Someone in Germany spent a few minutes checking out my website, according to Google Analytics. I always view these things with skepticism—it could be a false reading, or just some enterprising hacker who’s trying to get my personal information—but there is always, the chance, however small, that they are actually reading what I wrote.
The same thing goes for that little ding in traffic from The Philippines and South Africa. Yes, these too, could be false readings, or these two people could be part of a vast international hacking ring whose reach extends to Germany.
There is always the possibility, however, that something truly wonderful has happened: someone from another country, someone I don’t know at all, is reading my writing.
At the moment, I know of no personal friend who is visiting Germany, The Philippines, or South Africa. I have never been to these places. I know no one who lives there.
Yet there is always the possibility, no matter how small, that they now know me.
About a week ago, I also got a hit from Japan. When I was a kid I had a friend from who came here from Japan, and went back there to work in Tokyo. Maybe, I thought it, was him.
Yet if my scant knowledge of Japanese geography is any indicator, it came from someone else. Okay, maybe my friend was there on business, but once again, there’s the possibility that it isn’t him, and that yes, some complete stranger stumbled onto my writing, and decided to stick around for a bit.
In other words, there is the possibility that I can now indeed say that my writing has gone international.
It doesn’t matter, at this moment, that my international reach totals about ten minutes of screen time (provided, of course, that this screen time didn’t involve getting my credit card numbers). The fact remains that there is that possibility, no matter how small, that someone in another country decided to spend a few minutes of their life, minutes that they will never get back, reading my writing.
I am beyond chuffed at this point. Perhaps, yes, my joy is similar to that of Steve Martin in the “The Jerk,” when he gleefully exclaims that the new phone books have arrived, eagerly scans the pages, and then, when he’s stopped on the page he’s looking for, says “there…my name in print!” Yet the joy remains, and is a mighty feeling.
When you send your writing out into the world—when you send any creative endeavor into the world, actually—you spend most of your time alone in a room, wondering if anyone, anyone at all outside of your loyal friends, is taking time to take in the things you’ve done. The farther away those people are, the more satisfying it is when you find out that yes, indeed, someone you don’t know is checking it out.
The whole thing makes me want to fly to these countries right now, find these people, and hug them in gratitude. Or, in the case of that person from Japan, stand there politely, bow my head—for I shall never learn the full intricacies of Japanese bowing etiquette—and offer them my business card, making sure to take their business card with my arms extended, and both hands facing up. I will look at the card, put it into a special case that I’ve bought for the specific purpose of storing cards that Japanese people hand me (for a business card is an extension of that person in Japan), and give them that wide, toothy grin so typical of foreigners.
This is awesome. I’ve gone international. It’s as if the world is saying “keep writing.”
And so I shall.