Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy 8th Birthday

It's not like I have a ton of responsibilities.  I should be able to produce more than 21 posts a year, particularly when 3 of them are written by others.

Yes, you read that right, there were exactly as many posts written between April 1, 2015 - April 1, 2016 as there were from April 1, 2014 - April 1, 2015.  Flying Houses is not even a bi-monthly newsletter.

It's pathetic is what it is!  You know I've spent a lot of time over the past 8 years building this database, but does anybody really care about it?  We've had a few "celebrity visitors" in our time, but overall, this blog is not going viral anytime soon.

We now currently sit at 93,445 page views.  So we should hit 100,000 this year.  I should say that my page views are roughly current with the miles on my '05 Civic, but that car is 3 years older than this blog.  I hope to use that car for another 10 years (at least) and I hope to keep this blog another 30 years (or until I write my special comment on "facing the void").  Is it fatalistic to expect to die at 62?  I think if I got married I could go into my 80's, but if life continues its present course, I will remain single and yes, die prematurely.

Our growth slowed slightly, but again I haven't made many efforts to make many new friends or publicize the blog.   The current balance on my Google AdSense earnings is now $30.95, which means I "made" $1.74 on ad revenue over the past year (I have never been paid, as has been previously explained). (Note: I am testing out a new ad layout in an attempt to get paid more quickly.  If you find it particularly obnoxious--I am concerned it draws attention away from the links on the upper right, as well as the archived posts--please let me know in a comment.)

Perhaps our MD&A over here at FH harps on the same points every April Fool's Day, the primary point being "WTF."
WTF, why can't I get paid to write?
WTF, why doesn't anyone offer me a book deal?
WTF, can't you see I'm trying very hard here, on top of being a full-time attorney?
WTF, don't you think if I devoted myself full-time to writing that I could turn out a better product?
WTF, don't you think the product is pretty damn good as it stands?
WTF, who else is putting out content as relentlessly independent as FH?  
WTF, do you like me or should I just STFU?

These April Fool's Day MD&As do not consist of falsehoods, but operate as sarcastic truths.
You can't get paid to write because you are, in fact, a bad writer (at least one person has assured me).
You can't get a book deal because your blog is not a cultural phenomenon, and does not suggest that you will develop a bankable audience.
You may be trying hard, but it's getting to the point where you need to prioritize.  Everybody can't just be Scott Turow if they want to be.
You will never know because the only time when you would be able to devote yourself full-time to writing is when you might be otherwise unemployed, and at such times you are hounded by doubts that you are spending your time as productively as possible (i.e. writing instead of job searching).
Your product is pretty damn good, I agree, but sometimes you also get lazy and write tons of shit that would never be considered publishable by a reputable source of book reviews like the NYT or Bookslut.
Everyone else whose head isn't on straight and still thinks they've been misunderstood and discounted for the past 32 years.
Me personally, I like you, but sometimes I really don't, and I think you should STFU on your insecurities and focus on the more palatable truths on which you'll have greater agreement from the masses.

Nobody ever got a book deal by whining and saying, I really am good--look at all I've done!  So without further ado, here are the top 5 posts of the past year.

Wait, before I get there, here are the top 5 most popular posts of the past year (the number is total page views--yes my numbers really are that sad):
(1) NIED #26: 185 (because I'll always be most famous for my comments on legal education)
(2) Happy 7th Birthday: 150 (because people love reading lists and MD&As)
(3) The Pale King: 95 (because DFW is gone but not forgotten)
(4) WITAWITAR: 84 (because Murakami is so in right now)
(5) Why We Write About Ourselves: 82 (tie with Please Kill Me) (because it got retweeted by the author)

#5: S/M: Experience #4
This is the final chapter in my second novel which has managed to avoid serialization on a blog to this point.  It may not survive 2016 in its hidden form because it is quickly becoming obsolete.  Whatever I wrote about in 2007-2008 has already changed.  Regardless, it was posted on 9/11/15 because this chapter depicts that very as-yet-unknown date in the future.  I had predicted that 9/11 would be made a national holiday.  While that was wrong, it remains a "holiday week" at the Daley Center, and all attorneys must pass through security in remembrance of how dangerous we all might be.

#4: Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life
This is just an extremely long review of a very long book that is also very good (one of the "Best Books of Flying Houses").  Carver is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century and I hope to review each of his collections before the end comes.

#3: Modern Romance
This is just a controversial choice that I'm surprised did not get more views.  I thought it was more titillating than any of the other reviews (except perhaps NIED #26).

#2: Chicago Cubs 2015 Report Card
A yearly Chicago Cubs report card has become as great a tradition on FH as has this MD&A.  Truly, this was the most sublime yet, though my younger brother suggested that there were many things he disagreed with (Jason Hammel and Tommy LaStella in particular).  I was worried about tweeting it @ Jon Lester when I suggested that he must have a complex over the fact that he was getting paid 40 times more than Kyle Hendricks and yet barely pitched any better than him (Michael also suggested that I oversold Hendricks, but I do not think that is the case as he has retained the #5 spot in the rotation, at this juncture, at least).

#1: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Really I think any of the above are better than this, but I felt this was one of the few instances where I offered a "critique."  It's possible I'm susceptible to the accusation that I'm not a real "critic" because I don't say enough books are bad.  Certainly, this is not a bad book, but I didn't consider it the greatest of the 21st century.

Finally, thank you all for reading.  I never really address you often enough, but if you are paying attention, know that I appreciate it.  All too often I feel as if I am speaking into a void, though even if I am, I am glad to lay down a body of work which at least includes an ur-text on The Beautiful and Damned (821 views on April 1, 2012; 5,597 views on April 1, 2016).   


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on eight years with this site. I always wonder why people stick it out with law and the legal profession. You have talent in other areas, why did you choose law? Why are you still involved in the profession? When I hear most people talk about it or read people's posts about law, I can't help but feel that it is just an all around awful profession.

JK said...

Thank you!
I think people stick it out with law and the legal profession because they have good careers. If you don't have a good career, it is quite miserable. My salary is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum and there are very few benefits (I don't have to pay for CLEs, which is nice, but I do have to get health insurance for myself, vacation policy is weak, barely any paid holidays, no retirement plan) and there are many weak cases and difficult clients. I definitely get so depressed some days that I want to die, but other times it is not so bad.
I'm not sure if I have any talent in other areas, but I chose law for foolish reasons. There were no jobs in publishing or journalism or editing or anything "English major related" (even though I wasn't an English major) so I would work in restaurants, or do accounting, or proofreading, and all the jobs just did not have upward mobility. I wanted that and a stable career and I guess a lot of other people did at the time too and now there are too many attorneys and not enough good jobs to go around. I'll stay involved in it until I'm done with my loans (which I won't pay off, and they'll hopefully go away when I'm 52) or until I can get a job that will pay better and offer long-term security.
As a final note I'll add that a lot of the misery may have to do with my practice area, and I think if I was practicing something like corporate bankruptcy, I'd be much more satisfied.