Chasing the dream

Saturday February 25, 2006

Sometime in the last twenty-four hours the hit meter on my website clicked over another million mark, bringing the current total to 4,003,752 since I reset the old counter to zero on December 1, 2001. Apart from the obvious—to say: thanks!—I’m not sure what to make of this as an event.

Like just about any other online writer, I keep track of hits (currently running at an average of 4743 per day) and ‘visitors’ (1232) to assure myself that I’m not wasting my time. I’d be more than satisfied with lower numbers but you can’t help a small feeling of accomplishment as the numbers go up, and steadily accelerate as the years go by.

To some degree, the numbers have made me lazy. I long since gave up the struggle to get published on paper, in magazines and in book form, for the simple reason that I felt the effort and frustration not worthwhile. You send a couple of poems off, wait six months, and then, mostly, get a rejection slip. Sometimes, with busy editors, you have to beg even for that. On the rare occasions when something actually makes it through to publication, your success is seldom marked by any financial reward. You’re lucky if you get a freebie copy of the magazine. Even when you do get something out there, the readership of such publications is generally limited to a couple of hundred copies.

Just not worth the blood, sweat and tears. Leastways, I don’t think so. Not for me. Not in what’s left of my lifetime—I have better things to do.

So, I shall carry on in my own sweet fashion, writing the journal, the occasional poem and the even more occasional story. It keeps me off the streets, as Graham is wont to say.

It’s a measure of the excitement of the day, I suppose, that the premier event was the ticking over of a notional meter.

Happily, funds for the laptop have been rolling in as steadily as the meter has been ticking over and look set to hit the target in time for me to acquire one before the move down to the caravan. I’m looking forward to documenting our time there, and the hunting for a house and, like enough, the process of restoring it when once we’ve found it.

We’re still waiting for the phone to ring; the end of February approaches fast, and it can’t be long now before the deal gets nailed down by exchange of contracts. We’ve sort of thought that I should depart for Somerset on house-hunting duty as soon as we pass that milestone but I’m not too keen. Rather, we shall probably start packing, shift our stuff into storage as soon as possible, and move down to the caravan just as quickly as we can. The summer season starts picking up for Graham in mid-April, intermittently at first, and we want to get as much house-hunting done together as we can before he’s completely absorbed in his job.

Somewhere within a twenty mile radius of West Quantoxhead a little old cottage is dreaming quietly away at the end of a lane waiting for us to come along and love it.

It’s unlikely to be large, or grand. Our budget will not stretch to that. But it’ll be loved, and lovingly restored over the next few years. It’s doubtful that it’ll be easy or quick to find. We have the luxury of time, though, and I can spend the entire summer and early autumn hunting for our dream house if need be.

And, truth to tell, we do seem to be set on chasing the dream this time. We have a belief that if you want something bad enough, and are willing to work for it, you will find it. Might take a while, but you will find it.

What shall I do when we’ve achieved the dream? Settle down and enjoy it, that’s what. I have poems and books to write, and pictures to make. Flowers to grow, and wild birds to feed and to watch. Graham is determined that, once we’re settled in West Somerset, we shall not move away from it again. Suits me.

 

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