Today's the day: 1,000 posts!
OK, some posts were kind of lame (like, "sorry folks, not gonna post for a while, I'm traveling to…") and some were merely links to cool articles that I read. Some posts were breathless accounts of pop culture phenomena that quickly vanished (cue obligatory link to my first Chatroulette post). But, overall, this blog has provided me a rich opportunity to work through ideas that culminated in City Ubiquitous, fortified several public lectures (especially the one in Denver), and are, even now, helping me develop new essays on topics that include origami architecture and world's fairs.
Woodland Shoppers Paradise started about four years ago, first as a daily blog - even on weekends. These days I'm happy to post about four days a week, and sometimes I don't accomplish even that goal. Still, I consider it an important form of mental exercise. Initially I saw this site as an entirely separate thing from my teaching; now I regularly integrate posts into supplemental reading recommendations (especially when students struggle with things like semicolons!). I'm not a great writer, but Woodland has helped me get a little better. Here you see my enthusiasms, my excesses, my fears, my frustrations, my hopes, and my inchoate notions. Woodland is me in draft-form.
Over the past 1,000 posts, Woodland has shaped several projects that continue to thrive, such as Wood's Writing Guide. A few others, such as Road Trip Essentials, lie dormant yet may flourish again one day. My favorite ongoing project is Daytime Dispatches, an annual dive into the miasma of daytime television shows. I can't imagine that more than a handful of folks drop in to share my suffering at those hours of raunchy talk-show schlockfests and cheesy bodice-ripping soap operas, but I still prepare for the day like I'm heading to battle. ["Daytime Dispatches Four" is scheduled for Friday, June 24th!]
This blog has meant a lot to me. Sometimes it meant something to other folks too. Some one-shot posts, such as my reflections on Suicide, inspired friendships that enrich my life years after I clicked "publish." And I'm still amazed at the number of responses to my recollections about Webb's City, my all-time most popular post (judging by comments). Not every writing effort was so fruitful though. Some posts - I'm looking at you We made it. Can we unmake it? - called forth my swing-for-the-fences response to Big Problems. The response? Crickets. My Learning to Fly post seemed like a good piece of how-to-live-life philosophy. No feedback (maybe for good reason). You never know which posts will make a difference.
Looking back on 1,000 posts I am especially grateful to several fans who regularly share comments. As any blogger will tell you, readers who take the time to share commentary, suggestions, encouragement, and even critique offer a gift worth more than dollars (which isn't saying much these days, but you know what I mean). Frequently I've felt that I was writing with one or two people specifically in mind - anticipating their responses as I arranged ideas, images, and arguments. Let me tell you, writing is so much better, so much more fun, that way. Ultimately Woodland is for me. But I get such pleasure at the idea that other folks have found it useful too.
Most of all, I want to take this moment to thank Jenny Wood, my wife and best friend. Jenny has read more posts more carefully and more patiently than anyone else in the world. She is my unofficial copy-editor and reality-checker. If Jenny says that an idea is half-baked; it's half-baked. I may argue and I may cringe, but I've learned to trust her instincts. I may still drop some bombs of silliness or error into the blogosphere now and again, but Jenny's eagle eye has helped keep Woodland Shoppers Paradise on a firm foundation. Thank you, sweetheart, for visiting, for commenting, for reposting, and for encouraging me to keep at it.
OK, enough congratulations. Let's wrap this thing up with one final item. If you've ever wondered about the name, Woodland Shoppers Paradise - if you've ever asked, "Why'd he call it that?" - well, back in '07 I didn't give it much thought. I was playing around with the interface for Blogspot (as Blogger was called back then) and I had to put something into the name field. It was just a lark, this blogging thing. I didn't think it would last a month or two. And I like the idea of a blog as a mall; you can amble about, find what you like, and enjoy the pleasure of feeling slightly overwhelmed by the spectacle. A lot of this stuff is surface-level glitz. You won't find much depth in a mall, or in this blog. Anyway, the name seemed catchy enough. And I wasn't thinking about a long-term project.