Some time during this past week, the 10.000th view sneaked in, delivering utter surprise and disbelief among us. No kidding – really? – oh my gosh?! When this blog was conceived, I could not at all imagine this day, no matter how pathologically inflated my self-regard had always been. From the very first entry “Visiting Colgate”, salvaged from my former blog, and published on 2009/09/18, through the early days of my own sporadic monologues, to the later period of some readers’ approval and recognition, and finally – today – it has been a full damn year and a freaking 10,000 views.
Now, if my only and ultimate goal is to attract as many views as possible, I have long ago posted – I don’t know – naked pictures and blasphemous assertions perhaps? Or a more practical option would be entries with tantalizing personal details, which entice readers into the public sport of stalking and postulating. I have opted to go a different way, clearly not the least because of not looking good naked. (Seriously though – how can any title be more sedative than “Should the academia stay in its ivory tower?”)
That said, readership does not count for nothing. To keep a public blog and then declare total indifference towards readers’ opinions is just as hypocritical, and infinitely pathetic, as to dress up weirdly (obviously for the sake of attention) and then proclaim “I don’t care what you people think.” Thus, while 10,000 views does not give me any bragging right whatsoever, it does deserve to be a landmark, and thus worthy of some commemoration.
So tonight I will do a “looking-back” entry that bloggers love so much, with some amusing statistics and background stories. Apparently I can’t help turning everything, a mere announcement entry included, into “entertaining thoughts and thoughtful entertainment.”
1. The biggest hit: SAT Tiếng Việt – Đọc và Hiểu
Unequivocally, this is the most widely read and distributed entry, partly thanks to the infamous Facebook (for better or for worse). The entry attracted 266 views within the month of publication, and has since generated a total of 459 views. Until now, there are still people that look for the entry by means of googling “SAT Tiếng Việt” (WordPress is capable of telling me that.)
The success proves to be beyond the virtual world alone. Now and then, real-life friends commend me for the idea (though not so much for the bookish content, of course.) Nevertheless, I believe that the entry has done its job, and “SAT Tiếng Việt” has become a recognizable term among certain circles. That is all I am hoping for.
2. The most sustained interest generator: Thơ thất tình – Tự tay tuyển tập
Even though this entry did not attract seismic attention at the time of its publication (4 AM, in a corner dimly lit by a table lamp), it proves to be of a different kind of impact. Hardly a day goes by that there is not someone reading the entry – why? because it touches the chronic sufferings of broken hearts. If you go to google.com (or google.com.vn) and type in “Thơ thất tình”, my entry will appear on either the first or the second page. Apparently many people have done so, and not out of curiosity like you are doing now, of course, but out of anguish over *sob* that cruel, cruel person *sob*. O, mankind, you have my sympathy.
One guy (that surely is a guy – what are you talking about?) even googled “Thất tình có buồn không?” I can’t help but imagine what he would have felt when he read the poem “Thất tình thì đã làm sao?” Really, how often do you run across something so relevant on the Internet? I might not change a life there, but have at least offered some much needed assurance. You’ll be alright, dude. Many have been.
Statistics: to this day, search terms such as “thơ thất tình” “blog thất tình” and their variances total 260 views.
3. The debut: Kí ở UPenn
This is the very first entry that brought my blog out into the spotlight. Tuấn Ngọc kindly introduced the entry on his Facebook on behalf of me (who was temporarily shunning social networking at the time.) The entry is a fun read overall, with quite a few original phrases that have acquired their own existence (e.g. “tình cờ như sắp đặt”). It is one of my favorites to re-read even until now.
4. The biggest surprise: Mùa thu
At the moment of conception, this poem seemed to me just another ordinary work, fueled by the mesmerizing autumnal scene, and ignited by a surging wretchedness. While I was trolling home (amidst the described scene), the poem came with so much ease that it does not seem to be of any excellent merit. Yet the surprisingly positive responses I received really turned me around. The more I think about it, the clearer it becomes that I have underestimated my own work. Perhaps this poem has a emotively misty touch (not unlike the sprinkling rain itself) that is superior to the intense but too frontal lamentations in other pieces.
Apparently true arts comes with ease.
5. The biggest disappointment: Nấu nướng Spring Break
This entry is really kinda mehhh… It has not only little literary finesse, but also no gastronomical adequacy. (Yeah, damn right, it’s not just food – it’s gastronomy. Yeah!) It’s just a random, out-of-place entry that I almost regret writing.
6. My personal favorite entry: Why Political Economics? – players’ version
This entry is my favorite for several reasons. Ideationally, the entire entry was conceived, produced, and finished swiftly within the few hours right after the exhausting “Why Political Economics? – nerds’ version”. I absolutely did not plan this couple in advance. Stylistically, this entry epitomizes my favorite kind of humor, which is conflictual, self-deprecating, and romance-related. I remember crafting and re-crafting every single sentence for countless times during that one night.
But the best reason is none but its side stories. There are friends who, upon reading the entry, inquired whether the male character is suggestive of me, and, if such is the case, insisted that I am in serious need of relationship counseling service (which they have plenty.) That amuses me infinitely. As a writer, I’m glad that the story clearly left an impression. As a pragmatist, need I tell you that someone who is keen enough to observe the lameness of the guy will obviously not fall through the same crack? And finally, as a idealist, I must emphatically tell you that such lameness is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s called “falling in love”, not “tip-toeing in love”, nor “parachuting in love”, remember? Because true love is like that – sudden, fumbling, irresistible – and not skillful, calculating, or efficient. I would be thrilled to find a girl that makes me stutter.
7. Parents’ favorite: Bài toán về Externality hay là Tớ và chú công an đẹp trai
Believe it or not, quite a few parents read my blog (my mom included, although only occasionally). And quizzically, the majority of them seems to develop a liking for the half-economic, half-satirical treatise that involves our beloved “chú công an đẹp trai.” The reason, I suspect, is that our dear parents have such a deep-seated disapproval of traffic cop that any satire, be it economic, sociological, and hell, even philosophical, would just amuse them equally well. As long as chú công an đẹp trai is there, they will be wickedly happy. It’s like going to a movie to see the actor.
I am still internally debating whether that is sad or just funny.
8. Favorite google search terms:
WordPress is magically capable of telling me which search terms people are using to find my blog. Here are some of the more amusing.
– “anhqle” “qa’s blog” “a piece of my mind” “home of entertaining thoughts and thoughtful entertainment”
A writer can defend his work as vehemently as he wants, but once it’s out, it’s no longer his child, but the public’s. I’m glad that my child is being loved and remembered.
– “Danh mat cuoc tinh chang phai tai ai dau”
The quotation mark assures me that this beloved reader has none but my poem in mind. I can only humbly hope that, for whatever agony that brought the person back to this poem, I’ve given him or her some assuring relief.
– “cong an dep trai”
I loled so hard at this. Told you the phrase is catchy.
– caring for a introverted partner / college introvert / study abroad introvert / how to cheer up an introvert
Ah… the introverts. The often misunderstood introverts. Hopefully, I’ve relieved my fellow introverts of the tiring task of self-explaining to the world. Also, special kudos to Jonathan Rauch for such an enlightening article on introversion.