Dear Readers and 2016

Dear readers, I’m not sure where I’m headed
I’ve gotten lost before
I’ve woke up stone drunk
Face down in the floor

“Sad Professor,” R.E.M.

The last week of 2016 has literally kicked my ass—since I lie here only slightly less immobile than I was on Christmas Eve after being hit while cycling by a car.

The year is ending with serious physical pain and the expected depression of being injured and facing an uncertain future as a cyclist.

Even the accident, however, has found its way into my enduring life as a writer through my blog post Rage.

There is much in common between being an aging athlete and a writer—the constant fear of the end: What if I can never ride my bicycle again (which has actually confronted me now)? And, what if I never have anything to write again (the immediate fear after every single thing I write)?

This blog, however, is a most wonderful thing where being a writer has immediate feedback that confirms what every writer adores: readers.

My 2016 includes over 185,000 views, 116,000 visitors (readers), and 9400 followers.

As a writer, I marvel at the kindness of strangers, but I also struggle to recognize when a piece will work and when others seem to fade away.

Although not perfect science, there is something to end-of-year top-ten lists to highlight what has resonated, although my precious ignored babies remain ignored (yes, I do write pieces and believe they are wonderful only to watch as nearly no one reads them).

Here are my top ten blog posts from 2016, ones written in 2016 (top two were from previous years, actually), and listing them is just to say “thank you” and “with love”:

  1. Dear Journalists Covering Education, Let Me Explain
  2. “Out of Time” in Post-Truth Trumplandia
  3. To High School English Teachers (and All Teachers)
  4. Student Choice, Engagement Keys to Higher Quality Writing
  5. More Thoughts on Feedback, Grades, and Late Work
  6. Not How to Enjoy Grading But Why to Stop Grading
  7. Navigating a “No Zero” Policy
  8. How the 5-Paragraph Essay Fails as Warranted Practice
  9. Teacher Education and A Call to Activism
  10. Teaching Literacy, Not Literacy Skills

And here are the next five, just because:

While the numbers are much smaller, I want to give a nod also to the very kind souls who read my poetry so here are my top five most viewed/read poems written in 2016:

  1. Meditation 512: The you in the space we call awake
  2. 55 in third person: a space odyssey
  3. chrysalis (i hold my words in awe)
  4. just you (superhero jesus ®)
  5. lives, eyes, & faces (these obligations)

A bit broken and hobbled, and one never prone to optimism, I am buoyed by my dear readers, and I am hopeful with words there can be action—and tomorrow will be better.

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3 thoughts on “Dear Readers and 2016

  1. What an awesome post. I loved reading about your top posts, your numbers, and the fear of never having anything to write about (something I can absolutely cosign on). I also like the idea of ‘precious ignored babies’ (a category that describes most of my posts!). I wonder what trends we can find among our most/least viewed posts.

    But moving on, thanks for all the great writing this year. I recognize most of your top posts as ones I have returned to with some level of frequency. Thanks for everything you do.

  2. Sorry to hear of your accident. Blast those drivers of automobiles! Bet a driverless car would have avoided you! And of course you will get on a bike and ride again, perhaps with more caution, but probably with the same verve. And of course you will write again, and again, and again. I suspect you write because you must; “fire in the belly,” as one of my teachers once said of the need to create. And I will continue to read your posts, enjoy them, and find they give me much to think about. Happy New Year.

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