A year ago, I gave birth. Not to a baby—at least not the kind that squeals and squirms
and grows to need braces, a room in the house you avoid at all costs, and a college fund. A year ago today, I began this blog. Spawned by my desire to write things that didn’t require sequential numbering or use of the word “functionality,” it became a glimmer of possibility in those quiet months after unpacking for my first full year of Rangeley residency. Then, stronger and stronger, the knowing grew: I had a heck of a lot to say and not a whole lot of people within earshot. Plus, I was a writer, living in seclusion in a place where my creativity could echo as loudly as I wanted, if I only knew how to start using my outside voice again. Was it really right, really responsible, though, to give all my silly, crazy, sad, happy, deep but long-winded thoughts an outlet? Did the world truly need another contribution to its over population of words?
“Yes!” I promised myself, mentally exhausted the first time I hit Publish and sent my
offering out into the world. “I have a blog!”
At first, what exactly I had produced was full of unknowns—a blank slate ready for my unique, twisted stamp. Would it prosper, gain acceptance, or wither in obscurity like the new kid nobody notices sitting alone on the edge of the playground? It was too soon to tell. But, as the weeks went by and my new creation gained personality and spunk with each new post, I often found myself holding my laptop at arms’ length and staring in disbelief, wondering: How in the world did something so weird and wonderful come out of me?
A year later, I’m happy to say I’m proud and fulfilled. And I’m only kept up at night when I want to be. Far as I know, my wild child ramblings have not ostracized me from any local gatherings or attracted dirty looks behind my back at the Red Onion. People actually tell me I’m doing a good job. They like me on Facebook! I accept their compliments with gratitude and a bit of bewilderment, much the same way I did when folks would ooh and ah at one of my baby girls. “Thank you, I think she’s cute and funny, too,” I’d admit. “But I’m not sure enough how something new and marvelous chose me as a vehicle to take full credit.”
It sure did feel good, though, cranking out my true creativity. Why, I wondered, hadn’t I just let nature take its course and allow this to happen earlier? I was so pleased with my new writing role, I even outed myself on LinkedIn. I announced to the professional world and to my industry peeps that I was both creative and technical. And, lo and behold, a
year later I’m balancing a blog on one knee and a new paying assignment (with sequential numbering and descriptions of “functionality”) in my lap.
In looking back over how my baby has grown during its first year, I figured I’d acknowledge its 2,303 viewers-to-date by sharing some of my favorite ways it’s been
randomly visited. By randomly, I mean not by my regular acquaintance readers—those
who log on because I wrote the URL on a cocktail napkin they stuffed in their purse, or those who get curious because they heard about the “Rangeley blog lady” from a friend of a friend. I’m paying tribute here to those Googlers who most likely were looking for something entirely different when they happened upon my back woods website.
So here’s to the best of a year of Rooted In Rangeley search terms and the wayward surfers who found their way to my corner of the lake:
Rooted where? Of course, my search engine database logged plenty of “rootedinrangeley” attempts and a wide variety of spelling variations on my name and my location. Turns out, I am “routed” here and, some would say “rotted,” but usually just “joy’s blog in Rangeley.” Once I was even found at “My Fork in the Road, Maine.” (On occasion, I do confess to Googling my own self, just because I can. My blog publisher claims it doesn’t add to my reader tally, but it’s still fun to play cyber boomerang with myself now and then.)
Top award for being topographically challenged: Goes to whoever pondered “Are there year-round residents of Toothaker Island?” (Yes, perhaps there are, but they must really like privacy during those long months when the ice on the lake won’t support going anywhere else!)
Woodsy Wikipedia: I’m not sure what some readers were researching, but I’m quite
curious to read their reports! Why, I wonder, did “Mooselookmeguntic duck itch”,
“Clarence who haunts the Rangeley Inn,” and “how to use Yankee as an adjective”
come to seek my advice? Of course, if queries like “Did any of the 9/11 terrorists visit Rangeley, Maine?”, “Girls who ride around in red Mustangs,” and “History of sex in a pan dessert” are coming from one in the same person, I guess I really don’t want to know, do I?
Haphazard how-to advice: Since I offer cooking tips one week, then blab about my fashion blunders and my quirky approach to home decorating the next, it only makes sense that I could attract folks wondering about “beagle flannel sheets” , “how to refinish a Naugahyde couch”, “new uses for shoulder pads”and “red Kool-Aid stain removal” to my virtual doorstep. I don’t know if I’d invite them in for coffee, except maybe those sisters searching for “bathing suits that fit real women.”
Seriously, thanks to all my readers—those from away who wish they were here and those from here who aren’t scared off…yet. Thanks to my real kids who haven’t stopped speaking to me…yet. Thanks to my friend, Walt, for taking my awesome blog picture who, no doubt, has been commissioned by Popular Photography by now. And extra special thanks to my editor/husband who, with a few minor exceptions, sanctions my stream-of-consciousness publishing without reservation. I thought of giving away a big jug of his homemade wine as a prize to the first loyal reader who matched the above search terms with their respective blog posts. But then I’d have way too many “homemade Mooselookmeguntic merlot” enthusiasts knocking on my real door.