Two-thousand and fifteen is my 5th year of blogging, and I have to say, this has been the craziest year to date.
Without a doubt, the most standout event was my moving from Blogger to WordPress. I knew this had to happen someday, but I was reluctant, for the same reasons I hate moving to a new house. All those articles and pages to transfer! Over two hundred! Plus, I wasn’t sure I’d like WordPress any better, though everyone kept telling me the same thing: Blogger is for beginners; WordPress is the big leagues.
Ironically, my moving was the result of someone trying to do me harm. After posting a Kickstarter video on YouTube, some jerk criticized me for my looks, and I went ballistic on the guy. Now, I don’t know if he was the culprit, but soon after my altercation, my Blogger site, which has been up for 5 years without a qualm, was reported for ‘objectionable content.’ My Google rankings plummeted, since whoever tried to visit me had to click past a warning page. I tried contacting Google, but they were too busy building their army of robots. And why should they bother, when all of their services are free? So I was forced to skedaddle.
Fortunately, moving to WordPress was easy. Blogger has a feature that compresses all of your articles into one big file, so the only thing you need to do is upload it to the server. But to make it look nice, I had to repost the pages individually and change all of the links. [Quick programmer’s trick: Use ‘view HTLM’ to get the code, cut and paste it into Word, then use Word’s “find and replace” feature to do the dirty work and viola! all the links are changed to the new domain name!] End result: I couldn’t be happier! WordPress has more tools and better tools, both for editing and building an audience. I have more followers than ever and I have an anonymous jerk to thank for it!
Twenty-fifteen also marks my foray into the aforementioned world of Kickstarter. After finding an editor for Ages of Aenya, someone I could trust, I needed $7000 to pay her for the job. As a lark, I turned to Kickstarter. I figured, if a guy can get fifty grand to make potato salad, why can’t I get a fraction of that for the first ever fantasy naturist novel? The results were heartbreaking, but I did learn two valuable lessons: 1) Raising funds is hard. and 2) Nudists/naturists are not very inclined to helping struggling writers, even if to promote their lifestyle. Still, I made new fans, to whom I am indebted. Even WNBR London organizer Lady God1va supported me on Twitter, pledging $100.
Another standout event, this year saw the return of Star Wars. As a huge fan and dedicated defender (not apologist) of George Lucas, I could not help but use my blog as a soapbox, preaching the virtues of the oft-maligned prequel films. To my surprise, I met many likeminded individuals.
One thing I’ve noticed about blogs, they tend to disintegrate over time. The first year, you might see a hundred or so posts. The second, that number goes way down. By the third and fourth years, you’ll find hardly any posts at all. An abandoned blog is a sad sight to see, and so I am cognizant that I not follow that trend, unless I am focused on something more important, like my novels. This year, I am proud to say, I have written 52 articles (up from 38 last year) many of which, I think, are worthy reads. So please check out my top picks for the Writer’s Disease, 2015:
JE SUIS CHARLIE and the Threat of Absolutism: After the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris this year, I knew I had to chime in. Here, I explore the cultural roots of extremism, and how differences in thinking between East and West laid the groundwork for the kind of massacres we see happening around the world today.
The Road Less Traveled: My review of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, easily the best book I’ve read this year: a masterfully written apocalyptic vision with enormous heart.
A False Dichotomy: The Religion/Atheism Debate: I tackle the divide between the new atheist/scientific/materialist’ view and the idealist/religious’ view, finding fault in their respective approaches to understanding one another. For the atheist, the only currency in debate is evidence and reason, whereas, for religious people, emotion and personal experience holds greater sway. Without acknowledging these differences in perspective, and the reasons people hold to them, the two sides will only continue to talk past each other.
The Devil’s Advocate: Why Nudism is Wrong*: I take an in-depth look at many of the claims nudists make, particularly regarding the health/social/psychological benefits of going au natural.
The Greek Pedophile/Pederasty Stereotype: Were the Ancient Greeks predominantly homosexual? Did the teachers of the time have a penchant for man/boy love? How much of our assumptions is based on actual evidence, and how much of it is simply a misunderstanding of how history is written?
The Procession: An epic/literary poem, from my work-in-progress novel, The Princess of Aenya.
Why Don’t We Live in a Perfect (Nude) World?: My most popular post to date, with 16,000+ reads and counting. I was also contacted by two editors who asked me if they could reprint this article in their publications. One works for a naturist newspaper, the other for a New Zealand based magazine, “Go Natural.” Quick summary: I examine the evolutionary and cultural roots of shame and the nakedness taboo.
Tapestry Theory, Sam Harris, and Defining the Self: I challenge Sam Harris’ assertion that what we believe to be “the self” is an illusion, arguing that, in fact, we can define our identities by the life we live and the people we touch.