The Urban Sherpa - a blog by Christopher DeWan

(a collection of delicate quandries...)

Read Work and Other Essays, a collection of nonfiction by Christopher DeWan.

Blog of the Future rating=3

There's a blog that sometimes links to my blog, so people who read that blog sometimes read this blog too. Whenever this other blog links to my blog, I'm flattered: I sometimes doubt that anyone reads my blog. I sometimes doubt that anyone reads anyone's blog, except their own. So it's reassuring to see that someone has in fact read something on my blog, and even gone so far as to recommend that others read it, too.

In fact, whenever this other blog links to my blog, I read this other blog. It's as if their affirmation of my blog confirms my opinion of their good taste, and then I want to see what else they're thinking. I read it diligently, I'll find things I think are interesting, and often I'll add a link somewhere on my blog back to this other blog, so that presumably, the people who are reading my blog (if there are any) are now also reading this other blog, because of my recommendation. I assume this other blog sees that I've linked to them, and this causes them to read my blog more closely, and maybe find something they like enough to recommend to their readers.

It all reminds me of the closed-off glass globe they have at the Natural History Museum which has been sealed for years and contains an entire self-contained ecosystem, but would probably smell really bad if you open it up.

But it seems to work.

The closed-off glass globe and the cross-linking between blogs, that is.

However... a distressing thing has started to happen, because now this other blog is no longer linking to stories I've written. Instead, it links to stories I haven't written yet. It quotes these unwritten stories, and it points its readers to my blog seeking these stories which don't yet exist. It must be very confusing and disappointing for these readers.

The stories which the other blog says I've written, even though I haven't—I don't know if these are stories I would have written sometime in the future; but they seem interesting to me; so I write them.

I worry that the story I wind up writing is not be as good as the story that I was supposed to have written but didn't write.

These recommendations come, and I write for them, trying to catch up with their expectations, always a step behind, hoping not to fall two or three steps back, hoping not to stumble, hoping not to fall, trying to anticipate their next want, trying to fill it, to keep them happy, all of them, the readers and the future readers I don't yet have but apparently someday will. What do you want, stranger? And what will you want after that?