Josna Rege

One Year Out

In Notes on February 28, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Exactly a year ago, when, at Nikhil’s prompting, I started Tell Me Another, I never anticipated how much it would take over my life. I have just posted my 100th story and have decided that I am going to take a little break, even though­—or perhaps because—I have become accustomed to writing these pieces.  (At the same time I’m almost afraid to stop now that I’m on a roll.)

I must confess that, as Norah predicted, I have also become addicted to checking my “stats.” WordPress has recorded more than 9,300 page views to date, which, with the 29 TMA subscribers who receive each new story by email, adds up to well over 10,000 views over the past year. Nearly six months out, I learned how to put Clustrmaps on my site, and since mid-August it has recorded visits from readers in 75 countries, including (besides the usual suspects of the United States, Britain, India) Mauritius, Iceland, and Kazakhstan. (You can scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on the world map for a list of the countries.)

As enjoyable as writing the stories has been receiving your comments, on the site, on Facebook, and privately, by email. I’ve just gone through and counted comments from 83 different people. As I had hoped, you have responded with your own marvelous stories. At times you have even entered into conversation with each other and that has been especially delightful for me. Far-flung family and friends on three continents and from different parts of my life have “met” in this virtual space, and the sense of satisfaction that this has given me is very real. Thank you for your generosity and your indulgence as I have let myself get carried away this past year and you have taken the time to accompany me.

I’m not sure where I want to go from here with Tell Me Another, or whether I want to go on much longer in this vein. Some of the stories are weightier than others in both tone and subject matter; some are too sentimental, cutesy, or trite, I fear; some are of interest only to close friends and family; still others may hold a certain historical interest in capturing the flavor of a particular time and place. I wonder if any thread strings them together, however loosely? Are they too short or too long? Should I “graduate” to more serious or substantial writing? If you have any advice or preferences, Dear Readers, I would love to hear from you. (And I’m not just fishing for compliments.)

In the meantime, I will turn to other tasks, and let Tell Me Another ferment for a little while, like sourdough starter; probably not too long, though, because I’m already itching to roll out another one.

Tell Me Another

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  1. Short, long, deep, light — it’s all just fine, as long as it’s what you feel like writing about. I’ve never felt that a piece was trite or cutesy, or of interest only to your family. It feels as if I’ve been getting a look over your shoulder, so to speak, and I enjoy that feeling. You don’t need to be profound to be meaningful; and I wonder if self-conscious thinking that you must be serious might put a strain on you, and the writing, when what comes through here is your sheer pleasure in play: playing with memory, family, politics, speculation, words, philosophy, travel, time, the senses.

    The title Tell Me Another was a brilliant choice. I’d always thought of it as, “I can’t wait to hear another story!” but you pointed out to me recently, when I complimented you on your sharp memory, that I should look at the title again: Tell Me Another, as in, um-hmmm, yeah, right: fish story!

    Anyhow, whatever you do, keep it up and I’ll keep reading.

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