Friday, February 15, 2008

The Seventy Faces Of Sue

The nice people over at Harcourt (beloved publisher of Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone and just maybe of Possible Third Book) got it into their collective heads that I'd be happy knowing how big my blog's slowly gained readership actually is.

I demurred, but they persisted. So at their collective insistence, I joined up with a service called Feedburner that claims to tell you this sort of stuff. I spent a minimal amount of Wednesday evening signing up, and Feedburner promptly assured me that not enough time had passed for it to give me the numbers I wanted, so I shouldn't feel upset when it said absolutely no one ever read my blog.

The next morning, when Feedburner still informed me that absolutely no one ever read my blog, I decided to play a little trick on it. I went to my mother's apartment, turned on her computer, and went to my blog. I even showed my mother the poll I had going. She oohed and ahhed in appropriate maternal fashion, and then we went searching for Jewish cemetaries in Orange County, New York. We oohed and ahhed over those as well.

This morning I raced over to Feedburner, and it said, in a kindly yet somewhat condescending way, that absolutely no one had ever read my blog.

Well, Feedburner must know. Harcourt recommended it. But there were 28 votes on my poll, which might have suggested that at some point 28 people had visited my blog long enough to vote Yes or No.

It was then that I realized what must have happened. I'd instructed Feedburner not to count any visits from my own computer to my blog. So I must be absolutely the only person who had ever read my blog. Therefore it stood to reason that I have multiple personalities, two thirds of whom thought it was a good idea for me to publish my P3B outline, and one third who didn't.

I decided to search even further for my various personalities, so I made a list of all the names used on comments since this blog began. I found seventy of them, with the three most dominant, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Anonymous, and Marci. I have no idea how I'm going to break it to Marci that she is merely a figment of my neurotic personality.

And while Norman Bates was satisified just being his own mother, I have been my mother, my brother, and my sister-in-law. I guess Norman was an only child.

Wanting confirmation of this extraordinary discovery, I raced to a mirror, and took a snapshot of what I saw reflected back at me.

Apparently seventeen of my personalities were camera shy. Either that, or it was a very small mirror.

While I am perfectly healthy, Personalities 19-32 woke up at four this morning coughing, and instead of falling back asleep, came up with a fabulous bleakity bleak addition to P3B. I'm pretty sure the Fourth Row From The Bottom Third Personality From The Left was responsible. But while I love this new bleakity bleak addition, it got me thinking that maybe P3B should take place five years after the meteor crashes into the moon, and not four. The longer things are bad, the more bad I can make things (or so Top Row Right Most Personality tells me).

While it was nice fantasizing that actual people (albeit mostly named Anonymous) actually read my blog on actual occasions, I've adjusted pretty easily to the idea that my slowly gained readership consists of me and my sixty nine alternate personalities. If nothing else, that means on Sunday I get to eat birthday cake for seventy!


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to comment that I am a real person and I do read your blog.

Becky said...

You are just too funny! One of the many many reasons why I regularly read your blog!

Anonymous said...

I read your blog religiously M-F. I have to admit that I don't even come near a computer during the weekend.

Hope you enjoyed your snow day. Unfortunately, the Texas snowday did not pan out and I am currently sitting in class with 60, equally disappointed, students.

Jen Robinson said...

I've always thought that I was a real person. It's sad to discover that I may just be a figment of your imagination. But if I have to be a figment of someone's imagination, I'm certainly glad that it's a writer, so that I have some chance of becoming real (in an Pinocchio sort of way).

But seriously, I read your blog all the time. I mostly read using Google Reader, unless I click through to comment. Google Reader shows 23 subscribers to your feed. And that's just one service. A lot of people use BlogLines or JacketFlap to read blogs.

Anonymous said...

If you could imagine me taller, younger and with a bit more hair it would be much appreciated.


Suzanne said...

I'm a real person too, and bloglines says that 13 people read your blog.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello to Anonymous and Becky and Anonymous and Jen Robinson and Anonymous Glen and Suzanne-

Or as I've learned to say it- Hello to Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, and Me (I gather Marci hasn't found out yet that she's Me also)-

I hope you spotted yourselves in the photograph. I'm pretty sure Anonymous was Second Row From The Top Third Personality From The Right, but it's possible that was Anonymous and Anonymous was actually Fifth Row Down Second Personality From The Left.

I would appreciate it if the appropriate personalities would stop sneezing already. My personality is going to the ballet tomorrow and we all need to be healthy for Me to enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

A most Happy Birthday, by the way.


Lee said...

Almost happy b-day Susan!

Well, I know for a *fact* that 13 people have you bookmarked on bloglines, me inlcuded. Here are a small list of names who made it public:

ambroseh01 - subscribed since August 8, 2007
gnomeloaf - subscribed since June 15, 2007
misserin - subscribed since June 5, 2007
smfmpls - subscribed since October 31, 2007
sotomorrow - subscribed since November 30, 2007

I doubt you would call yourself "gnomeloaf" on purpose. :)

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I'm highly suspicious of feedburner accounts, since it once told me I had 65 subscribers on a brand new feed. I give the service the stink eye these days.

I just started reading your blog! You can blame Becky, she's up above me somewhere. She recced your books, and I am a notorious author stalker. But only the normal sort of stalking that is not going to break laws.


Marci said...

Well, all I can say is that as a figment of your imagination and one of your personalities (we can discuss at length which one, but you always tell me I know everything, so I guess it is your omniscient one) I expect to show up in one of your books at some point, besides just the dedication page.

Which brings up another interesting point. Are all the persons named on your dedication page also figments of your imagination? Maybe they too are looking at your blog, posting on your blog and they don't exist either.

It would seem that I am a very active figment. I am exhausted from it!

BTW, drugs of the legal prescribed type will get rid of the cough. And I am over whatever tried to get me, but since I am a figment, it scarcely matters.

We'll have to find you a decent blog counter. One ate your comments and the other wiped out your entire slowly gained readership. There has to be a blog counter out there which is not out to get you. And if the blog counter is cute, this would be even better. A cute blog counter would be an enormous benefit.

Hey, maybe Sara can get a job as a blog counter!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Lee, Bottle-Of-Shine (my seventy first personality) and Marci-

I really think I'm happier not knowing how many (i.e. few) people actually read my blog. I mean, I write fiction for a living. I know how to make things up, and that includes anything that helps feed my robust ego.

I didn't want to get too deep in Feedburner because it promised to do all kinds of stuff I found intrusive- like e-mailing blog entries to poor unsuspecting human beings. I suppose that could be regarded as a conveniece, but it just seemed pushy for me to do it.

And we all know what a quiet self-effacing soul I am!

Anonymous said...

Well, seeing as how I am no longer anonymous, (formerly known as Anonymous Jennifer T.) since the addition of OpenID, that must make me a real person. But then again, sometimes us extra personalities take on true forms; so maybe I am transforming in some way. ;) Which, is fine. I won't mind being one of your many personalities, Susan.

I love being a figment of your imagination! Keep up the great work!! (BTW, Love the MySpace profile.)

Caroline said...

I want to take Feedburner hostage until he makes me more dominant than Marci =P I check this blog every day O_O so imagine how much Marci and the Anonymous check this blog! [every few hours maybe?!] I wonder if this burner thing will work on LJ... hmm.

Reading Fool said...

If I'm going to be a figment of your imagination, could you make me three or four inches taller than I really am? It would be so nice to be able to see over counters and reach the shelves above them. Oh...I wonder about Feedburner, too. I don't really understand some of what it's telling me. (Reach? Hunh?) But after I discovered I was supposed to put a different link in my Blogger template and made the change, I did have the satisfaction (relief) of seeing increased numbers in my Feedburner report. If I can find where I found the information, I'll pass it on to you.

Mr. Cavin said...

Hey, happy almost birthday. I wanted to be the first person to wish you a great day on your birthday, but I am afraid this is not meant to be since our apartment went electrically insane today, and while the surge suppressors and fuses protected all the regular stuff, the internet connection was baked with the demise of the Vietnamese modem. The wireless place I am in closes at nine, so I have to go ahead with my comment three and a half hours early. But just think, because one of your personalities is in this time zone, you can start celebrating your birthday at noon Saturday EST. And I am expecting presents tomorrow since apparently I am another year older in February instead of October.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello Jnifr3, Caroline, Reading Fool and Mr. Cavin-

You know, I didn't go on the cheap when I named all my multiple personalities (well, except for the Anonymous one). No Eve White/Eve Black for me. Look at those names- they have character. Maybe even oomph.

Caroline (and this is a conversation from Myspace, I think)- maybe you could download LAWKI the audio book- I know Amazon offers a download. That might be a way you could get a copy in a manner of speaking.

Thank you Reading Fool for explaining at least part of the problem I had with Feedburner. Maybe someday I'll explore the issue further, but in the meantime I seem perfectly happy knowing no one reads my blog. It gives me more freedom to write what I want (and with spellcheck refusing to work anymore, it gives me more freedom to spell as I want).

And thanks for my early birthday wishes, all the way from Vietnam (and Long Island and everywhere else). I've cut down on my pre-birthday celebration (Janet and I are skipping the Frick) because I'm still fighting my itsy bitsy cold. But I'll be leaving in about an hour and a half to go to her place, and then we'll drive into NYC and eat dinner at a Tunisian restaurant and go to the ballet.

I don't really have plans for tomorrow (although I expect I'll get phone calls), and then Monday, I start killing off all humanity again with P3B.

Present personalities excepted, of course!

Dawn said...

Man, I look really good as one of your seventy personalities. I hope you are well aware that I am one of the sassy voices you hear.

Your blog is wicked cool, don't sweat the widget issues.


Marci said...

Happy Birthday! Welcome to your next decade.

Sorry about the Frick (one of my favorite places) but hope the rest went well. My advice on the cough and cold is a prescription drug.

Enjoy the day!

Reading Fool said...

Happy birthday! I hope you had a wonderful day!

Alice said...

You know, Sue, I believe you are mistaken. I hate to break it to you, but the truth is, you, Marci, and all 68 of your personalities are figments of MY imagination.

Anonymous said...

I popped over on a recommendation from someone in your online book club. Amusing indeed. I'm a photographer and I simply must know what filter you used to get that fabulous shot!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Alice and welcome Wheremytruthlives (now there's one classy name for a personality)-

Alice knows a heck of a lot more about photography than I do, but my guess is Marci, previously known as Alice's mother but now relegated to being a figment of Alice's imagination, would probably claim a filter is exactly what I lack.

Alice took some incredible shots of the eclipse of the moon, an eclipse, I'm shamefaced to admit, I totally forgot about.

If you want to see my shamefaced personality, it's second row down, third from the right.

It's always a pleasure to have you drop in, Alice. And I hope to see more of you, wherethetruthlives, now that you know where I live.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Oops. I apologize. I invite wheremytruthlives to drop by and I get the name wrong!

Wheremytruthlives can now call me Susan Beth Pfeiffer forever.

Which reminds me. My father, whose name was Leo Pfeffer, once got a letter addressed to Leo Leper.

I would prefer it, however, if wheremytruthlives doesn't call me that!

rbury said...

I read "The Life We Knew" yesterday. I enjoyed it inspite of the fact that the main character, Laura seemed to be able to handle the entire disaster without a single misstep. I was dismayed to find some inaccuracies that will now be perpetuated. First, the entire nation was intensely interested in the first moon walk. Interest did wane a bit for subsequent missions but "Star Trek", which was state-of-the-art for the time was not the reason. Finally, anyone who truly believes that any man who is willing and able to be voted into the office of President of the United States is an idiot is showing their own lack of intelligence. No matter their party, once the voting is over, we need to be more grateful for their courage and fortitude.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Rbury and welcome to the blog-

I'm always intrigued by which entry people respond to when they first post. Fortunately, Google lets me know where everybody is so I can respond.

I was 21 in the summer of 1969, and I have fairly strong memories of what was going on in my life at that time. I had very little interest in the moon landing (I knew it was going on, and that was about it). The only person I can recall really being interested in it was a cousin of mine, and I remember thinking how strange it was he cared.

My goddaughter was born on July 20, 1969, and among her many interests is the space program. It's fun to see all the souvenirs that were produced in honor of the first moon landing.

But at the time, no one I knew would have wanted any of them (probably not even my cousin, an architect with very good taste).