When I asked you for questions for my birthday, I was thinking I’d get the kinds of gossipy things I usually see in interviews, although they aren’t the things I want to know other people’s lives. You see, I’m really a wannabe stalker. That’s why I make my living writing profiles of interesting, intelligent people. It totally gives me an excuse to dig into their lives without being creepy and sort of illegal. I’m sort of the paparazzi of the doctoral set.
But, no, no one asked me what my favorite cookbook is (The Joy of Cooking) or who my favorite author is (guess). I got a lot of pretty intense questions, just the kinds of things I wonder about other people. I have a deeply rooted habit of imagining other people’s lives. I totally thought this was normal until about six weeks ago when I casually asked my husband, “Do you ever wonder what someone’s life is like when you see them on the street?”
“Um, no,” he answered, interrupting my contemplation of whether a woman in sneakers and workout clothes waiting at a crosswalk was in a stable relationship, whether she had children, what her relationship with her siblings was like, and how often she worries about global warming. I have these questions pretty much continually when I’m around other people. If I’m driving, I’m using whatever part of my brain isn’t watching for traffic or composing Facebook status updates to think about the people I’m seeing. I thought this was how all people go about their days until I asked my husband about it. “You think way too much,” he told me.
Anyway, I got several very deep and interesting questions, which I’ll begin to tackle today. The first – from my Facebook page – was quite flattering, so we’ll start there:
“Do you have ANY idea how many people follow/enjoy your words? I, for one, have followed your blog for close to five years and I still enjoy it as much as I did the very first time I stumbled across it. I routinely share posts with my life partner and many others, depending on the topic. Happy birthday, Emily! Thank you for sharing your life with us.”
Clearly a woman after my own heart. She would have gladly spent 20 minutes discussing the probable life of the woman waiting at the crosswalk.
I actually don’t really know how many people read this blog. I know there used to be a whole lot more back before blogging became passé. I estimate about 500 people, but I could be completely off the mark.
It used to bother me that I couldn’t make it big, but I decided quite some time ago to be a writer who blogs rather than a blogger who writes. This freed me to use this space as I wish, without regard for what will drive stats or bring me notoriety.
Nowadays, when I write a post inviting people to ask me questions, I get eight questions. But they’re really thoughtful questions, and I’d rather have seven thoughtful readers than a whole bunch of people asking my bra size (34B, maybe C on a good day).
Over the next week or so, I’ll answer the questions that came in and any more you want to send my way. And please know that I value every single one of you 500 +/- readers, and I’m honored that this many smart people devote such considerable time to reading my words.