I’ve had a tiny increase in traffic over the weekend and it’s fun to think that there may be people out there reading my words who aren’t close friends or family. Not a lot of other people. Just a handful. But, y’know, still.
Have I written yet about the odd-but-nice encounter I had at Rose City Comic Con a weekend or two ago? I was standing in some booth on the show floor in my Vault Suit and I turned around and saw a guy looking at me. He was wearing a nifty N7 jacket and was probably 20 years younger than me.
He smiled and said, haltingly, “Luna Rob Verse? Is that you?”
I laughed and (hopefully) mildly corrected him (“Lunar Obverse”) and admitted that that name was mine, and he said, to my mild surprise, “I’ve been hoping to see you! My friend has been talking about whether or not we would see you here.”
It turns out he and his friend ran into Max and me last year. We had all been wearing Fallout-inspired costumes, that’s how we noticed each other. And Max and I had told them about our podcast, Uncasting. While Max and I had been blissfully unaware, these two guys had been listening to our podcast, and it stuck in their minds enough to wonder if we would cross paths again.
This is a tiny little glimpse of what it would be like to have a small bit of celebrity, and it was surprising and heartening. It made me feel good, and it also worried me, that I had done something wrong. Somehow. I don’t know, I just know that my positive voice and my Inner Negative Voice were in a battle. Luckily, as I may have covered earlier, that weekend my positive self mostly won. I enjoyed the moment, glad that some small bit of my creativity and effort had gone out into the world and been noticed.
I made sure to let Max know about the encounter, and it inspired us to produce more podcasts, once Max has returned from his sojourn in the arid deserts of Utah learning how to fly.
And then, this weekend, seeing the little graph of visits to my blog spike, I felt that glow of attention warm my heart once more. The blog stats include not just visits but which pages are getting views, and it showed a wide range of older posts and the home page. So I clicked through to see which posts they had landed on.
From there I fell down a memory hole. I’m not going to link the posts, but a bunch of them were from the very first year of my blog. I read about being on the bus and observing people around me; I read about yearning for a connection with someone else, especially a romantic connection; I read about being in dive bars and strip clubs and drinking and my friends drinking; I read little one-off jokes and about boring weekends where I did nothing at all but eat and run. I read about complaints about politics and complaints about my neighbors.
There was a consistent cast of characters: random unnamed customers for whom I did computer work; a shortlist of strippers I really really really liked, like Sharai and Áine and Stormy; folks in my neighborhood like the barista J., and my next-door neighbor Old Barfy, and the convenience store guy Dave; and my friends, Tracy, Ken, and Kevin; and a random assortment of fellow bus passengers or bar patrons.
People who did not regularly appear: women I was dating—for the most part, those women did not want to be immortalized in a podunk blog, but also, I didn’t start dating much until much later in my blog’s timeline.
There were many posts I did not remember writing at all. Once I read the post, I could vaguely recall the experience, but the memories and feelings of those events I had decided to document had fallen out of my brain; the only emotional connection I had was in the words on my screen. It was as close to an out-of-body experience as I have ever had. Yes, Brian had written those words, after living through those experiences; but that Brian was gone, had been gone for a really long time.
But by all that’s holy the way I had written those things were inspirational to me now. I had written those posts! Me! Imagine it! Those words had come out of my mind and through my fingers onto a screen. I nearly wept from the conception that I had once been capable of capturing the yearning, the joy, the reckless disregard I had for saving face or covering up my flaws. My flaws, my human nature, was all there on the screen for anyone to see.
I had written with the dream that someone, someday, would read what I had to say. But that had been followed by years of beating myself up with the club of believing no one had, and no one will, ever read them, only to wake up one day seeing a bar graph tell me that someone is out there.
And it all turns out (turns out!) that the most emotional impact my old posts would have is on me, years later, remembering the Brian-That-Was.
Hey, Past-Me. Thank you for the memories. I miss you, sometimes.