Annual Encouragement

January 2, 2014 — 11 Comments

2013Our grandparents never dreamed a single person could touch as many other people as we now take for granted in our digital age. If you had told them that in a single year, you could interact with people from 140 different nations—and all from the comfort of your own home—they would have had you institutionalized.

Yet, that’s precisely what we do today. And what may be even odder, we consider it commonplace.

Readers who are familiar with the “wordpress community” know that the arrival of the new year includes a welcome ritual. We receive a congratulatory note on our blogging accomplishments during the previous year.

In addition to various statistical notes, the report identifies particularly successful posts. For example, a couple of years ago I wrote “Lessons Taught by Onions,” and for some peculiar reason it continues to draw visitors every single month.

At the top of this post I have reproduced what many of us regard as the most intriguing aspect of the report–revealing where your readers reside. As a novice blogger it’s a wonderful feeling when we first see something we’ve written read by people in a foreign land.

Over the years it’s fascinating to see how the list of visitors grows.

Some countries are tough to reach. This year I finally had a visitor or two from the People’s Republic of China and Mongolia . . . a couple of those challenging lands.

I still haven’t been able to penetrate North Korea. But then, that’s no surprise since they only have one computer with international access, and I don’t publish the type of material that would be of interest to the resident of the presidential palace.

As the new year begins, it’s good to be encouraged by others for one’s past performance. Most of us require a bit of encouragement now and then.

Speaking of encouraging, in a 1956 letter, C.S. Lewis expresses appreciation to a writer who enjoyed his book, Till We Have Faces.

It was nice of you to write about Till We Have Faces (I originally called it Bareface, but the publishers vetoed that because they said people would think it was a ‘Western’!), and a most needed encouragement to me, for it has so far had a more hostile reception from the critics than any book I ever wrote. Not that critics really matter very much. The real question is how the book goes 10 or 15 years after publication.

Encouragement is always welcome, and never more so than in the wake of abundant discouragement.

And then, of course, there is the feigned or teasing sort of encouragement that can only be offered by someone we trust. Someone we know regards us with affection. In that light, I couldn’t resist including the following passage from a letter Lewis wrote in 1951.

All well here except myself, who have a bad cold; but I’m off to Ireland I hope on Friday for a fortnight, which may shift it. (Warnie in his usual way of encouragement, reads me paragraphs from the paper at breakfast about liners wind bound in the Mersey and waves 6 ½ feet high off the Irish coast.)

I must confess that with a large and literate family, I receive more than my share of just this sort of “encouragement.” And I welcome it.

In the meantime, however, the annual report of Mere Inkling’s popularity does inspire me to press on with my self-imposed pace of two columns a week. I warmly invite you to continue the journey alongside me.

11 responses to Annual Encouragement

  1. 

    Always a delight to read your posts. Look forward to 2014’s additions.
    Happy New Year!

  2. 

    I’m one of the Canadian readers. Keep it up!

  3. 

    Your literary knowledge and well grounded insights are a welcomed stop. “Light” food for thought is tasty, but sometimes, you just want more.
    It doesn’t surprise me “Onions” remains popular. More than ever, individuals are feeling that’s a perfect way to describe life and people.
    It is mind boggling to see the wide/rapid communication abilities. Once long distance phone calls were rare – and expensive. I do wonder if all these blog posts will have a spot in analysis by future generations. (Is that a humorous or scary thought?)
    Always a great read here. Thanks so much for your efforts

    • 

      Well, if there are garbologists now, I wouldn’t find it at all surprising to see future sociologists sifting through the billions of blog posts being generated right now…

      That’s not to infer that all bloggers create refuse, of course! There are innumerable exceptions, a category I hope that Mere Inkling finds itself in.

      And, then there is your great column. I’m amazed at how frequently you are able to compose such entertaining, uplifting, surprising and humorous columns. Keep up the good work!

  4. 

    I’m in California and happy to be on your map!

  5. 

    Keep it up! It’s fun seeing where your readers come from, isn’t it? And sometimes a bit scary to discover the search terms that brought them to your blog! Well, maybe not for you with your subject matter, but I find that to be the case with my farm blog. Trust me–you don’t want to know what I’m talking about!

    Happy New Year!
    Susan

  6. 

    A happy and blessed 2014 to you and yours!

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