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I'm Big in Japan Pt. III

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm Big in Japan Pt. III

Got a couple poems up at the Railroad Poetry Project, an upstart ezine over there in England paying tribute to those responsible for my ruin, the Beats.  The two poems selected by editor Jade Willetts feature two of my favorite things to write about: the struggle of the working class and the forfeiture of one's dreams, and the hardscrabble life of the derelict and delinquent.  You can find those poems here:  My stuff starts around page 55, but you should read it all, because it's really good shit (even if it is poetry).  (My Berlin friends might recognize the impetus for the locale of the paper mill.)  Again, thanks to Jade for seeking me out and asking to feature my work.  (And for referring to me as "Joe Clifford, the accomplished American writer" in his introduction, which may stretch the tenets of reality, but it's still nice to read.)

You never know what you're getting with these new e-journals, and a lot of times the layout looks amateurish and low rent, but I have to say Jade and Co. have done a top-notch job.  All you Beat-flavored writer friends of mine (and I'm talking to you, J.J.), send 'em your best.


One of the coolest features of Blogger, the engine that hosts this goddamn thing, is that it not only let's you see how many people are reading what you write every day, but also where they are from, which posts are proving most popular, what days consistently garner the biggest crowd, etc. (  Which is a great way to kill a Monday evening when you're latest short story is rounding out to shit.  It's pretty remarkable, to me at least, that anyone outside of my wife and closest friends would so religiously read this blog.  (But you read it, so I write it.) But what really gets me is how many folks outside the US are fans.  I've broken these numbers down before (, as well as charted my international appeal in the marginally popular "I'm Big in Japan" series.

So there's no reason to traverse the same ground.  Except that every time I check, there is one post that is read, every day, all over the globe: "Burning Man II" (, which is, far and away, the most read, most successful blog post I have.  Not Part I.  Not the woefully disappointing Matrix-esque overkill Pt. III.  Part II.  Now we're not talking astronomical numbers, not like Stuff White People Like ( or Hyberbole and a Half (, which get millions (or at least hundreds of thousands) of hits.

I have, like, 45,000 hits on this blog so far, over the course of like 250 entries, but those 3 days I spent writing about Burning Man account for nearly 1/20th of those hits.  Pretty strange.  And it's every day.  From from all over the world, people reading that one post, "Burning Man II."

Most of these posts are ones and done.  I pick a daily topic, write a few paragraphs, post it on Facebook and Twitter, and then go blast my pecs.

I'll check the stats at the end of the day, and since early September, no matter what I've written, "Burning Man II" is either the first or second most read entry for that day.  So my question is, why does this one post (with the original "Burning Man" not to far behind) resonate so goddamn much?  It's like every day someone is forwarding it to a few friends, who forward it the next day, and so on.  And while this isn't enough to be remotely considered viral, it's so fucking consistent.  Just yesterday, I had readers  in Bulgaria, Russia, and Micronesia read that post.  Now I wrote that back in, what, late August?  And since, like, the second week of September, with all these daily readers, no one has left a comment.

Which has me worried.  Every time I open my door, I half expect to be ambushed by Leeloo and thrown in a VW bus and sacrificed on the altar of a Phish concert.

Maybe I am overreacting.  But this is a direct appeal to all you in Bulgaria and Micronesia and Timbuktu who keep reading my posts on Burning Man.  Are you friend or foe?  Please write a fucking comment and let me know.  Tell me who you are and why you and your comrades keep reading that one post.  I'd like to know so I can keep an eye on you so I can serve you better.

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At November 1, 2011 at 5:38 PM , Blogger Jenny Dreadful said...

Fantastic reads at Railroad! Much enjoyed.

At November 1, 2011 at 6:42 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Jenny, you should send them some stuff. Feel free to drop my name (might be the only time that will be of any use to you)...

At November 2, 2011 at 3:34 PM , Blogger Jenny Dreadful said...

I read the stuff, and went "They are not in my league. My league is the skinny kid with braces and the fat kid with asthma." But I'll certainly give it a try. (And thank you for the name dropping privileges.)


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