By Richard Bleil
A friend of mine read last night’s short story. Okay, I take some of the blame here, because I did tell her that it was a sweet story, and she believed me. If you have been reading any of them, you may wonder if I have a sweet bone in my body. Believe it or not, I actually do, but of late, my muse seems to be, well, let’s say “dark”.
She texted me, late late late after I was hoping to have already been asleep (yeah, good luck with that) and said something very sweet. She cursed my name.
Today, she told me that when she started reading it, she couldn’t stop even when she came to realize where it was heading (I like twists in my stories, too), and after finishing, feared the nightmares she was sure it would bring on.
These are two of the nicest compliments that I think you can pay to an author.
In my humble opinion, authors really want to accomplish two goals with their works. First, we want to capture the attention of the reader.
Did you ever start a story and lose interest? I’ve read far too many of these. In high school, I gave one of my required reading books to my mother who was an avid reader. She loved reading, soaked it in, loved it, but this book she couldn’t keep focused. She found it boring. If we write a piece and the reader stops before completing it, then why are we writing it? Now, it’s understood that everybody is different; a story that might capture my imagination may not capture yours. That’s fine; if an individual decides that they are not interested, that can just be personal choice. As I write this, I am eating burritos. If you don’t like burritos, that’s your personal proclivity, but if NOBODY likes burritos, then this restaurant would be in big trouble. Authorship is the same way; an individual may be able to put it down, but we’re hoping that many, or perhaps most, people are captured by it.
Second, we want to accomplish something. It’s not always the same, though. In a textbook (yes, I’ve written them) the goal is for the reader to learn, but often the desire it to elicit some form of emotion. (Many forms of art, by the way, including prose is the same.) We want to make the reader go to bed afraid of what they’ve imagined while reading, or to feel happiness and love, or to feel sad and brokenhearted. Whatever the goal is, that’s truly the reason to write. Before beginning any project, there is a goal. is the goal just to tell a story (actually, I currently have a work in progress that is purely experimental, and the goal is truly to see if I can successfully complete the story), or is it to frighten the reader (as my short stories are currently designed to do), or laugh, or love, or look at other people with more tolerance? Without a goal, the project is likely to drift, and I know I’ve had some posts that have done just that (thank you to those of you who read them anyway). Last night’s entry was meant to cause nightmares.
On November 29, I started this experiment of “blogging”. I chose an old-fashioned medium (writing) even in the age of the “vlog” and live streaming because it best fit my old-fashioned proclivities. I first publicly posted just a few days later on December 3 with six blogs I had written before getting a blog site. Since then, I have written opinion pieces (political and otherwise), inspirational pieces, educational, emotional, humorous (I hope), personal, and pieces of fiction (which you may or may not feel belongs in the “blog” category). I know how to embed images and make my pieces more eye-catching and appealing in the current societal norms, but I have chosen to leave the imagery in the reader’s mind. When posted, this will be my 199th post, and each post has been crafted to be at least 750 words (my personal daily minimum goal). That means I’ve written over 150,000 words (holy hell…I just blew my own mind), and have never missed a day although I define “day” as ending at bedtime so some of my posts occurred around 6 AM because i couldn’t sleep.
Holly hell. A hundred and fifty thousand words.
What astounds me is how my readership is increasing. I’m really not surprised that my very first month was, until recently, my best. With people curious about this new nitwit and what the hell is he all about, of course I had a lot of hits on my blog. Last December, I had 203 visitors who read 625 posts. That record was not broke until last month, when 261 visitors read 843 posts. This is very humbling to me. It means that people must like what I am writing, even in this old-fashioned and outdated format. To all of you reading this, past readers, and future readers, let me end this with a simple “thank you” for sticking with me, and checking out my work. As mind-blowing as a hundred and fifty thousand words is, it’s even more so that so many people have read my works, and I truly hope that I have been successful in having a positive impact, even if only in the slightest way.