Friday, June 10, 2016

Happy Birthday to On The Other Side Of The Eye

This weekend, on June 10th, we celebrate 10 years of my blog, On The Other Side Of The Eye, which was, of course, ultimately a prelude to my first full-length collection of poetry by the same name.

After a decade, I've written over 2,628 posts here, some more memorable than others. It's been interesting to see which posts stand the test of time, and others where I must have been having an off day, or something. But that's the writing process.

This came out well before I joined facebook. I think I might still have had a Geocities account, an AOL account, and a Myspace site or two. While Blogger has long since been overtaken by other blogging platforms such as Wordpress, etc. I found it to be easy enough to post to, although I haven't done a redesign in a while.

This has been the "Little Blog That Could" with about 505,555 page views when we hit the 10 year milestone. It's not a lot, in the grand scheme of blogs in the world, but I still appreciate that it has built an audience for a blog that connects such unusual topics as Laos, poetry, art, science fiction, horror, dachshunds, non-profits, refugees, and other odd subjects.

At the moment, five of the most popular posts on my blog of all time are:

  1. Superstitions of the Lao Tradition
  2. William Blake, Orc and Blade Runner
  3. The Mongolian Death Worm
  4. Creature Feature Short Take: The Aswang
  5. Wild Men of Asia and Poets
Go figure.

In my first year I posted 142 times, and in 2013, I posted 399 times. So I'm getting about 262 posts a year on this bog, which isn't bad, when you're juggling all of the different things in a poet's life. The first year was filled with posts about all sorts of things from issues of Anti-Asian violence to the odd campaign of Sharkey the Impaler for President. The anthology Outsiders Within had been released, sharing the voices of transracial adoptees. Bakka Magazine launched for what would be a short run, but it was a learning experience. 

During my first year blogging, I included a shout out to Mr. Hoy Wong, New York's longest working bartender, who turned 90 at the time and eventually retired in 2009. It was the year that veteran Japanese American actor Mako passed away, while at the same time we saw the introduction of Kung Fu Panda, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior and DC Comic's the Great 10, a band of Asian superheroes who don't make many appearances anymore. 2006 also marked the year we found the Laotian Rock Rat, which I thought was pretty cool.

In the aftermath of the 3rd National Lao American Writers Summit in San Diego in addition to my recent class I taught at Kearny Street Workshop, I guess the question that comes to mind is: Does blogging help your creative writing process? Is it necessary, professionally? 

For me, the answer is yes. This isn't to say that it hasn't been painful looking at many of my older posts, but I think it's important to commit to a blog well to keep in practice, while also having a reasonable secure space to keep your writing available, as well as a marker of the progress you're making.

From a professional point of view, I've used it as a way to share poems that would have a difficult time finding an audience with a mainstream or even an AAPI journal. It allowed me to repost some of my older poems with new images, illustrations, annotations, or whatever, just to experiment with new ways it might be presented. I've been able to keep much better track of my publications as well as my presentations, which was an incredible pain back when I was trying things the hard way with websites on AOL and Geocities.

One bit of advice I would absolutely recommend: Don't be afraid to give a shoutout to others who are writing or to shine a light on the good work they're doing. It's healthy and energizing. And it's important for us to keep bringing a great positivity into the world, even as we also challenge whatever issues have emerged at any given point in time.

Looking back on this blog 10 years later, I also appreciate being able to see a lot of my reactions with the perspective of time. Sometimes I still agree with that young man, other times, I would certainly say, "lighten up."

For a time, I tried keeping things on the blogs of Myspace and Facebook, but Myspace lost at least three of my blogs after several months, and that got incredibly frustrating. So, I began using this somewhat redundant approach, posting things on this blog, in addition to backup reposts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Wordspace, or whatever seemed appropriate.

You never know how long you're going to have your data, right now. Maybe Yahoo will buy it out. Maybe someone else. Maybe Yahoo will get bought out. Maybe someone else. 

I backed up many of my old interviews and reviews I had posted up at Asian American Press and other newspapers because I'd like to think they'll be around for ever, but I lost a few good articles in the past because of server switches, calamitous fires, rampaging kaiju, visiting nieces, etc.

There are days I've felt like scrapping the whole blog, and other days where I realize it's ok to have a space where we share the various scraps and snippets of our lives. To create a point where maybe, just maybe, someone is searching for their roots, or an opinion on this or that. A blog like this shouldn't be taken as the end-all, last word on any particular matter, but I hope, at its best, it can add to the conversation.

It's more than possible to be a successful writer without a blog, without sharing works in progress, etc. But if you only show things when they're "fully-formed" and "perfect" I suspect you, and your readers will miss out on some very interesting moments. 

In any case, thank you all for reading this blog whenever you do, and I hope it's been entertaining. I look forward to sharing many more posts with you in the next decade ahead!

1 comment:

Rod Burch said...

I get a little smarter every time I read anything you write.