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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

‘Screencap Madness’: an explanation; plus "Thanks!" to commenters….

Posted on 2007.05.01 at 18:22
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It may appear that I have been locked in a basement and forced to make screencaps lest my family be drawn and quartered before my eyes, but it is not so. Except for a few sets done as last-minute whims (like the Oliphaunts in Ithilien set which will come next), all of my screencaps were made and polished a month ago. I was just dawdling writing the posts to present them. Writing, assembling, and hand-formatting posts is time-consuming. And I can’t be sleepy or muddle-headed, I have to be alert.

Making screencaps themselves is a sort of zen activity; I can make them when I’m too tired or keyed up to do anything else. Looking at scenes frame by frame is engrossing, and a pleasure to the eye. Tweaking and honing them is a salve to the mind when it’s overloaded and not able to think clearly.

How did I end up making these things? A couple of years ago I learned to make screencaps because I wanted images for my manips, the Frodo Art Travesties. There just weren’t enough suitable faces in the existing online archives. So I began to screencap, browsing film scenes for images of Frodo that would work for the art work on the table. But this meant really looking through scenes.

I ended up making reams of caps, images of Frodo I so loved I wanted to share them with others. So I began to post them in LJ entries, starting with “the Money Shot” from the opening of FotR—just for the sake of gazing at the beauty of film-Frodo. Over time, though, the cap entries became portals into the film scenes—and the book scenes they were drawn from—new mediums for thinking about and appreciating the film and book. And that’s how I ended up doing this project.

At this point, there are six more posts planned for TTT (the Oliphaunts, and a multi-installment series for Henneth Annun), and over two dozen posts to present the parts of RotK I haven’t already covered but want to present: caps from the Crossroads, and night in Ithilien, the Stairs, the Pass of Cirith Ungol, Shelob’s Lair, the Tower, a bit more of Gorgoroth and the slopes of Mt. Doom, and the Sammath Naur scene.

But as I said, this all takes time. And soon time is what I won’t have. That’s why I’m been churning out these entries as though my life depended on it. In a few weeks I will lose a great deal of my free time, the time I have been accustomed to spending creating LJ posts.

1. Why there will be less time (personal stuff that can be skipped).

As some of you know from answers to comments, I am going to be starting a six-month provisional assignment where I work. It will be full-time, rather than the very meagre part-time work I do now. Whether it becomes a permanent job remains to be seen. It pays well for this city, more than two and a half times the minimum wage rate I get paid now. The permanent job comes with benefits, a huge luxury in the United States nowadays. That is to say: this is a great opportunity for someone like me, who has a lot of education but few marketable skills.

We have always got by financially without my contributing much monetarily, but now our daughter has started college. The loan payments are already coming due (in the old days payments were deferred until after graduation). Since our child is not specially gifted in sports or the arts, and is only above average academically, she is not eligible for merit-based scholarships. And since we do get by financially, she doesn’t qualify for scholarships based on need.

Therefore we are borrowing the money, all of it, to send her to school. And it isn’t cheap! At the end of her four years we will have borrowed enough to buy a house. Not ours, unfortunately, for which we have only begun to pay the principle. This job is my chance to “show my quality”—to show that I can make a decent contribution to our family finances.

I haven’t worked full-time since our daughter was very little, when I was in graduate school. When she started kindergarten, I went back to work part-time as a teacher’s aide. When we moved here to Minnesota, I didn’t work outside the house at all for four years. It was heavenly. I made such lovely gardens! I walked a lot! And….I found and became immersed in LotR film-driven online fandom. I started at Tolkien messageboards. I began to write again—first posts, using the arguing skills I'd developed in academia—then fic. Creative writing was something I hadn’t done in ages. At the same time I was learning how to make and display images to post online. I don’t think I could have done any of this if I hadn’t had plenty of time to do it. I knew nothing about the internet, not having needed it to write academic papers, and not having a job that had internet access.

For the last three years I’ve begun working part-time again at the library, but not enough to stop me posting and writing and making images. But now, going to a full-time position, I’ll be losing 30 hours of free time a week. That’s a huge chunk for me.

I know that a lot of you work full time, and have worked full time all your lives. Some of you have done this while raising children, some while raising children alone. How I admire you! My lone experience working full-time as a single parent was when my husband was assigned overseas for 15 months. Our daughter was a toddler and I was finishing graduate school on a teaching fellowship. I thought it was simply awful and bore it with little grace, on the inside, resenting the time and energy taken away from my academic work. I can be a trouper in some ways, but I am very jealous of my time. I married late and enjoyed living on my own, which probably didn’t help. I didn’t realise how much I valued my time until I didn’t have it anymore.

Those of you reading who have managed to “do it all” (working, creating, keeping up strong relationships with friends and/or family), my hat goes off to you. I guess I don’t expect sympathy about my upcoming loss of personal time. I suppose I am asking for understanding. That is, if I don’t keep up with things, if I no longer produce work the way I did, know that it’s not from lack of interest.

For myself, I worry that this creative engine that’s been propelling me, internally, ever since I became involved in online fandom is going to sputter and die. There are all these screencaps I want to present (several featuring poems by jan-u-wine)! And a post on Brian Sibley's book on Peter Jackson—and a few more manips—not to mention my Frodo saga languishing unfinished since last summer. Also some non-LotR-related stuff (not much, I'll admit). I know, I should look at it as an opportunity to find more pleasure in daily life. And it is a pleasure. But it’s not the same pleasure. To no longer have the time and energy to write, to create, would be “like falling asleep again.” Hopefully it won’t come to that.

2. Some Thank-you’s.

As I’ve been charging ahead writing entries, thinking all the while about what an immense amount of passion and thinking and pleasure I’ve had writing these posts, I’ve been scrolling over past entries. Doing so, I see how much of the pleasure has come from the input of commenters. It’s always nice to get comments, as you who write posts know, even if they are only remarks like, “Nice!” or “Thanks!” These are better than “That sucks!”

Some of you don’t have time to comment in people’s LJ’s the way you’d like, others are shy of saying things publicly. But browsing my old entries, I have to say that many of you do comment, generously and substantively. It is you who make this LJ lively and interesting and varied. When I was fretting over how I didn’t have enough time to jan-u-wine, I said maybe I should just disable the comments feature on my entries. That way I could still post—whether caps or manips or humour or essays—but not feel compelled to answer comments. No, she said, don’t do that. Some of the best things that appeared in a post were said in the comments, whether by me or the commenters. Looking back, I could see that it was so.

So I want to thank all of you who comment. You give of yourselves, sharing your perceptions, your appreciation for Frodo, LotR, Tolkien, or whatever is the topic at hand, your good will, and your sense of humour. You have significantly helped make this LJ what it’s been.

Last year I was worried when I hadn’t heard from some old friends from my messageboard days on LJ for a while. Why weren’t they commenting, I wondered? Or maybe they were, but I hadn't noticed. So I downloaded a statistical tool I saw on someone else’s journal for a reality check. 283 posts! I hadn't realised! 115 of them are screencap presentations. I rarely write spam entries, announcements, or birthday greetings; I tend only to write full-blown posts, as if my LJ were my own illustrated Frodo magazine. So there’s usually something to speak to—if you’re a fan of Frodo, of course. Maybe I was whingeing for nothing, or maybe they really had drifted away.

The tool displayed which posters had commented in the LJ, in a “Top 100” format. Using it showed me a number of things. First, it showed me a lot of people had written a lot of comments. I thank you all, for I know that many of you are far more pressed in real life than I, yet you still read and comment.

As for the reason I used the tool in the first place, it showed me that people I thought weren’t posting actually had posted quite a lot, but in the past. This helped me be more gracious about letting them go, accepting that they had moved on to other interests. If you are one of these people, and happen to be browsing, I thank you now very sincerely. Your enthusiasm and support helped jump-start this LJ.

The tool also showed me that some people posted a lot, but only on particular subjects. Some of the most interesting discussions I had here were written to Brokeback Mountain posts. There were only eighteen BBM posts. Yet several posters commented regularly, with perception and passion, but only about BBM. When the topic was finished they did not return, but they provided exciting conversation while they were there. Although you won’t now see it, BBM posters, I say, thank you!!! You were great.

This “Top 100” tool also showed me there were people who really did comment above and beyond the call of duty. These are fandom friends, old or new, who seem to be especially faithful to Frodo, this LJ project, or both. Some don’t comment on every single post, but when they do, they are so enthusiastic they end up making multiple replies to the same discussion. Either way, it was easy for me to see that you contribute tremendously to the liveliness, thoughtfulness, and warmth of this LJ. So, “Top Commenters”, I want to offer a special thank you for doing so much to keep the Frodo-love alive.


For you who are interested, below is a copy of what the tool makes. The report shows comments for posts from the beginning of the journal (July 2005) up till the end of April. It’s got pretty colours, too.

Just to note, "Anonymous" includes the posts of people who either forget to log in, or are not registered LJ users, like Blossom, Mary or jan-u-wine.

Report of LJ replies, as of April 29, 2007:

Top Commenters on mechtild's LiveJournal
(Self comments excluded from rankings)
1pearlette303 303
2este_tangletoes302 302
3mariole236 236
4mews1945218 218
5taerie192 192
6Anonymous156 156
7shirebound147 147
8julchen11144 144
9maewyn_2141 141
10frodosweetstuff138 138
11whiteling109 109
12maeglian105 105
13just_ann_now88 88
14starlit_woods70 70
15lame_pegasus69 69
16white__gull63 63
17ms_banazira57 57
18ellinestel56 56
19aquila021256 56
20elasg55 55
21bagma53 53
22stillscarlet53 53
23lembas_junkie53 53
24bagendbabe51 51
25wendylady149 49
26estelanui48 48
27melyanna_6543 43
28not_alone43 43
29aredhelebenesse41 41
30aussiepeach38 38
31golden_berry30 30
32sayhello27 27
33notabluemaia26 26
34frodoholic26 26
35periantari25 25
36shelbyshire23 23
37casey2823 23
38lily_the_hobbit22 22
39claudia60321 21
40alyrthia21 21
41illyria_novia21 21
42hobbitlove8320 20
43bandwench19 19
44breelee1019 19
45abby_normal19 19
46chickenlegs_1118 18
47frolijah_fan_5418 18
48random_fandom17 17
49igraine141917 17
50primula_baggins16 16
51eandme16 16
52hadara15 15
53yeuxdebleu15 15
54iorhael9415 15
55frodos_smile14 14
56frodos_mum14 14
57alchemilla14 14
58theartoffic14 14
59verangel13 13
60belleferret13 13
61ylla99913 13
62earths_daughter12 12
63silvermoonlady12 12
64gentlehobbit11 11
65sams_star11 11
66i_o_r_h_a_e_l11 11
67bellewood10 10
68goldberry_b10 10
69eyborg10 10
70elgato_gamgins9 9
71frazzylou9 9
72lindenella9 9
73mechtilds_fic8 8
74duchess_of_dill8 8
75karin_woywod7 7
76janira117 7
77summershobbit7 7
78marigold67 7
79majblomma20007 7
80whitenights7 7
81rodia6 6
82lbilover6 6
83katakanadian6 6
84mechling5 5
85bunniewabbit5 5
86magpie_25 5
87anwise_gamgee5 5
88lovethosehobbit5 5
89trianne5 5
90annwyn555 5
91wispy_lass4 4
92wendylady24 4
93aprilkat4 4
94janejanejane4 4
95lindelea14 4
96plaidpjs3 3
97honeyandvinegar3 3
98iolanthe_chubb3 3
99grapeofdeath3 3
100ink_gypsy3 3

Total Commenters: 146 (46 not shown)
Total Comments: 7927

Report generated 4/29/2007 5:06:10 PM by scrapdog's LJ Comment Stats Wizard 1.7

~ Mechtild



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shirebound at 2007-05-01 23:33 (UTC) (Link)
Dear one, your devotion to sharing marvelous screen caps, essays, quotes, perceptions, discussions, and Jan-U-Wine's poetry has been appreciated greatly. I wish you every success in the work-a-day world, and hope you can find time to spend on your fandom pursuits, even if it's not the same amount of time you've had up to now. We all find our lives adjusting, now and then, to changing circumstances, and sometimes it's difficult at first. You're such a gift to your family, and to us... and I hope the coming months bring you great joy and fulfillment.
mechtild at 2007-05-02 02:05 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Shirebound. You are a "regular", obviously, and I very much appreciate it. I am hoping that my own compulsiveness will keep me going. Before I had a part-time job, I wondered if I'd have time to keep posting. Obviously I did: I made time. I am hoping that will happen again.
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2007-05-02 02:08 (UTC) (Link)
Well, Mews, O champion of the posters I only met on LJ, I thank you. Like I said to Shirebound, I'm hoping I will simply learn to *make* time for my writing and LJ posts, simply out of the need to do it.
Claudia's Cove
claudia603 at 2007-05-02 01:17 (UTC) (Link)
I'm honord to be on your commenting list, even though I am a relative newcomer to your journal (mostly because nobody had introduced me to you and also because I had dial-up which just made it frustrating when I saw the potential for beautiful Frodo pics that I could not access! :-)) Anyway, I want to let you know what an absolute pleasure it is to come to see those beautiful pictures and thoughtful essays and snippets from movie and book. Your posts are a treasure. I undersatnd completely about not having as much time. We will all feel blessed when you do have the time to check in, but otherwise do your best to take care of yourself! It's always an adjustment to up your work schedule!! ♥
mechtild at 2007-05-02 02:16 (UTC) (Link)
[Whoops - left out a crucial word or two and have re-posted.]

Why, thank you, Claudia! Don't think your posts have gone unnoticed. You seem to know the book and film, are deeply appreciative of both, and still are able to tell the difference. I appreciate that.
just_ann_now at 2007-05-02 02:02 (UTC) (Link)
I felt exactly as you do when I started full-time work: that my LJ life was about to be over, that I would never have time to write or comment again, that after a short time no-one would remember or talk to me ever again. None of those things happened, of course; nor will they happen to you. I continue to find my journal a wonderful respite, a place to relax and decompress (and occasionally whine), a continual source of joy and comfort and laughter. And so, I'm certain, will you.

We don't just love you for your screencaps, or your TREMENDOUSLY educational research projects, but for yourself, and the gifts of warmth and hospitality you bring by your very nature. I'll look forward to your (rare) opportunities to read and comment, and find your words even more to be treasured. Good luck in your future endeavours! And remember, college tuition payments don't last forever (says the woman who finally wrote that last check - hooray!)
mechtild at 2007-05-02 02:25 (UTC) (Link)
Ann, you are so nice! I am very much hoping you are right about writing. I have never excelled at being brief. Heck, even when I write a paragraph I can spend an hour on it. But I am hoping zeal to get it out will give me extra energy to stay up when I normally would go to bed, or get to work and not fiddle around making tea and snacks or wandering around the house trying to remember what it was I forgot. That would give me a lot of extra time right there!

You wrote your last tuition payment check? WOW! I think the bank is going to be giving us ten years to pay them back, but that's just for this year's loan. Hopefully, they won't end up fourpling our current monthly payments by 2010! That really will be horrendous. I'll have to get a second job on top of the full-time job! No, what would happen is we'd have to pull her out of her out-of-state school and make her go to school in-state. That would cut the loans in half. But she is soooooo loving Hawaii. Surprisingly, not all the students do. Many of the "mainlanders" are leaving, transferring back to schools in the continental U.S. Our daughter has no intention of leaving, however, unless she has to.
(Anonymous) at 2007-05-02 02:43 (UTC) (Link)

there are no Rings in the Midwest.....

so, rumours of your disappearance from Linda's Capping Emporium are wildly exaggerated....

in all seriousness, dear Linda, it is the people *met* here who are indebted to *you*. I think that Ann speaks for all of us when she says that we not only love you for the work that you have presented, but for the person we *see* behind the scenes of that work: the loving, warm, funny and passionate Ms. Mechtild. Believe *us*, this ain't "Namarie". It is simply "mom's going to the store now, and I'll have lots of nice pressies for you when I come back."

Like a true Fellowship, we thank you for your past gifts, are proud and sure of your success in your present endeavor, and look forward to your "returning feet, and (your) voice at the door". (oh, and the pressies, of course! Don't forget those!)

(Anonymous) at 2007-05-02 03:08 (UTC) (Link)

but there are plenty of "Dings" in my head.....

I'd be terribly remiss if I also did not thank you, specifically, dear Linda, for hosting my poems here. And I am so very grateful for those who have read and enjoyed them, as well. Like Linda, real life conspires to pull me away from the paths that my heart knows and yearns for. But that *does* make every moment when I can walk those roads all the more meaningful and beautiful to me. Thank you all again for sharing in the wonder.

primula_baggins at 2007-05-02 03:33 (UTC) (Link)
OMG, seeing your "screencap" at the top of this post gave me my first laugh of the day, so thanks so much for that! :D

I love all these entries. So much time and love has gone into them. I work full time and have for "forever", it seems. I'm very grateful to those of you who don't because you give the rest of us some wonderful contributions. I hope the new work goes well for you.

mechtild at 2007-05-02 13:32 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for commenting on the little cartoon, Primula. I thought it was funny, too. His face just *begged* for a caption. And thank you for your support, Prim. I appreciate it.
wendylady1 at 2007-05-02 05:35 (UTC) (Link)
Your screencap posts are always a wonderful read, and although I don't always have the time to comment as much as I would like to, rest assured that they always do get read by me !!
I will certainly miss you when you don't have as much time to indulge in this, and I will also miss your dedicated research into the various subjects that have inspired you to further thorough investigation !!

When you start your full-time work, you'll have to work out a particular amount of regular time every week that you can dedicate to online stuff...that is the only way you will be able to carry on with your LJ, at all, never mind the intensive screencap stuff...
I try and make sure that I get to post on two journals around once a week, with a good lengthy post, with plenty of pics...which generates enough comments to keep me occupied for the rest of the week...but it does require a strict use of time-management !!

Good luck with your new job !!
mechtild at 2007-05-02 13:51 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Wendy! I love research, it's true, even if it's about men's underwear and the bulges in them. Or should I say, *especially* when it's on such topics.

I try and make sure that I get to post on two journals around once a week, with a good lengthy post, with plenty of pics...which generates enough comments to keep me occupied for the rest of the week...but it does require a strict use of time-management !!

This is actually about what I was doing in March, having simply slowed down on energy and thinking one post a week was plenty. But when I got the offer of the new position and realised what it would mean to my time, I began to plow into all those caps I'd stockpiled and bits of text and screenplay I'd been preparing, and getting down to business. I would love to have the screencap series finished by May 14, but I know I'll never make it.

stillscarlet at 2007-05-02 06:47 (UTC) (Link)
Goodness gracious me! I am surprised to see myself at No. 22 on your list. I wouldn't have thought I had commented even that much - but I'm glad I did! :) I read all your fascinating journal entries, dear Mechtild, though I seldom get my head together sufficiently to write anything in reply.

Good luck with your new job. *hugs*
mechtild at 2007-05-02 13:55 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, #22! But you were great at the opening of the LJ, Scarlet. It's just been such a while you don't remember. You were one of my first subscribers and did a lot to cheer the new venture on. But I knew you were really invested in Bono and U-2 by then, and had never been a heavy poster in any event, not even at TORc, so I hadn't expected you to comment much. But you did! -- and I thank you for it.
lame_pegasus at 2007-05-02 08:26 (UTC) (Link)
I married late and enjoyed living on my own, which probably didn’t help. I didn’t realise how much I valued my time until I didn’t have it anymore.

I'm so very much with you there. And the originial writing I've done recently (and am still doing) is my attempt to contribute financially, for my hubby keeps tearing himself apart while I enjoy what you enjoyed when you were at home for four years.

And even if your time will be limited from now on, I will follow whatever you might have the chance to post, and still enjoy your stories and the marvelous screencaps I found so inspiring since I've got to know you... plus your unerring support and enthusiasm towards my writing, which I appreciate and cherish more than I can say. You are precious to me, and I have enjoyed all the posts I had the chance to read lately (even though I could not always write a comment).

*hugs you*
mechtild at 2007-05-02 14:01 (UTC) (Link)
Why, thank you, Mona. You are extremely encouraging. I've noticed that about you--your conscious effort to be encouraging. When I am browsing your LJ or the LJ's of writers you know, you are always very supportive. I am sure I am not the only one who appreciates it. And good luck on your writing for actual money! That's exciting. I'm hoping Mariole's novel is picked up, that'll make two of you that I know.

lily_the_hobbit at 2007-05-02 09:37 (UTC) (Link)
I worry that this creative engine that’s been propelling me, internally, ever since I became involved in online fandom is going to sputter and die.

I think you needn't worry too much about this. I have the same fear every time the semester, or a new full-time-holiday-job begins. Yet, after a few weeks where I feel muse and creativity have entirely abandoned me, it returns. Time might be precious, but I'm sure you will get used to it and not entirely lose time for the fandom.

Good luck!
mechtild at 2007-05-02 14:08 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Lily. I need to hear this. I am sure I will adjust. I adjusted to being a wife and mother, and that was quite an adjustment! In a way it's sort of played out by the characters in LotR and other stories (the hobbit characters): we say yes to things that we don't realise will have the effect they will have--that had we known, we might have declined. But since we said yes we carry on, learn to live in a new way, meeting new challenges, and we are the better for it. I am hoping it will be this way in the new job. Maybe it will be the stick I need to beat me into not wasting time in other ways (for I certainly do!), and cultivating better health habits so that I have more reserves. Heck, it always boggles my mind when I think of JRRT being a pretty good husband and father for his era (working dad with long hours out of the house, wife at home holding the fort), carrying a full professorial workload, maintaining his personal and literary friendships to an active degree, grading exams for extra money, but still with enough passion and energy left to work on his secondary world at night, after the family was in bed. I know, he didn't have to shop, cook, clean or garden, but it's still a very heavy workload for someone who eventually created such a massive body of work.
Starlit Woods
starlit_woods at 2007-05-02 09:49 (UTC) (Link)
I think it's nice that you're supporting and helping your daughter so much. I hope though that you do find time to come back and post, LJ wouldn't be the same without you. As others have mentioned you do bring joy with your thoughtful analysis of the books and films and with your screencaps, but it's your kind, lovely personality that we like them most. *hugs*
mechtild at 2007-05-02 14:12 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Starlit, and thanks specifically for having contributed a lot of warmth to this LJ.

As for our daughter, *we* hope she realises how nice it is, too. She knows that if we can't keep up the loan payments she'll have to come back and go to a cheaper, local instititution, which she moans loudly at the prospect of, but I think at the same time she is grateful to be able to have her years in the place of her dreams for however long she can have them. She's a good kid.
verangel at 2007-05-02 10:35 (UTC) (Link)
I usually always scan and look at the pics..I love this. You give great insight and analysis. Keep it coming. v
mechtild at 2007-05-02 14:13 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Verangel. I love doing it, and it pleases me that it pleases others, too.
whiteling at 2007-05-02 11:20 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, Mechtild. You (and Este) were the reason why I went on LJ at all. And I couldn't be more grateful for this! Visiting your LJ is always like picking up a highly interesting art book, or a lively magazine, or a huge illuminated folio... it always is such a pleasure. I've learned a lot and was (and am) inspired by your posts and your person.
Of course, your full-time job will be quite an adjustment, but over time I hope your enthusiasm and your inner fire will show again and that you'll find the time you need for pondering, writing and posting. All my best wishes to you!
mechtild at 2007-05-02 14:51 (UTC) (Link)
Whiteling, lamby-pie. What a lovely thing to say about the LJ. The way you described it is just how I would like it to be. *smooch*

I thank you for the assurances, too, about finding time in spite of the cut in time. I am sure you are right. I just feel a little panic-stricken, but I am inclined to think things will be more difficult to deal with than they turn out to be.
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2007-05-02 15:16 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, White Gull. I won't disappear. As for using that tool, you may find it more encouraging than discouraging. I did. I thought it would confirm that the people I had been missing really had barely posted. I was shocked to see how wrong I was, finding that they had posted quite a lot. It just hadn't been recent.

Conversely I was surprised to see how few times other individuals had posted, yet their comments had made a big impression on me. Some people just write one-worders, but even they are nice to have, since they show some degree of interest in the subject or they wouldn't have posted at all.

Anyway, the point of the tool is to show you who actually posts in your LJ, not how many. If you look around LJ you will see there are people who post often and are so well-liked they can post two sentences about their latest cold or the TV show they plan to watch that night and 40 people will respond. Multiply that by 365 and you'll see a massive number of replies on one of these statistical generators. If you have not drawn around you a wide circle of e-friends and depend on your subject matter to call forth comments, then again you have chosen the more difficult road. Posts with images, in my opinion, unless the subject matter is particularly controversial, always elicit more comments than posts that consist solely of text. People in a hurry or pressed for time, looking for solace or amusement, are far more likely to look at pictures than read text. I do it, why not others? Therefore, I am aware that I get the comments I get primarily because the image content is very good. If you looked at the comment report for my fic LJ, you'd see there are very few comments, even when people actually liked the chapter. There simply are far fewer people who want to read a chapter of fic than look at a page of gorgeous pictures of Frodo. On my f-list, there are some people who generate a lot of comments every time they post a drabble or ficlet, but I think it's because they are already well-known and liked by a lot of people, and because the pieces are very short. Again, people only have so much time they are willing to spend on any one post unless they are already committed to reading a longer piece (usually because of the established reputation of the writer). Thousands of people have ploughed through the thousand pages of Willow-wode's multi-volume fic, including me. But I was already hooked years ago and would never stop reading something in which I had already invested so much time.

So if you should look over the comments in your LJ, think what your exposure is (how many people actually see your LJ notices, that is), and consider how high the rate of comments is based on that. Also consider how *faithfully* various ones of your readers comment, and how much the act is reciprocated.

Shirebound posted a tiny bit of text from one of JRRT's Letters the other day, in which he talked about how he and C.S. Lewis essentially started writing their stories because they couldn't find fic that was the sort that satisfied them, so they decided to write their own. It was written only for each other, eventually read in Inkling meetins. C. S. Lewis' stuff went on to be published and widely-read, making him famous as a writer of fantasy fiction. But Tolkien's fiction work, other than "The Hobbit" would never have been read outside that little group, or to Lewis only (since Tolkien stopped reading it to the Inklings after one of the members bad-mouthed his secondary world one too many times), if C. S. Lewis hadn't kept after him over the years, never letting up until he had finished it and brought it to a publisher.

Shirebound's post reminded me why I'm doing this and the reason I get pleasure out of it. The desire for readership is like the Ring. Its pull is strong and real, but it is not the real thing that makes us happy as creators. It is a false idol. Don't let a lack of long pages of comments keep you from writing and writing with pleasure. I say this to me as much as to you, White Gull.
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maewyn_2 at 2007-05-02 13:34 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for writing such interesting posts! And thank you for being a truly caring and thoughtful person, who inspires people to think.

Heavens! I'm 9th on your list! Would you believe, we've known each other for about three years now? Frodo Swoon Thread, anyone? :) Where has the time gone? You were my very first "virtual" friend.

I'm sorry I haven't responded to your last lot of caps. You've been very prolific - and I've been a bit distracted.

Congratulations on your new job! I'm so glad that you've received this opportunity to exercise your skills, and will get paid appropriately for it! I'm so happy for you.

I've always worked full time, and after dinner is when I usually settle down to the computer. You will get used to your limited time, eventually. I don't expect that you will lose your enthusiasm. I don't think it's in you!
mechtild at 2007-05-02 15:39 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, three years, Number 9 (why do I hear the Beatles saying that?)! I came to the TORc Frodo swoon thread the winter RotK came out. And you were one of my first and most faithful Threshold readers, Maewyn. I always apprecitated that deeply, so sensitive am I about my little unfinished child.

Congratulations on your new job! I'm so glad that you've received this opportunity to exercise your skills, and will get paid appropriately for it! I'm so happy for you.

Actually, I know how to do this job, once I get a refresher. The job I'll be doing full time is what I did part time for a year until monies were cut last fall and I had to go back to shelving. BUT, because the new post is to be paid and structured like that a "real" worker doing that job, it is full time. The part-timer library workers by rule can only work 13 hours a week. Real workers have 40-hour weeks (37.5 paid). So the increase in earnings just by having 3 times as many hours is a real advance financially. Part-time workers only get minimum wage ($6.15 an hour). Now, doing the same job I did last year as a part-timer, but filling in for a "real" position, I will get what a permanent person would get, which is 15.48 an hour. You can see what a huge thing this is for us financially. But the job is only for a period up to six months, until the real new people are hired. I will apply for that, of course, but there's no guarrantee at all I'd get it.

Last year one job like this opened up and over 200 people took the test for it. I did not get a high enough grade on the test to make it to the interviews! And the job only requires a high school education. All the competing people had college educations or were in college, though. Some like me had graduate degrees. But that's our town. If you are not in education, medicine or law and government, there's really not much of anything to do that pays more than minimum. I think the mean hourly wage in Duluth is about 8 or 9 dollars an hour. Pretty pathetic.

This year there are going to be a few openings, not just one, and they have redesigned the test to better reflect what circulation desk people actually do. So maybe I have a chance. What a boon it would be to us, keeping us from being totally buried in debt.
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