Our favorite attitude should be gratitude.
— Zig Zigler
A writer writes. A writer writes for reasons. One reason is to be read. And so it is with me. That is one reason among several.
Readers read. Readers read for reasons. When it comes to leisure time reading, usually it’s because they believe, or at least harbor the hope, the writer has something useful or interesting to say. And so I hope it is between us, dear readers.
Thank you for reading my on-line musings this year. Whether you are a new follower or a seasoned one, whether you read them all immediately – or just occasionally when you get around to it – please know that I cherish your attention, and our on-line acquaintanceship.
I know you are all as varied as the thoughts that course through my moody, reflective and inquisitive brain.
You should know that I do have at least something of a filter; not all these thoughts make their way to words and full sentences, and, eventually, even on to the website.
But you should also know that I do not filter you all; I don’t screen or block who can read material. I don’t filter or edit comments (much); and e-mail comments are kept confidential.
It’s nigh impossible to tell how widely an essay, or post, will be read for many months. Thus, for this review I’ll go back and include the last few months of 2016.
I published seven essays that were biographical in nature, including my very favorite, Young Kate Shelley (the girl with two first names), which was completed with substantial editing help from my wife and my good friend Marcy. Kate Shelley ended up the #3 most popular for the year.
The surprising #1 most popular was another biographical sketch, Maximum Factor.  Sandwiched between these two, coming in at a surprisingly strong #2, was one of my autobiographically wistful pieces, Happy Anniversary, Baby.
Two guest essays made solid showings. One, posted very recently, was a lovely short essay, The Man on the Corner, written by my mom, back in 2004. It is running strong and may make it to near the top of the “hit list” if, and when, I do this essay again a year hence. The other, a brilliant piece by my good friend Ken Hutchison, is called Remembering Lisa – a deeply heartfelt tribute to a co-worker of ours at Ball Aerospace, which came in at #5.
A considerable number – an embarrassing fifteen! – ended up being at least somewhat autobiographical. These ranged from travelogues, to pet peeves, to random musings, to reflections, to confessions. Thanks for putting up with all of that. Although all of them were therapeutic and cathartic to some extent, I feel best about a very short, very recent piece, called Letting Go.
I’m grateful for the time you spent reading. Even if it was just once. Thanks for commenting, even if it was just once. Thanks for the emails. Thanks for the suggested edits, for calling out errors, and opportunities missed to explore topics more interestingly.
Interacting with you all – even if it is mostly one way – is somehow fulfilling for me. It scratches an itch. It is part of who I am.
Writers write to be read. For what it’s worth (probably not much to you) I also write with the fervent hope to be read by generations yet to come, so they will know something about crazy ol’ Joe.
Insofar as writers write to be read, I will share a prayer my mother kept over the desk in her writing studio.
The Writer’s Prayer
I ask for an insight and sensitivity to people and events around me that I might always have an abundance of stories to write.
I ask for the ability to write wisely and well, to write in a way that will enrich and enlighten the hearts and minds of others.
Help me to make people laugh when they want to cry in self-despair;
and to make them cry when they are insensitive to the pain of others.
Help me to remember always that words have the power to destroy – or build;
the power to spread ignorance – or dispense knowledge;
the power to darken the world with hate – or light it with love.
Help me to continue writing through those black moments of discouragement,
especially when I feel that nothing I write is good or worthwhile or will ever be read by anyone.
And daily help me to have faith in my writing and in myself, even though no one else may have faith in either.
Looking forward to communicating with all you in the year(s) ahead.
Wishing you all a blessed and peaceful 2018.
Joe Girard © 2017
In case you missed them: Top 11 essays by popularity, normalized
100: Maximum Factor 
97.9: Happy Anniversary, Baby
92.4: Young Kate Shelley
88.5: Long View – 2016
86.4: Remembering Lisa
82.1: Election 2016
80.7: P is for Privilege
77.2: Modest Proposals for American Football & Elections
74.5: Hope for Ferguson
68.8: Can’t Touch This
 — Once in a while there are Russian and Ukrainian IP addresses that “fall in love” with hitting a particular page. That may be the case with Maximum Factor. That’s partly why I listed a top 11.