Yes, we've arrived at a definite milestone: ten years of blogging, ten years since that momentous day in 2003 when, dismayed by the invasion of Iraq, and encouraged by my Icelandic friend and neighbor, Helgi, and my husband Jonathan (both more familiar with a new phenomenon, the weblog, than I was) I decided to launch something myself that felt more positive and hopeful.
Good Lord, I had absolutely no idea what it would lead to, or how it would change my life!
Some statistics...The Cassandra Pages was originally on Blogger. In the first 2 years, between March 20, 2003 and April 11, 2005, I wrote 731 posts - almost one a day. There've been 54,456 pageviews to date on that archived blog -- it still gets about 50 a day, almost all of them coming from Google searches.
After moving to TypePad in 2005, I've written 1603 posts, received 10,008 comments, and 541,965 pageviews. Visits are down from their highest point, some years ago, as they are all over the blogosphere; mine average between 180 and 190 per day -- and I'm grateful for every single one.
In the end, I'm not sure statistics mean much, though without the awareness of a steady stream of readers, and the development of relationships with many of them through the comments, email, and my own visits to their blogs, I'm not sure I would have kept this obsessive project (or is it a habit?) going this long.
On the other hand, though, what emerges is a body of work. It isn't conventional, or even graspable, and perhaps will be impermanent, but I know that it is, in fact, THE body of artistic work accomplished in my lifetime which most closely represents me. It's also taught me the most. Once upon a time I wasn't satisfied with that. Now, I am.
For as much as I sometimes have wished to be otherwise, I am not first and foremost a novelist or a painter, a writer of non-fiction books or a photographer or printmaker. I'm a reader, and observer, and an integrator, whose chosen form is the informal essay, illustrated with my own photographs or artwork, and whose perfect medium of expression is the blog. Being a blogger became an intrinsic part of my identity: like someone who works in watercolors or oils, I see the world and my daily life through an intimacy with this medium. It used to feel a bit weird, like constant translating; now it's so normal I don't even think about it, even though I've become a lot more choosy about what to base my posts upon. The change from pure writing to a greater focus on art has simply mirrored what's going on in my own life, too.
I'm a person for whom any artform is incomplete without relationship. This blog has given me that, too, in ways I never expected, and poured richness into my life in the form of friendships, discussions, online groups, collaborative projects from the Ecotone Wiki to qarrtsiluni to Phoenicia Publishing and so many others.
It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that while the world has hurtled toward heightened anxiety, clashing cultures, and greater misunderstanding, my own life, over the past ten years, has done the exact opposite, and continues -- through this medium, friendships, travel, and daily life in a big multicultural city -- to open up more and more. I hope The Cassandra Pages always represents that journey toward greater possibility.
As a celebration of these ten years, my friend T.C. offered to write a few words, and inspired by his kindness I've invited a few of the people who've been blogging companions and/or longterm readers here to contribute short guest posts, which I'll be posting here over the next days. If any of you would like to join the party, you are absolutely invited -- please send me your contribution at cassandra (dot) pages (at) gmail (dot) com. And I'd be especially delighted to hear (either that way or in the comments) from the quiet but faithful readers who seldom or never communicate with me: what I do here is just as much for you as for those whose speak up regularly, and I often have you in mind as I write.
Thanks for being here!