on soon, full of crazily pretentious plays and other wonders. The streets will be full of people meandering about like basking sharks. Therefore, this blog will be a little less active over the next couple of months. When I’m not being distracted by fireworks, festivals, family or feasting, I’m going to be very busy finishing the manuscript of my current novel (currently titled The lonely stars) and starting the manuscript of my next (The opal text). For a while this beautiful desert island may have to be even quieter than it already is.
If you are interested, below you can see my recommended top ten stories on this site. Happy reading. Have a great summer (or, for my northworld readers, have a cheery winter).
Ten great stories, in no particular order: